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MRCOG Part 3 basics.  


List of contents.

  1. Introduction

  2. How to prepare

  3. Basics about the stations

    1. What are your tasks?

    2. Headlines: outline a plan

    3. Remember the domains

    4. Communication skills

    5. New stations you have not practised

    6. Speak slowly and clearly

    7. Don't panic over things you have missed or mistakes you have made

    8. Blurbs

    9. Study buddy

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Have confidence in your abilities.

You have reached the Part 3 by passing the Part 2

              This means:

                             you are highly intelligent and in the top 20% of your peers who sat the Part 2,

                             you have a great theoretical knowledge of O&G,

                             you have good practical knowledge of O&G,

                             you have the ability to pass the part 3.

And remember that everyone else is in the same boat as you.



Sian Bullough scored 95% in the Part 3 in Novemver 2019 and won the gold medal.

Her preparation must have been perfect to achieve such a remarkable score.

Fortunately for us, she has provided a summary.

You can find it here.

You need to be clear about what is expected at the stations: more on this below.

You need to sort out good communication skills and get a lot of practice: more on this below.

You need to practise basic blurbs, like explaining recessive inheritance or the concept of risk: more on this below.

You need lots of practice with someone who can provide constructive criticism: more on this below.

We will deal with all of this in the tutorials, so I advise that you listen to them. Find out how here.

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Do the basics.

1. You only get marks for doing what you have been asked.

         You must read the question carefully and several times so that you know what you have to do.

         You may need to take longer than the 2 minutes that are usually advised.

2. Write 5 or 6 headlines about the key things you are going to do.

          In the stress of the exam it is easy to forget things and miss easy marks.

          You have a notepad to take round the stations; use it.

          If you get 2 marks for each headline, you are almost sure to pass.

3. Remember the domains described by the exam committee.

          How many apply to this station?

          The domains are:

              a. Patient safety

                             this is likely to feature in almost every station

                                           start at the top:

                                                          WHO, Centres for Disease Control,

                                                          NICE, RCOG, National Patient Safety Agency,

                                           then local:

                                                          Trust Safety Committee

                                                          Departmental risk management arrangements

                                                                         including adverse incident reporting.

              b. Communicating with patients and families

                             there is advice on the website: http://www.drcog-mrcog.info/communication.htm.

                             communication skills need thought and practice.

              c. Communicating with colleagues

                             use the phone in urgent situations or when you need to discuss something,

                             it is your responsibility to ensure that important communications get to their destination.

                             this is discussed over and over in the recent Maternal Mortality Reports.

                              Typical is the following from the 2006-8 Report:

                                 If information is required from another member of the team, it is not enough to send a routine request and hope for a reply.

                                 The recipient must respond promptly, and if not, the sender must follow it up.

                                 Teams should be reminded that the telephone is not an obsolete instrument.

              d. Information gathering

                             you need a model for taking an obstetric and a gynae history: we will discuss this in the tutorials

                             when taking a history about a treatment:

                                           what was it and did it work?

                                           were there complications?

                             when taking a history about a drug:

                                           did it work?

                                           were there side-effect?

                                           were there allergic reactions?

                             remember family history

              e. Applied clinical knowledge

                             make sure you answer all her questions

                             pros and cons of all the available options

                             what additional information does she need, e.g. for informed consent?

4. There will be new stations that you have not heard of.

           Do not panic. Everyone else is in the same situation and the pass mark is likely to be low.

           Be clear about what you have been asked to do.

           What information have you been given?

           What other information would you like to have?

           What would you do in clinic or if discussing this with a colleague?

5. If, like me, you speak with a non-English accent, speak slowly so the natives understand.

           We tend to speak more rapidly when under stress.

           In the exam this can lead us to jabber like monkeys and be incomprehensible.

6. No one gets 100%, not even the Gold Medallist.

            Forget  the things you might have said or the errors you made.

                             Many people fear they will be failed because they said something wrong

                                           This rarely happens.

                                           I was an examiner for > 20 years and never saw it happen.

                                           It would only happen because of persistent & dangerous statements.

                                           Getting a drug name or dose wrong will not count.

            Forget each station when it is over and concentrate on the one you are dealing with.

7. Basic blurbs.

              There are basic blocks of text that come up time and again:

                             how to introduce yourself,

                             how to deal with a GP referral letter,

                             how to encourage the patient to ask questions,

                             how to explain recessive inheritance etc.

              It makes sense to get as many as possible prepared and practised so that you are fluent on the day.

              You need to avoid trying to explain X-linked inheritance for the 1st. time in the exam.

                   Practise with a non-medic who can tell you when you are using medical jargon and not explaining clearly. 

             8. Get a study buddy and do lots of practice.

              It is essential to do lots of practice.

                             how to plan your answer to the station

                             what are going to be the scoring points for the station

                             and most importantly: your communication skills.

              The best things are lots of practice and constructive criticism with a study buddy.


If you can think of anything useful to add to this document, please let me know.


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