Preparing for MRCPCH Clinical

3-4 months before…

  • Relax, enjoy not having to revise for anything
  • Attend as many outpatient specialist clinics as you can
  • Continue to see patients as normal but start doing full examinations on everyone. A 15 year old will normally be the best person for you to practice your neurology exam on to start with!
  • Buy books (see our books advice page)
  • Make friends with other people doing the exam. A small group is best (3-4 people) but a larger group can be split down if needed
  • Apply for courses – remember the big ones book up quickly


2 months before the exam

  • Time to start revising
  • Get together with you revision group and write up a time table, meeting a couple of times a week initially and getting more frequent closer to the exam
  • Approach consultants and registrars to help with teaching sessions
  • Start simply, watch each other doing the examinations, comment on bits that are good and bits that are missing
    • Remember that you still have time at this point to change bad habits
  • Practice presenting after every patient, the more you do this the slicker you will sound in the exam


6 weeks before the exam

  • Start your teaching sessions with seniors
    • Ask them to pick patients with signs but not let you know the diagnosis
    • Some consultants have favourite patients who are willing to come in to be examined
  • At this point you should be reading around each patient – try and think up signs that they didn’t have which might have made the diagnosis easier or harder to come to
  • Child Development – this is the hardest station to revise for unless you have your own children or are in community while revising
    • Try and attend some community clinics
    • Get together with someone who does have a toddler and practice on them
  • Presentation Skills – continue to present every patient, you can even present those that you are seeing in clinics and  in A+E
  • Make sure you have a system for every station – every book has this and this website also has a how to for each station
  • History station – clinics are best for this
  • Communication skills – again this is practice and having a structure, read the advice on here and in the books and make sure you look at the RCPCH examples

2 weeks before the exam

  • This is your final drive before the exam
  • Try and see as many patients as possible even those with viral induced wheeze are good for practicing your technique with younger children
  • Consider a mock exam If there are enough of you and your seniors are keen to help out
  • Present, present, present! – this is the part that everyone gets most worried about and the only way to get past it is to practice! Practice in mirrors or even video/record yourself ( you don’t have to show it to anyone!)

2 days before the exam

  • If you can face it then take a day off, relax and completely switch off from the exam for 24 hours. By now you have all the knowledge and skills required to pass the exam you just need to relax and prepare yourself
  • If you haven’t already then check your route to exam – allow plenty of time to arrive

Day of the exam

  • Clothes
    • Wear something you wear to work – this way you will be most comfortable
      • This still needs to be smart but not a suit!
    • Boys – Iron your shirt!
    • Girls – tie your hair back, wear a skirt if you want to but remember you may need to be kneeling down on the floor.
  • Things to take
    • Stethoscope
    • Pen – although unlikely to need one
    • If you want to take a small toy then do but try not to have too many things hanging around your neck!
    • ID
    • Map of venue and instructions so you know where you are going

Arriving at the exam

  • You will be sat in a room waiting for the exam to start for a while, take water and try to relax away from the other candidates
  • Go to the toilet before the exam!
  • Breathe

During the exam

  • Try to clear your mind before each station
  • If something goes wrong in one station when you come out breathe, and then forget about that station (easier said than done). Don’t let one bad station ruin the whole exam!
  • Smile at the examiners
  • Talk to the parents and the patient
  • Wash your hands between each station (there will be alco-gel outside each station)

After the exam

  • There are lots of suggestions for what to do after the exam but they are all person specific, general advice is to remember that you did your best, there is nothing that worrying about the exam will help now and so its best to try and put the exam out of your head until the results come out!
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