The ‘Fellowship Examination of the Royal College of Pathologists’ (FRCPath) is a stringent set of examinations, structured into two parts, designed to test and ensure competence for want-to-be Haematology Consultants. Successful completion of the FRCPath is a requirement for obtaining the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) for Haematology.
Upon passing your FRCPath part one examinations, which requires you to complete two 3-hour long exams (one of which is essay-based, the other multiple-choice questions), you must undertake the part two examinations. FRCPath part two consists of one 3 hour and two 2 hour written exams on the haematology modules of morphology, transfusion and haemostasis/thrombosis respectively as well as an oral examination. The trio of written exams are designed to test your ability to analyse a wide variety of clinical data, from microscope slides to laboratory data and patient case-study information. Analysis of this material will also need to be integrated with your clinical and haematological knowledge within your exam answers.
It is important to keep in mind that the FRCPath Part Two examinations are extremely difficult and therefore thorough preparation will be required before you can attempt them. Passing the FRCPath will be a defining moment within your career, allowing you to make a serious career progression and become a Consultant.
Working to your own strengths to create revision content
Each student learns and revises most effectively using different ways. Using a variety of different methods and leaning most heavily on the method(s) that most engage you is very important when revising. This is especially for something as extensive and technically-heavy as the FRCPath part two examinations. It is strongly advised that you prepare by using and creating revision materials. There are a variety of different ways you can create your own revision materials depending on if you are more of a writing, listening or image/colour orientated learner.
Using online (such as Blood Academy) or offline (textbooks) resources, as well as your knowledge and experience within haematology to create notes, is a great way of starting. Just reading alone is often ineffective and rewriting materials in a way that helps you understand and concentrate on the content can be accomplished in many ways, allowing you to tailor your approach to how you prefer to learn. For example you could create small flashcards, annotated diagrams, posters, flow diagrams, scripts or your own exam-style questions. Each of these allows you to apply your own innovation, encouraging the content to stick.
Script creation is a particularly great way of revising, especially for the oral examination. If you think you’re a strong audible learner, it allows you to record yourself reading the script and listen back over it. This could be a useful exercise for more technical information that you are struggling with.
Using Online Revision Resources – Practice Questions
FRCPath practise questions are an excellent resource for ensuring you focus your knowledge to the curriculum. Essay writing is an essential skill needed to pass the FRCPath, requiring you to be able to structure and express your understandings of the questioned topic. The best way to hone this skill is by directly practising questions. While writing mock essays it is important to keep in mind you will be required to analyse all data provided to you.
Although not in of itself a part of the FRCPath part two examination, a great way of preparing for the niche aspects of the curriculum is by practising multiple choice and extended matched questions (MCQs and EMQs). These questions demand you to recall and apply your knowledge, making them a very useful revision aid.
The number of online practise questions for the FRCPath part two examinations isn’t limitless so creating your own as you revise the content and going back and answering them can be just as effective revision as undertaking the provided questions.
Using Online Revision Resources – Interactive Modules
Blood Academy has developed an extensive range of online interactive learning material. Created by haematology professionals whom themselves have obtained their CCT, the resource is built and constantly updated to provide students the most relevant, effective and curriculum-covering content. Blood Academy provides instant feedback as you make your way through its modules and practise exam questions, encouraging you to engage and improve in real-time.
For more information on the FRCPath:
Online sources of reputable Haematology content