What I’m going to write down today might be a hard blow on some of you, but I am still daring to write on a sensitive topic in hope of a possibility that it might help some of you to find the long awaited ‘success’ in MRCOG exam. The results of MRCOG part 2 are somewhere between 30-40%. What happens to the rest of 60-70% and why do we have chronic repeaters? Is the exam really so tough or is anything not just right on your part? I would like to share with you my personal observation and assessment.
Let me start with a little background: My facebook inbox is usually full of messages from people asking for help in studying. (Of course, that’s what I am here for; to help you in preparing for MRCOG part 2).
Over a period of months and years, I observed a specific trend in those messages. Some of the messages pop in straight with a question, no clue at all what am I supposed to do with that question.
There is no introduction or greeting, often fake named accounts and I don’t even know whom am I talking to and what exactly do they want from me. Some just want a ‘reading list’. I mean they just ask me to write down a list of books to read for the exam.
Some ask me to solve the questions of their behalf and send them a ready-made answer; some expect me to provide them with an answer to each and every MCQ or an EMQ in the world. And then there are quite a few who want help for part 1 and despite of my sincere apology that I am not updated with the current trends of part 1, they would still insist on giving them reading lists and exam passing tips.
Answering to some of them is a real nerve testing process for me because of the unrealistic expectations and forceful demand to help. To me this is like treating a patient without a diagnosis. And the sad part is that they often try to make me feel bad for not being helpful, some would relate it to money and business etc. So then, there came a point when I had to deactivate my facebook account temporarily because I clearly needed a break from all that was happening.
I completely understand how frustrating it is to be stuck with an exam like MRCOG, it’s like standing in the middle of nowhere. Now, by writing all of the above I am neither complaining nor trying to prove anyone wrong. My aim is to bring a few facts to your attention. Please read through the rest of the blog paying close attention to where I’m trying to take you.
By now with experience, I know that people who ask super long winded questions with a millions of examples and reasons on why they haven’t yet passed the exam, are the least likely to take the advice I have to offer. They would instead counter with an equally long rebuttal to everything I have to say.
The reason is because what they want to hear is probably something like this:
‘The fact is that there is nothing wrong with your study pattern, I am going to give you a long list of books and material to read and you should expect a gold medal in the exam now.’
I know at this point some of you must be feeling like throwing something at me, but this blog is about ‘how to get out of failures and be successful’ and not ‘How to do everything you’ve been doing all along and magically get different results’.
See my point?
If you want a different result, it’s clear you need to change what you’ve been doing. The answers to your questions about study can’t always come from me. Oftentimes, the answer is in you. The answer is right there in the pit of your gut, waiting for you to turn down the volume of all the excuses and justifications…and just listen. Gone are the days when it was like a ‘petrol pump’ where the empty tank would be filled up. In those days, that pattern of spoon feeding used to go well with the pattern of the exams/assessments.
(MRCOG part 1 & 2 Single Best Answer) We all know MRCOG exam has been constantly changing, short essays were substituted with short answer questions, EMQs were introduced, and more recently MCQs are replaced with SBAs. You need to understand that assessments are designed to assess your level of knowledge. If the assessment style is changed then you definitely need to change the ways you acquire the knowledge in order to match the assessment style. The current pattern of exam requires a lot of hard work on your part by building your core knowledge.
How to build the core knowledge?
A very common question! Core knowledge can only be acquired by you yourself. No one else can do it for you. And the only way that I know of is a thorough self-directed study, working on your basic concepts, clarifying confusions in your head, and gradually stepping up to attain more complex knowledge. My courses are notorious to be not printable, not copy-able, I don’t provide notes, you have to do your readings and make your own notes etc. etc.
I don’t have a simple answer to ‘what to study?’ type questions because it really depends on every person’s individual starting point on this venture. In my opinion and understanding, your basic scientific knowledge lies in the core of communication, attitude and practical skills. The way you approach someone for advice tells a lot about your starting point. When I see the level of communication and the unreasonably demanding attitude of candidates in the examples mentioned above, I have huge doubts on the amount of hard work they have to do before embarking on exam preparation. And I really don’t know how to make them understand that a reading list or solved questions is a long way far from success.
I wish more people can understand that to pass this exam is YOUR journey and no one else can travel it for you. And I hope reading through this blog may help some of you to spot the real problem and get started in the right direction sooner than later.