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How to Prepare for MRCOG without going to the UK

Dr Sujoy Dasgupta, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecologist, Infertility Specialist; Bavishi Pratiksha Fertility Institute Kolkata

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) works to improve women’s health care across the world. Founded in 1929, RCOG now has over 14,000 members worldwide and works with a range of partners both in the UK and globally to improve the standard of care delivered to women, encourage the study of obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G), and advance the science and practice of O&G.

Getting a membership of RCOG is a prestigious thing and around half of RCOG members practice outside the UK, with over 6000 obstetricians and gynaecologists working in more than 100 countries including India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE among others.

Passport to the pinnacle of the profession

The MRCOG exam is internationally respected as the gold standard qualification for career progression in O&G. The Membership examination, which was first held in 1931, is intended for those who wish to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology. The exam is a three-part assessment:

  • Part 1 MRCOG is a written examination to evaluate basic and clinical sciences relevant to the subject
  • Part 2 MRCOG is a written exam that assesses the application of knowledge
  • Part 3 MRCOG is a stand-alone clinical skills exam that assesses candidates’ ability to apply core clinical skills in the context of the skills, as defined in the Part 2 MRCOG curriculum. The Part 3 MRCOG is part of the assessment and validation process for entry on to the UK Specialist Register and progress to a consultant post in O&G. UK specialty trainees must pass the Part 2 and Part 3 MRCOG before progressing from ST5 to ST6.

Membership is awarded to those who have passed all three parts of the Membership examination. Members may use the designatory letters MRCOG. This article speaks to those who are aspiring for part 2 MRCOG from outside the UK

Mission Impossible

Passing the exam is difficult (of course, that’s why you are looking for it) but NOT impossible. Remember, it’s the exam based on UK system, so you have to adapt to that system. Simply because, they have not invited you to appear in the exam, rather it’s you who want to take it. Adapting to the UK system may seem difficult, if not impossible, but just think rationally while going through the guidelines. Talking to somebody who has recently cleared the exam, or is currently in the UK, is of much help than somebody who is not. The exam system is continuously changing. Especially the current Part-3 exam is totally different from the previous Part-2 OSCE.

How to prepare

Important thing to note is that everyone is not wearing the same shoe. Somebody can prepare for the exams within three months, some may take three years. Somebody may prefer (or get the opportunity) to take time off work, or somebody may not be so lucky. However, in the long run, you have to achieve MRCOG and that’s the goal. No matter, how long you take to achieve this. Remember, most of you have the highest post-graduate medical degree in your country and are not doing badly (may be not “well-established) in your place. So, MRCOG is like putting the feather on your cap. There is nothing to lose if you try it. However, it’s worth to run after it, as it will improve your following skills (even you will see improvement, while preparing for the exam)

  • Communication with your patients- especially talking to angry, adamant and difficult patients, breaking bad news
  • Clinical knowledge- you can remain updated on your skills and patient care
  • Patient safety- needless to explain, as you know it better
  • More focused on documentation

How to plan

Just think that you want to write MRCOG after your name and give a start. There is no need for formal planning or having a banquet party to declare that “I am preparing for MRCOG”. The less number of people know about it, the better it is. As the famous saying goes ‘work hard in silence, let the success roar’.

Remember, Newton’s 1st law of motion. The most difficult part is…

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