List of resources

This is a list to help you prepare for the examination, but I do not say that this is a comprehensive list. There are many other excellent resources out there to help you. Please let me know if you feel there is something which should be mentioned here.
 Many of these books are costly and you may want to check your departmental/institutional library first.
  1. Curriculum – Most important resource. Go throught the curriculum and do a gap analysis. Check what are the areas you feel you need to read more. You can develop a traffic light system to help you (green – you are confident, amber – you need to read more, red – you must read about this topic. For example ‘typing in microbiology’ How confident are you?)
  2. A standard textbook: Patrick Murray/ Greenwood.
  3. Oxford Handbook of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
  4. Microbiology & Infectious Diseases Flashcards, Third Edition (Lange Flashcards)
  5. The emphasis on clinical aspect of the infection has increased now. Hence, I believe preparing from a USMLE book (infection related questions) will be helpful. However, please be aware that this exam is for the UK, so you have to think about the UK scenario when you are preparing. (For example – the coccidioidomycosis is endemic in some parts of  the USA but not in the UK, MRSA is more prevalent in the USA,  teicoplanin is not available in the USA, Group B universal screening in pregnancy is not done in the UK etc).
  6. Critical appraisal:
    Book –How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine: Trisha Greenhalgh
    Practice writing abstract. Make a list of different statistical terms (e.g Sensitivity, specificity, NNT) and learn how to apply them.
  7. Vaccine: Greenbook
  8. Greenbook MCQ
  9. SOP: National SMI
  10. Sensitivity testing – EUCAST
  11. Mycology: Identification of Pathogenic Fungi  (- A book to help with mycology identification. If you have any other resource and comfortable with it – please use that. )
    Dividing the fungi based on clinical features might help. For example, if the sample is an ear swab – you should be able to think what are the common fungus that we can isolate from there. Make sure you are familiar with microscopy, germ tube test, API, E-test, corn meal agar. Learn different methods of identification and sensitivity. You must read about clinically relevant fungi and antifungal drugs.
  12. Virology: Read the virology from any standard textbook. I read Kudesia’s Clinical and Diagnostic Virology, but I couldn’t find any updated version after 2009. I do not recommend using a reference book like Fields Virology as a textbook (it is not time effective).
    I suggest you collect a list of common virology problems (e.g. management of rash contact in pregnancy) and prepare answers for those scenarios. Ask your virologist for help.
  13. Parasitology: Usually short answer questions, spotters etc. Please remember UK not being a tropical country we do not see a lot of parasitology. You need to balance your effort and gain here. I also found it useful to keep google image open when I read parasitology. Search the image of whatever you are reading. It will help you if you get a spotter.
  14. Cowan and Steel’s Manual for the Identification of Medical Bacteria (Reference, most likely you will get it in your laboratory)
  15. Health technical memoranda (relevant ones only – water, ventilation, decontamination)
  16. Subscribe to Public Health England (PHE) RSS feed or
    Subscribe to Health Protection report
  17. Journals – Read UK microbiology journals
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
    The Journal of Hospital Infection
    Journal of Infection
    The Lancet Infectious diseases
  18. Guideline from different UK organisations – NICE, BTS, BSAC, BASHH, BHIVA, CHIVA, HIS, BIA, SIGN, IPS,  RCOG, BOA, BSR etc.
  19. Infection control: Check NHS Trust guidelines – many of the NHS trust guidelines are available in the internet. If you are from the UK – read your trust infection control and antibiotic guideline. If you are in a DGH – find out the guidelines of a university hospital, as you may not find all the guidelines in a DGH – like transplant related guidelines.

You can also supplement your knowledge from an infection control book (some of them are very costly and old – choose a new one, if you can)
Communicable Disease Control and Health Protection Handbook (2012)

Manual of Infection Prevention and Control

Ayliffe’s Control of Healthcare-Associated Infection Fifth Edition: A Practical Handbook (2009)


Unfortunately I am not aware of any preparatory course for part 2 FRCPath Microbiology. (If you are aware of any -please let me know).

For UK trainees local hospitals might organise a mock test for you. I recommend you speak to your ES and TPD.

Past questions:

RCPath do not allow storing of the past papers, but you can look at some sample papers here.

You should speak to trainees who has recently appeared in the examination for guidance.

6 thoughts on “List of resources”

  1. Hi, I have finished my post grad in microbiology- I am an overseas trainee. Due to some circumstances I have only 2 months to prepare for FrCPath part 1- I am sitting for the exam this autumn. I need some guidance and also need to know that it’s doable. Please guide me.

    1. Dear Dr. T,
      I am targeting the FRCPath part 1 exam in Spring 2019. Can you please guide me towards any question banks/ courses to prepare for the same? Many thanks!

  2. Hi,
    It is tricky for anyone to answer this question. There are a lot of factors involved.
    1. Your knowledge: As you have already completed microbiology post-graduation, your knowledge of microbiology must be good. However, how familiar are you with UK practice?
    2. How much time would you spare for the preparation?
    3. What is your preparation style? Everyone has a different style and capability. You might be a person who is naturally good at solving part 1 type questions, or not.
    I wouldn’t be able to give you a definite answer to this question.
    It is generally considered that six months is necessary to prepare for the examination for a UK trainee. However, I guess it is difficult but not impossible, to do it in two months, provided you have all the right things in place.

  3. Thank u for replying, I have another question.
    What should be the strategy for answering the questions? I mean is there any negative marking? Should I answer only the questions I am sure of or attempt all? What is the passing bar?
    I have tried to search but unable to find answers to this.
    Please help me.

  4. Answer all questions.

    Regarding passing bar. This is what RCPath says –
    The pass mark is set by an objective procedure by an independently-chaired standard setting group where individual questions are reviewed to create a minimum standard using a modified Angoff process.

    So it is different for each exam.

    1. Dear SB,
      I really appreciate this effort on your part to start a blog for helping microbiologists/ creating a portal to remain connected. I am looking to clear the FRCPath part 1 exam in Spring 2019, can you please suggest some online resources/ study material/ books for the same?
      Thanks !

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