Resources for FRCPath part 2 by Dr Katherine Watson, StR, Microbiology

Here are some of the resources that I used in preparation for FRCPath part 2, April 2016 Bristol. One of the most useful things to do is speak to anyone you know who has already sat the exam and ask for all their past questions and tips. 

Bacteriology – Quite time consuming, but I suggest reading all of the SMIs. I printed the flow charts from the identification section to put in my practical folder. I would suggest learning by heart the 2 SMIs under the protocol section which covers identification of ESBLs and CPEs as there were lots of questions and spotters on these topics.
Also, don’t forget to read the quality-related guidance, you can pick up useful information to include the essay question if it is anything about a laboratory service and also in my exam, one of the groups of 4 short notes were all about laboratory quality assurance.
Look out for new SMIs, for example, in the autumn 2015 exam there were questions relating to the new ectoparasite SMI. – I would suggest printing out the BSAC endocarditis guidelines for the lab folder, so if one of the cases is about endocarditis you will have the guidelines to refer to for treatment advice. – Useful picture guide to interpreting etests for bacteria.


The Green Book! 
Suggest reading this a few times, the virology paper is only an hour-long, but the questions were all very specific questions that you either knew or you didn’t, for example, we had to give dosing schedules for Hepatitis B and rabies and specific regimen for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. Thankfully, we didn’t get any questions about the new Hepatitis C drugs.…/hev-flowchart-for-laboratory-final_v11.ppt – Screening for Hepatitis E in blood products is a topical issue that we got asked about in the virology paper. – Make sure to read all the latest guidance on the PHE website about the Zika virus, this is very topical so likely to come up in the next exam. We had to write a short note on the laboratory diagnosis of Zika virus.

Mycology – A Canadian microbiologist’s blog, has some really great photos of fungi, very useful for familiarising yourself with organisms for spotters and the practical. I printed quite a few out and stuck them around the house, after seeing them every day I felt confident at quickly recognising organisms.– Website set up by the University of Adelaide, lots of useful mycology information, the mould virtual assessment section is particularly good for testing yourself.– Suggest read the EORTC/MSG definitions of invasive fungal disease. – Recent review article published in the Lancet, update on topical issues surrounding diagnosis and investigation of invasive fungal infection that can come up in many sections of the exam.$FILE/Etest%20AFST%20Reading%20Chart.pdf  – Useful pictures and guidance on how to interpret etests for fungi, useful to have in the lab folder.

Parasitology – CDC website has 18 years’ worth of monthly case study quizzes and A-Z of parasites, excellent practice for spotters, this is the resource I used for most of my parasitology revision.

Infection Control and Public Health

PHE website has some really good training slides for healthcare professionals with up-dates on specific vaccines, would definitely recommend reading since the vaccination programme seems to have changed quite a bit in recent years.

Must read documents for infection control of CPE.

If you have time before the exam I would suggest completing Dundee University’s 6-week online course on antimicrobial stewardship, which is such a topical issue that can come up in the exam. You can sign up for free:

General – Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of Southern Africa website, has a case of the month section where you can guess the diagnosis, quite a lot of rare tropical infections. – Another great website for practicing spotters, clinical cases with high-quality pictures of clinical conditions, radiology, histology and organisms then multiple choice questions on diagnosis. You have to sign up to the website, but it’s free to do so.– American Academy of Dermatology has a number of quizzes including some on infectious causes of rashes.

iTunes U – If you search microbiology or virology you can find some series of lectures from American universities, some good basic parasitology and mycology lecturers that you can listen to when walking or driving to work. -A well written article advising how to write an abstract, which is something that you always have to do for each of the critical appraisals. I suggest reading journal articles with the abstract covered and practice writing abstracts, pay careful attention to word counts, you are normally given a 250-word limit.

The Doctor’s Guide to Critical Appraisal Paperback by N. Gosall, G. Gosall – I am terrible at critical appraisal and read a lot of books to try to improve, this was the one I thought was most useful with straightforward explanations of statistical tests and study designs. Other trainees told me that the written paper is where most people fail the exam, I have to agree and would definitely recommend doing a lot of preparation for critical appraisal. I read this book and also Trisha Greenhalgh’s How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine several times.


  1. Sarah Mo

    Any information about the MTI route for non EU doctors who wish to train in the uk in order to be able to pass frcpath part 2 in medical microbiology ?

    • Sarah Mo

      Thank you very much

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