If you are preparing for FRCPath Microbiology

I get asked frequently what resources do we have to prepare for the examination. Here I have listed some useful information and links that you may want to explore. This list is not a complete list and there are many wonderful resources out there which can help you prepare for the examination. If you find this list useful – please leave a comment. If you know of any other resource that has helped you or you find useful please let me know.

For non-UK trainees/ International graduates (IG), my advise is that please remember this is a UK examination. Hence, you need to know what a UK trainee expected to know and what are the issues we face in the NHS. Your microbiology knowledge is adequate if you have already done post-graduation, but you need to adapt revise those issues more which are common in the UK. For example, you do not need a lot of parasitology, but need to know about infection control.

RCPath curriculum – this is a very important resource and should be your starting point. Go through the curriculum and do a gap analysis. Know what you need to revise.
Access it here.

Past papers:
RCPath does not allow storing of past papers. You can get samples papers from here. You should discuss with trainees who have appeared in the examination recently and seek their counsel.

Preparatory course:
I do not know of any course in the UK which can help you to prepare for the examination. Individual deaneries may organise a local course for their trainees. It is difficult to know if you are not in that deanery. If you are an IG search for local courses.

RCPath examination FAQ:
Please go through this page. It will answer a lot of questions that you may have.

This is a list of books I suggest but, if you have a specific book that you find useful, please read that. Part 1 examination looks for a breadth of knowledge more than depth. Part 2 is, on the other hand, expect a much more comprehensive knowledge as you are expected to have knowledge adequate to practice independently and safely in the UK.
1. Oxford Handbook of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
This is probably the most important book in my opinion.
2. Medical Microbiology: Greenwood
Medical Microbiology: Patrick Murray
I used another textbook with the Oxford handbook when I was preparing for the exam. You can use either Greenwood or Patric Murray or any other book you like.
3. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases
I used it as a reference book.
4. Clinical and Diagnostic Virology – Kudesia
Virology: Principles and Applications – Carter, Saunders
Virology: You will get a lot from Oxford handbook and Murray/Greenwood. I read Kudesia but there has not been a new publication for some time. John Carter’s book looks good to me. You will learn a lot of virology from other resources. Non-UK trainees – assuming you have already done post-grad in Microbiology you are likely to have enough knowledge. However, the Microbiology/virology in the UK is very clinical. Learn about the common virology related clinical scenarios that microbiologists/virology encounter. You may not need basic virology books after all. Read about recent hdevelopments from journals.
5. Atlas of Clinically Important Fungi
Mycology: A costly book, but useful. Maybe the department or library can help.
6. Lange flashcards
It can help you to prepare. Some people found USMLE books useful.
7. How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine
Practice writing abstract. Make a list of different statistical terms (e.g Sensitivity, specificity, NNT) and learn how to apply them.
8. Manual of Infection Prevention and Control
Communicable Disease Control and Health Protection Handbook
An infection control book is useful.

Infection control:
It is a very important topic to learn. You should google search for NHS trust infection control policy and read them. Supplement with NICE and EPIC guidelines at least.

Vaccine and Immunisation:
Greenbook MCQ

Laboratory investigation:
National SMI

Sensitivity test:
Read relevant topics from the BSAC.

read UK journals and some good EU/US journals. Here is a list, but there are many more. Go back at least 1 year from your exam day. I recently came across an app called researcher, which helps me to keep myself updated.
Journal Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
The Journal of Hospital Infection
Infection Prevention in Practice
Journal of Infection
The Lancet Infectious Diseases

Read antibiotics that are in the BNF and also new antibiotics. However, only reading the BNF is sufficient. You need to learn antibiotics in-depth.

Some useful websites:
These websites will also help you to learn important microbiology/infection related NHS issues and NHS in general. Read only what is relevant.
1. Public Health England
2. PHE A to Z
3. Health Protection Report (Subscribe)
4. Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
5. Health Technical Memoranda (HTM)
(Water, ventilation, decontamination, waste)
National Health Executive
NHS improvement
The Medic Portal
NHS England
Health Education England
The sepsis trust

It is difficult to list all the guidelines – review the various UK, EU and US guidelines.
PHE common infections
IDSA (However, the practice might be different in the UK, e.g. Teicoplanin is not available in the USA)

Also, search for NHS antibiotic guidelines or access via an app e.g Microguide.

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