The Format of the Part 2 FRCPath was changed in 2017. Please make sure to check the RCPath website before you start preparing for the examination.
The examination format now (from RCPath website, accessed 29/4/2019)
Exam is closed book.
2 days exam: Day 1 – paper 1 & 2, Day 2 – paper 2 & 3, but the sequence may change.
Marks of paper 1 and 2 are combined- so a small amount of compensation is possible if you get less in one paper and more in the other. Similarly paper 3 and 4 are combined. However you have to pass bother sections (1&2; 3&4) independently.
Paper 1 (2.5 hours)
One Essay (from a choice of two).
Topics for the essays typically include laboratory management issues, antimicrobial stewardship, infection prevention, or a combination of these.
Short-answer questions (SAQs).
Focused on clinical scenarios, infection prevention topics, laboratory practice, and laboratory safety. A brief vignette with an interpretation of clinical, laboratory or infection control data is a common format for SAQs
Paper 2 (2.5 hours)
Critical appraisal of a journal article (one from a choice of two).
Short-answer questions (SAQs), as described above.
Paper 3 (3 hours)
Complex clinical and laboratory scenarios in microbiology and infection prevention.
These questions cover a similar range of topics to the SAQs in Papers 1 & 2.
Their format is longer, allowing for progression within each scenario to reflect evolving information encountered in clinical practice. Clinical and laboratory data and/or images may be presented, however, there will be no practical manipulation of laboratory material.
Paper 4 (3 hours)
Objective structured pathology examination (OSPE) format.
15 stations (each of 9 minutes’ duration), with some rest stations.
The OSPE provides a flexible format that allows broad sampling of the curriculum across a diverse range of scenarios and usually includes two face-to-face stations, each with a pair of examiners.
The OSPE facilitates the assessment of the knowledge, application of knowledge, laboratory skills, and communication in scenarios encountered by microbiologists in clinical practice.