This post is to give you a baseline for your preparation. I am aware that the readers might be from a various background. Some are UK infection programme trainees and some are not. A lot of the users of this website are international medical graduates (IMG).
International medical graduates
What I have learned from interacting with various trainees is that if you are an IMG, in general, you should have enough microbiology knowledge, on the assumption that you have already completed your post-graduation. I wouldn’t like to say that you do not need to prepare, but what is more important for you is to know the UK practice. This is a UK examination, so expect the questions will be based on what is relevant to the UK. For example, spending a lot of time on parasitology may not be useful. On the other hand, you need to know a lot more infection control.
For the UK trainees, my suggestion is maintaining a balance is important. I was trained in Microbiology and Virology and our part 2 included wet practical. The situation has changed since then. In the infection training programme, the focus has moved towards the clinical side at the expense of the laboratory. It is incredibly difficult to fit in clinical microbiology work, clinics, on-call, and laboratory practice. I strongly suggest that you maintain a balance. It is easy to neglect the laboratory microbiology when you are sucked into the exciting clinical work.
This is your syllabus. Spend a few days on this curriculum. Make a list of the topics. Do a ‘gap analysis’, i.e. write down against that list that what you know and what you don’t. My suggestion is using a traffic light system. Mark those topics green, if you know them well; red if you don’t know much. Amber/yellow if you know a little.
Access the curriculum here.
Here is an example of the gap analysis (only a couple of areas). Adapt it to your need.
RCPath examination FAQ
This is where you should look for answers to your questions regarding the rules and regulations.
You must read this page carefully.
Are you eligible to take the exam?
How to apply?
Where can you sit for the exam? etc.
RCPath does not allow storing of past papers. Hence, you will not find any past questions here. However, the examination is based on current UK practice and issues. You will have questions similar to what you expect in the examination.
I would suggest you join the Facebook group as well.
If you are looking for examples of past papers, you can find some of them on the RCPath website.
There is a limited number of preparatory courses available for this exam.
RCPath International Trainee Support Scheme: I have received feedback that it was useful. RCPath will assign a mentor for you to guide you.
Medical Microbiology FRCPath Part 2 Mock examination: A course in Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester.
If you are aware of any other course, please let me know.
You will find a list of books here.
There are four types of books listed.
1. Textbook: You need to read these books to get your baseline knowledge.
2. Reference book
3. Question bank
4. Others: Optional
It is important to keep yourself up to date. Go back at least 1 year from your proposed exam date and read the Journals mentioned. UK journals are important, but some reputed International journals should be read as well.
Journal Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
The Journal of Hospital Infection
Infection Prevention in Practice
Journal of Infection
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Other journals you may want to read:
Clinical Infectious Disease
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Clinical Microbiology Reviews
Read antibiotics that are in the BNF and also new antibiotics.
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
The Medic Portal
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)