What factors influence the outcome of psychiatry postgraduate written exams, MRCpsych paper A and B? a qualitative analysis from trainees’ perspective in West Midlands school of psychiatry in UK

Asma Javed, Rania Alkhadragy

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

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Abstract

Aims: Analysis of the Annual Report of Examination Results published by General Medical Council (GMC, 2020) revealed that trainees of West Midlands School of Psychiatry didn't perform well in written components of MRCPsych exams and showed pass rate between 2014 and 2019 as 54.6%. Therefore, this qualitative study was conducted to assess West Midlands School of Psychiatry core psychiatry trainees’ perception of factors that influence the outcome of MRCPsych Paper A and Paper B.

Methods: Qualitative research methodology with a grounded theory approach was used to systematically analyse the data and to evolve the theory rather than appraising the existing theory. The purposive and theoretical sampling strategies were used. Study population included all core psychiatry trainees in the West Midlands School of Psychiatry in 2021 who were invited via email for a semi-structured focus group interview. The participants’ information sheet and consent forms were sent with the interview invite. A total of 38 participants contributed. The data were collected through 3 focus groups and 2 one-to-one interviews. The interviews were recorded using the recording and transcription feature of Microsoft Teams. The transcription was checked manually for accuracy. The data were collected and analysed simultaneously till the point of theoretical saturation, thereafter a thematic analysis was conducted.

Results: Themes emerged were grouped under challenges faced by the participants such as work and time pressures, financial constraints, and lack of family support. Other challenges were related to virtual learning, a mismatch between local teaching course and exam schedule and lack of contextualisation in local course content. Most of the trainees had to rely on private courses which were adding financial burden. The majority felt that social isolation due to COVID-19 had a negative impact on their well-being. Participants suggested various recommendations for their local course content and delivery.

Conclusion: The study highlighted the need for the local course content to be contextualised and tailored to the examination course. This could be achieved by including a variety of multiple-choice questions, case-based discussion, and small group teaching for the purpose of preparing and practising examination questions/scenarios. It also highlighted trainees’ need to utilise the study leave budget for private courses to ease financial burden. The International Medical Graduates (IMG) cohort identified that they need extra support and feedback about the examination preparation from the early beginning of the training to overcome differential attainment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S8
Number of pages1
JournalBJS open
Volume9
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2023

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