Basic Sciences make the foundation of what we do everyday. For instance, there is no fun in treating DKA with fluids/K/Insulin, if we fail to understand the different metabolic pathways.
Now lets look at what MRCEM Part A demands:
- Anatomy (Upper Limb/ Lower Limb)
- Physiology (Cardiac/ Renal/ Respiration/CNS)
- Pharmacology (Cardiac/ Renal/ Respiration/ NSAIDs/CNS/Hematology )
- Microbiology (Bacteriology/HBV/HIV/Basic Immunology)
- Pathology (General Pathology)
- Statistics/ EBM
This is how I look at it.
- USMLE Step 1 Kaplan Notes + USMLE tapes : This is outstanding stuff. Recommended for those who are "okay" with their basic sciences knowledge to start with. After watching these tapes you will have a good grasp over these subjects. The videos come to about 100 hours roughly for the above mentioned subjects. Do go through the notes provided along with these videos. USMLE Step 1 is a much much harder exam as compared to MRCEM Part A. So you have an advantage if you are using this stuff for your preparation.
- Dr. Najeeb's Videos: Dr. Najeeb is blessed. If you come from a medical college where you did not learn anything i.e if your basics suck, then pick these videos. He is a fantabulous teacher, makes things really simple and easy to understand. (You don't get any ready made notes when you subscribe for these videos). These videos go a bit slow and start about 5-6 months before if you are going to use them.
- Other basic sciences textbooks (Snells, Netters Atlas, Guyton, BNF, Robbins etc)
- Mark Harrison (Revision Notes): This text is for revision. Stay in touch with this as you are going through different subjects. Read it at least three times before the exam. One thing that I highly recommend to do is to keep adding the important points in this book as you are preparing right from the very beginning. This can become a great resource for revision during the last few days before the exam.
- OHEM: Cover to cover OHEM is not required for part A. Exam often tests on ECGs, Toxicology, Anaesthetic agents and Resuscitation.
- Statistics/ EBM: You get a couple of questions on this. These are the questions that can make a difference by pushing your score from say 66-->70%. This stuff looks hard but if you spend a day or two with statistics, its worth it. Once you get this, it is going to stay with your forever. Kaplan notes cover this under Behavioural Sciences. It should take about a day to finish this OR you can checkout Statistics by Philippa J. Easterbrook from the basic medical sciences MRCP Part 1.
Practice papers for MCEM part A
Exam is getting more and more clinical. You have an advantage if you have been exposed to an ED for at least 6 months. OHEM should cover most of this stuff. Expect questions on:
- ECGs (Arrythmias, Blocks)
- Electrolyte disturbances (HyperK, HypoNa etc)
- ABG Interpretation
Go through the curriculum once again and make sure that you have not missed out anything.
What about workshops for Part A?
It is really hard to cover the exam curriculum over a couple of days. These workshops for part A can be a good source of revision, particularly the high yield material. So if you are choosing one of them, make sure you are done with the syllabus at least once before attending.
- Focus on the High Yield Subjects (Anatomy and Physiology)
- Attempt all the questions
- Do not skip Statistics/ EBM