FRCR 2B Examination
FRCR 2B Examination Advice
There is no doubt that revising for and sitting the 2B examination is an extremely stressful process and one that still feels stressful regardless of how well prepared you are! Hopefully some of the advice below will at least help you structure your revision better so that you can focus on getting on with learning radiology than feeling clueless all the way through!
Check out the RCR website for guidelines, application forms and payment early. The college is very strict on deadlines for applications to the examination and if you already are planning on sitting the exam, DO NOT delay posting your application. If you can, try to put in the application at least a month in advance, and if you don’t hear from the college after a week of posting your application, CALL/EMAIL/WRITE to them to check it has been processed! I know several candidates who assumed their application was received when it was not and ended up having to defer their exam by 6 months. Do not fail at this first hurdle!!
If you haven't already checked out the RCR guidelines/dates/exam fees for the 2Bs then click below:
You MUST book these early! This is essential especially for the most popular courses (i.e. Edinburgh & Aintree). I booked the Edinburgh 2B course (due to take place in September 2013) in November 2012; by January 2013 my friends were told the places were all fully booked and they were on a waiting list! I basically booked this 11months in advance to secure a definite place!
Most other courses however only need to be booked 3 months in advance.
Many candidates may be thinking ‘but I still have 2A modules to do.. what if I fail them and then don’t end up sitting the 2Bs when I was expecting? It will be a waste to book a course I can’t attend.’
This is a valid thought but is not necessarily the case! Although many course organisers are unhappy to give refunds for canceling a course, many are happy to defer your place to the next course sitting if needed. I know a lot of colleagues who still hadn’t passed their 2As but booked their space on the most popular 2B courses in advance having pre-warned the organisers that they would definitely do the course and not want a refund, only that the date of the course they were applying for may change. Many courses were happy with this understanding – so I suggest you check this out first before payment if you are in this position rather than missing out a space on the best courses.
There is no correlation that I can see between the number of courses candidates go on and their chance of success in the exam. However the majority of people I know booked onto 3 x FRCR2B courses on average and 2 or 3 rapid reporting courses as well. I know people who did fewer than this and passed and people who did much more than this and failed so don’t think you must do a minimum number of courses!
Do not go on the courses to try to ‘learn’ material for the 2Bs or expect them to tell you everything you need to know to pass the exams – go to the courses and treat each one as a ‘mock exam’. Although there is no strict dress code for the courses, it would be worth going to them dressed smartly just to ‘get in the mind set’ of the real exam as a ‘dress rehearsal’. Take each course seriously and reflect on what you did well and what you feel you could improve on, not just what the mock examiners tell you.
For advice on what courses are worth doing and what other trainees thought – check out our course reviews page.
REVISION TIME PERIOD
Again, this is variable depending on your experience/job intensity/ on calls/family commitments etc. On average most candidates start 3 months before the exam date. If you can start earlier then make sure you do some gentle reading rather than hitting the books hard too early on as it can be a really long slog and burn out is a massive problem!
In the last month before the examination all your knowledge should be starting to come together and you should be starting to create your ‘set pieces’ for the common plain radiographs that you will be shown. In the last week before the examination, try to relax as much as you can/ go over your lists of differentials so you know them well/ don’t stay up too late at night and don’t wear yourself out too much – you don’t want to turn up to the examination sleepy!
If you are studying in a group – just remember that different people will peak at different times so don’t try to size anyone up or judge your performance based on others. You may find that you are being overtaken by your colleagues early on in practice, but then that closer to the exam you start to peak more than they do or vice versa. Don’t be alarmed – just try to do your best and not let other people’s performances put you off yours!
There are millions of books out there you can read but the most useful, popular and common cases you will be shown are included in the following books:
Chapman & Nakeilny
Rapid Review of Radiology
Case Imaging Review
Dukes Case Review
For a more in-depth review of these books and other 2B revision texts check out our book review pages.
Aunt Minnie - http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=olce&sub=cotx&pag=archive
Rad Daily - http://www.raddaily.com
Scottish Radiology Society (Radiology Cases)- http://www.radiology.co.uk/radiological-cases
ACR Case in Point Archive - http://3s.acr.org/CIP/Archive.aspx
Radiology Assistant - http://www.radiologyassistant.nl
FRCR tutorials - http://www.frcrtutorials.com
HK College of Radiology (Case of the Month) - http://www.hkcr.org
Just like it is normal for you to warn patients of a hot flushing feeling when they undergo a contrast enhanced scan so they don’t get panicky when it happens… the following things are also normal feelings for you to go through during the revision period – don’t expect them to happen to everyone, but they will happen to some of you – do not be alarmed, just accept that this happens and none of it is necessarily true, but if you keep working hard and continue, the feelings will pass: -
You may get the feeling of helplessness, stress, depression
You may feel like giving up and quitting the exam or even questioning if radiology is really for you
You may occasionally have radiology nightmares where you believe you have missed the exam, messed up your viva, wrote your answers in the wrong box during the RR or LCs
You may come out of each tutorial/course feeling that you are just not good enough or cut out for this
You may sometimes burst into tears for no reason
Sometimes you may believe that there is no way you will ever pass and that you keep forgetting everything you know…
The best way to overcome these feelings are to have a good support group of friends and family to talk to whenever you feel things are getting on top of you, ensure you get a little regular exercise, eat well, try to have at least one night where you don’t revise a week and do not try to substitute a lack of sleep with a caffeine/red bull/pro-plus addiction!!
Unless you have a large amount of savings on hand, you really need to budget how much you will be spending on this examination. Just as an example:
If you do 3 x 2B courses (3 x avg £450) + 2 x RR courses (2 x avg£150) + Factor in the 2B exam fees (approx. £450) + completion fee when you pass (approx. £470) + Accomodation/Flights/Travel to the courses (up to £350 if travelling far away) = grand total of approx. £2920!!
Budget carefully! Don’t rush and panic-buy everything! You don’t need to buy as many courses as I have outlined above, but I do recommend that you try to save money wherever you can by borrowing books from your local medical library, your friends, buying second hand books, try to download ebooks for your kindle (which are generally cheaper than the paperback versions) or ask your mates to give you any e-books they have downloaded and can share.
Coming soon! If you have recently sat the FRCR2Bs and would like to tell us your experience then contact us and let us know!
Past FRCR 2B Experiences/ Stations:
Past Stations - Contributor 1
Past Stations - Contributor 2
Past Stations - Contributor 3
Long Cases 2005 - 2010
Past Stations - Contributor 5 (RR & LC)
Past Stations - Contributor 6 (2009 cases)
Past Stations - Contributor 7 (2012 cases)
Past Stations - Contributor 8 (2011 cases)
Past Stations - Contributor 9