Obstetrics & Gynaecology Education
MRCOG, DRCOG and O&G Revision
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MRCOG Part 1


Pt 1 explained

So you’ve made a commitment to a career in O&G? Congratulations! It’s a great specialty – possibly the best there is.

Next courses:

dates yet to be decided

watch this space


Your first hurdle? The “Part 1 MRCOG Examination” … four little words that can strike fear into the hardest of hearts. Fear not … it’s not as hard as some people make out plus you’ve found us now. We actually think it’s quite good fun. The RCOG allow UK-based trainees six attempts … yes SIX attempts! Our aim is to get you through first time every time and we’re quite good at that as our testimonials show.

Before we show you how we do this it is important for you understand what you are up against and how you are being tested. This is the key to any exam: you have to know what is expected of you and how you are being marked.

What is the format of the exam? - read more

The Part 1 exam was revised in 2009 to “allow the syllabus to be assessed in a more clinically relevant way, with a greater focus on basic science as applied to obstetric and gynaecological practice”. The College also introduced questions on data interpretation and clinical management, which can be quite challenging.

Do refer to the syllabus and familiarize yourself with the various modules that also define the Part 2 exam albeit in a different way. How these modules relate to the various is shown in the College’s blueprinting grid.

As you can see you are tested on 16 ‘core modules’ (e.g. postoperative care, maternal medicine etc) split into the following 14 ‘global areas’:

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Embryology
  • Genetics
  • Biophysics
  • Epidemiology/ Statistics
  • Data interpretation
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical management​

You are tested on these subjects in two written papers that you get two and a half hours (150) minutes to complete.

Each paper contains:

  • MCQs: multiple-choice questions (30 5-part MCQs worth 150 marks)​
  • SBAs: single best answer questions (60 SBAs worth 150 marks)​

As you can see from the break down of marks MCQs are worth 1 mark each whilst the trickier SBAs are worth 2.5 marks each. The RCOG suggest taking 75 minutes for both components, which given the fact they are worth the same makes perfect sense: thanks College

I wish they would stop introducing new types of question: what’s a SBA? The SBAs comprise five options, labelled from A to E, and a lead-in statement, which you must read carefully as it tells you exactly what you need to do. You just have to ‘pick the single answer that best fits’ as the name suggests. Just to stress this - that’s one answer guys! There may be more than one correct answer but the game is to decide which is the best?

Paper 1 typically includes the following subjects:

  • Physiology (18%
  • Endocrinology (22%)
  • Biochemistry (8%)
  • Anatomy (22%)
  • Embryology (8%)
  • Genetics (10%)
  • Epidemiology/ Statistics (12%)

with the rest tested in Paper 2

- Biophysics (5%) - Data interpretation (24%) - Pharmacology (20%) - Immunology (5%) - Microbiology (14%) - Pathology (22%) - Clinical management (10%)

The relevant importance of each section, as indicated by the number of questions allocated, has been shown in parentheses as a percentage of the total marks for each of the exam papers. We have used this information to develop our own bank of questions.

What is the pass mark? - read more

Simple answer: there isn’t one. The exam is standard set meaning the pass mark varies and is determined by how hard the questions are considered to be. Who decides this? A team of expert examiners who use a modified Angoff method to estimate how many ‘minimally-qualified candidates’ would answer it correctly. This is explained in more detail in our MRCOG Part 2 information. It all sounds a bit confusing but it does ensure fairness.


© 2013 Teale Fenning | Website by Cosmetic Digital | Last updated Jan 2015