In this blog post, Dr. Nacharin is sharing his experience of scoring highly on MSRA, which led him to bypass the interview stage of Core Psychiatry Training recruitment and he received an offer of appointment.
My name is Nacharin. I graduated from Thailand in 2016 (currently in the 3rd year of working in Thailand).
I have long wanted to specialize in psychiatry since the pre-clinical years, and, having had a great opportunity to do an attachment at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, in the final yearof medical school, I became aspired to pursue training in the UK.
I started planning to apply for training in the UK in November 2017 (About 1 year from my expected application round). I began by gathering information about psychiatric training, especially the important dates of application rounds. I even saved the applicant’s guides, person specifications, recruitment timetable, and interview questions. I read them thoroughly so that I know what to expect in the subsequent year. This is crucial as early planning is a vital factor determining the outcome of the application.
I cleared PLAB 1 in March 2018 and PLAB 2 in July 2018.
Having read the applicant’s guidebook from the past year, I realized that there’s a bypass score for MSRA, which means that the applicants who score highly enough will receive a direct offer without having to attend the interview. Since I didn’t have any prior UK work experience, I was a bit unsure about giving an interview. Hence, my aim was to get a direct offer to be on the safe side. But in the meantime, I also tried to build my portfolio by doing research and audit, teaching, joining a conference and presenting my work there, etc.
While I was waiting for PLAB 2 result, I began finding out about MSRA, including how to prepare. I started preparing for MSRA 3 days after PLAB 2 result was out (August 2018), so that I could have around 4 months for preparation. (I know from the last year’s recruitment timetable that MSRA would be held in January). As I mentioned, planning is very important! One of the perks of sitting MSRA not long after PLAB is that you still remember most of the knowledge and guidelines.
I initially subscribed to E-medica and finished the question bank around 3 times until I got more than 85% in almost every module. I also made my own notes and clinchers for quick reviews.
Around 1 month and a half before the actual MSRA test date, I further subscribed to Passmedicine, finishing all the questions and repeating what I got wrong.
About a week before the test date, I joined a crammer course by E-medica. The course was very helpful, especially the techniques on how to nail the SJT part.
I chose the latest available MSRA date, so as to give myself as much as possible time to review. I even had to fly to the other city to sit the test as the date I wanted was not available in my city!
After the test, I didn’t feel very confident about what I did. Of particular concern was the SJT part. But my girlfriend told me that one never really feels confident about exams until the result is out!
On the date when Oriel would send invitations to interview/by-pass notification, I had butterflies in my stomach the whole day! I kept refreshing my email until … TADAAAA …
‘Congratulations, you scored highly enough on the Specialty Recruitment Assessment to be made an unconditional CT1 Core Psychiatry Training offer!’
I was profoundly relieved. Thinking about all the effort it took in a whole year, I even burst into tears. But they’re the tears of joy.
Now I’m expecting to see which trust I’ll be working at. The result will be out in a week from now. Really looking forward to joining the training programme in the UK!
- Core psychiatry training is currently in the shortage occupation list, which means we ALL can apply in the 1st round. And it’s perfectly possible for us to get a training post.
- Early planning and early preparation are crucial!
- Inspiration is no less important. It’s a long way from the 1st day of PLAB preparation to training application, and everyone, including me, has many things to juggle. Without inspiration, I couldn’t have been so focused and committed. I literally envisaged myself as a psychiatric trainee in the UK every day!
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Nacharin was able to secure Core Psychiatry Training in one of the best training schemes in London.