MRCP Part 1 Exam Pattern
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The MRCP Part 1 exam or MRCP (UK) Part 1 exam is an entry-level exam for doctors who have a minimum of 12 months of postgraduate experience in the medical field. MRCP Part 1 exam pattern covers topics to ensure that trainees have the appropriate knowledge. This exam is the first level of assessment that a medical trainee will have to face. There are other assessments and exams for trainees undergoing core medical training in the UK. They will have to take these tests to display their knowledge.

The Part 1 test helps in determining whether a trainee has the requisite knowledge to be a clinical physician. The MRCP Part 1 Exam pattern helps in analyzing whether the trainee knows about common medical disorders that are taught in the UK curriculum.

If you score good grades in the MRCP Part 1 Exam, then it will indicate that you have not only acquired new knowledge, but you also remember all the topics that you have learned in the undergraduate programme. The test is just the stepping stone during medical training. It forms the base of all the other written and clinical exams that you will have to face.

Who is eligible for the MRCP Part 1 exam?

Trainees from any nation can apply for this test. For an overseas student, you will have to have a GMC (General Medical Council)-recognized primary medical degree. With this, a trainee should have at least 12 months of postgraduate experience in terms of medical employment.

MRCP Part 1 Exam Pattern and Format

The MRCP Part 1 exam pattern is designed to assess the knowledge of medical trainees. The exam has two papers. Each paper is 3 hours long. The MRCP Part 1 exam pattern is in a multiple-choice-question format. Each question will have five options, out of which one will be correct. The candidate will be given one mark if his/her answer is correct. There is no negative marking for any wrong answer.

Composition of MRCP Part 1 Exam Pattern

MRCP Part 1 has a vast syllabus that covers topics ranging from cardiology to genetics. In this section, we have mentioned the topics that you will have to cover with the possible number of questions that are asked from each section. Remember the number of questions mentioned in these is an approximation that is made based on last year’s paper. 

Composition of SyllabusNumber of questions
Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics15
Gastroenterology and Hepatology14
Clinical sciences25
Geriatric medicine8
Infectious diseases14
Medical ophthalmology4
Palliative medicine and end-of-life care4
Renal medicine14
Respiratory medicine14

Topics Included in Clinical Sciences

Cell, membrane and molecular biology2
Clinical metabolism and biochemistry4
Clinical anatomy3
Clinical physiology4
Statistics, evidence-based medicine and epidemiology5

Syllabus of MRCP Part 1 Exam

Understanding the syllabus of any exam pattern is crucial and necessary. It helps in planning for the exam. The MRCP Part 1 exam pattern is designed as an MCQ paper. For any MCQ paper, it is important to understand the weightage each topic has. The syllabus plays an essential role in securing good marks. Here is the detailed syllabus for MRCP Part 1.

Topic namesDetailed sub-topics
CardiologyExplain anatomy and physiology, cell biology
Pathophysiology and pathology, What is clinical cardiology?, What is clinical pharmacology? 
DermatologyLearn about all the skin-related allergies, Their medications and side effects
Clinical pharmacology and therapeuticsPharmacology, In detail, Clinical pharmacokinetics, List the adverse drug reactions  Monitoring drug therapy, Study of drug interactions, What is pharmacogenetics, Therapeutics for specific patient groups, What are the criteria for selecting drugs? Drug formulations, Routes of administration, Explain clinical toxicology 
Gastroenterology and HepatologyClinical science, What is Clinical Nutrition?, Disorders of the mouth, tongue and salivary glands, Study of disorders of the oesophagus and stomach, Functional disorders, What are the disorders of the small intestine? Disorders of the liver, biliary tree and pancreas, What is the acute abdomen? Explain the Inflammatory bowel diseases, Study colorectal disorders.
Geriatric medicineStudy anatomy and physiology, What are cell biology and genetics, Clinical pharmacology
Infectious diseasesMicrobiology, Study of the immunology of infectious diseases, What is the pathophysiology? Study of epidemiology, treatment of these diseases, Side effects and treatment of specific infections.
HaematologyPhysiology, control and function of formed blood elements, Study of the bone marrow structure and function, Effects of age and pregnancy on blood diseases, Applications of biochemistry, genetics, immunology, Splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy and their causes  Virology to blood disorders, Principles and hazards of blood, Study of blood product replacement therapy, Principles of anti-tumour chemotherapy, Study of the principles of marrow transplantation, Learn about the adverse effects of drugs on blood, What is iron metabolism? Megaloblastic anaemias, Study of haemolytic anaemias,  Learn about polycythaemia and myeloproliferative disorders, What are white cell disorders? Disorders of hemostasis.
NeurologyWhat is Neuroanatomy? Study of Neurophysiology, Learn about Neurogenetics, Study of cell biology, What is Neuropharmacology? Explain and study Neuropathology, What is Clinical Neurology?
Medical OphthalmologyExplain all the topics related to Medical Ophthalmology
OncologyWhat is oncology? Explain
Palliative medicine and end-of-life careWhat are palliative medicines?, Learn about all the aspects of medicines, their usage and side effects.
Renal medicineWhat are renal medicines? Learn about all the aspects of medicines, their usage and side effects.
PsychiatryStudy in detail mental state, What are the aetiological factors in psychiatric illness? What are the syndromes of psychiatric disorders and their treatment? Study the psychiatric aspects of physical disease, Explain mental retardation
RheumatologyBasic principles of the common musculoskeletal conditions, Study clinical science, Know about clinical conditions, Investigations 
Clinical anatomyStudy clinical anatomy with neuroanatomy
GeneticsStudy the structure and function of chromosomes, Study the structure and function of genes, Learn the principle of inheritance of chromosomal disorders, Learn the principle of inheritance of genetic disorders.
ImmunologyPrinciples of immune-mechanisms, Study and conduct Immunological tests, Study clinical condition, Learn the principles of immunosuppressive therapy that has major indications and side effects.
Statistics, evidence-based medicine and epidemiologyLearn descriptive statistics, Learn graphical techniques, Study inferential techniques, Study evidence-based medicine, Take clinical trials.
Cell, membrane and molecular biologyStudy the structure and function of the cell and membrane, How cells communicate internally, Study the chemical substances and membrane receptors.
Clinical metabolism and biochemistryStructure and function of the different organs and their interaction, Study the broad principle of metabolism, Learn the principles of nutrition, water, electrolyte and acid-base balance, Study the physiology and biochemistry of each organ system.

The best books for MRCP Part 1 exam

Now, after knowing the syllabus, it is time to know about the best books that you can refer to for preparation. Some of the best books that you can refer to are:

  1. Essential Revision Notes for MRCP written by Philip A. Kalra (Editor).
  2. Essential for MRCP written by Stuart McPherson, Duncan Fullerton, James Greenwood, Tom Ledson
  3. Essential Statistics for Medical Examinations by Brian Faragher, Chris Marguerie
  4. MRCP Part 1: Explanations to the Royal College of Physicians Past Papers by H.L.C., BSc MRCP Beynon, C.N., MRCP Ross
  5. Multiple True/false Revision Book by P. Kalra (Editor)
  6. MRCP Part 1 exam pattern book: Neurology, Psychiatry, Basic Sciences
  7. MRCP Part 1 Pocket Book: Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Nephrology
  8. Basic Medical Sciences for MRCP Part 1 written by Philippa Easterbrook
  9. MRCP 1 New Multiple Choice “Best of Five” Revision Book by K. Binyamin
  10. 300 Best of Five: Questions and Answers by Geraint Rees (Editor)
  11. MRCP Part 1 MCQs in Basic Sciences by P. Easterbrook, Kefah Mokbel
  12. The Practical Guide to Medical Ethics and Law for Junior Doctors and Medical Students by Chloe Baxter, Mark G. Brennan, Yvette Coldicott


MRCP Part 1 is the first level exam that tests the knowledge of medical trainees. The exam has two papers. For every correct answer, a trainee will get one mark. There is no negative marking in this paper. The syllabus of MRCP Part 1 is quite vast. Preparation for each topic is essential.

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