How to Prepare for FCPS Part 1 Radiology?



I passed FCPS-1 in Radiology (March 2016- Online exam), and yes, I passed in second attempt (my 1st attempt was in Nov 2015-conventional exam). I am a mother of two kids aged 4 and 2 years, I have been abroad for 3 years so I studied after this gap. First, It is one of the most difficult to pass exams, second, I believe, everyone can pass this. All one require is, HARDWORK, CONSISTENCY, REPITITION, OPTIMISM and COMMITMENT.

Once you have decided to pass and u r firm in ur decision, you WILL definitely pass. The books I followed were the same that I started from beginning of my preparation. I got 72.5% in first attempt so I knew I had to fill a little gap to be successful. I felt depressed at failure after such a hard work, BUT I kept in mind that it’s just a phase, started again and kept pace. I didn’t change the text books and BCQ books or study pattern, I just repeated all I had studied again and again and again. And needless to say this page of FCPS prep. (batch 2005-10) helped me to my success every day.

I followed following books,

Anatomy: Snell clinical anatomy by regions (Big snell) For thorax, abdomen, pelvis and head & neck. These regions are really imp for radiology exam and are asked in detail. Snell review, for upper limb and lower limb, u don’t need to do these from big book. Plus RJ Last, I didn’t read this book in first attempt, and I found paper 2 difficult in first attempt, bought it and studied topics of abdomen, thorax, pelvis and head and neck. I just read this book topic wise, no need to read the whole of this book. This book made my concepts of anatomy very very clear and remember able. So If you have time DO RJ Last, atleast give two readings to topics from this book and in the end just stick to snell and snell review plus also do BCQs from snell review atleast once. Do topics of general anatomy from any book, I followed Last and snell and googled some topics. And for looking up any topic from BCQ books I checked in Last. But Big snell remained my primary text book and I added points from Last in Snell so it saved me time in subsequent revisions.

Neuroanatomy: I did Kaplan Neuroanatomy, all of it. After 2 readings from Kaplan I crammed neuro portion of FirstAid. It worked best for me.

Histology: Initially I read Kaplan Histology twice but only epithelia, connective tissue, muscle, nervous tissue, lymphoid tissue, and some topics of GIT, respiratory system and gonads. Then I just crammed rabia ali portion of histo including handy points in the end of the section.

Embryology: I did general embryology from Highyield embryology, and covered special embryology from firstAid, and while I read systems development topics I followed pictures from Highyield so that it cleared my concepts and helped me remember the topics.

Physiology: BRS physiology, I did all of it, and topics of blood I did from big book. After you have done BRS, the physio portion of FirstAid is enough for you. I especially liked reading endocrinology and renal physiology from FirstAid as it cleared my concept further. Its imp to have a strong grip on endocrinology.

Pathology: I did general pathology from BRS pathology, after 3 readings from BRS I just read general patho from FirstAid and added some extra points from BRS to firstAid, put BRS away and just repeated readings from FirsAid, it also included neoplasia. So I finaly crammed general path portion of patho from firstAid. For special pathology, I just read FirstAid, no need to do any other book for covering special path. Preferably also do Rabia ali portion of special path topic wise.

Biochem, Microbiology, Pharma, Biostatistics, Immunology, genetics, behavioural sciences: I crammed all these from firstAid.

FirstAid: Most imp book for both paper 1 and 2. Initially u will find this book difficult, but believe me, after u have given it two readings, you will begin to love it. It is my most favorite book, and I did all of it except psychiatry part. Elaborating a bit, I did first portion in depth, while second portion which deals with organ systems, I did it subject wise, like I covered only patho portions of all systems first, as I had read anatomy, physio parts from other books by that time. Then I did just the embryo portions, and then in my 3rd revision I read anatomy and physio parts which helped me revise these subjects quickly as these are very concisely and pictorially mentioned in firstAid. And eventually in my 4th and 5th revision I read the whole firstAid in one go twice. This helped me correlate all areas and work my mind in all subjects at the same time. It prepared my paper 1 and some of paper 2.

BCQ books: Most important, and without these books you can NEVER pass the exam.

Rabia Ali: do after every region / topic. Better to do all of it (except dentistry), but most imp are portions of anatomy, physio, general path, biochem, histo, biostatistics, pharma, microbiology and embryology.

Asim and Shoaib (surgery and medicine): I also did anatomy portion of asim & shoaib gynae obs. Rest I did anatomy, physio and patho portions of these books. U better do these books from the beginning so that once u have finished ur syllabus u have also finished these books once. These books are really imp in teaching u about the structure of questions as they come in paper, and how u have to attempt them. So do these atleast 3 times and do anatomy part atleast 4 times.

Chandkians: do all of it atleast twice after u have once covered asim and ur second revision mark bcqs u find likely to be revised, then the 3rd time do only the marked bcqs.

I also did just anatomy portions of Murad and Azeem Sheikh.

Study plan: I studied for a total of 4 months. Follow the radiology syllabus from cpsp, give time to topics according to their weightage. There is no specific plan, u should follow ur own as u studied before, don’t make a tight schedule just keep a plan to cover topics in time and do rabia ali at end of every unit (and cover it atleast twice), and in the evening when u r tired, relax and then give an hour or two to asim n shoaib and once covered then same time to chandkians. Check up the answers to BCQs with apparently wrong key in text book or online or post the question on this page. As u proceed further and in ur last month of prep, exceed the time for BCQ books so that in first half of the day u do theory and in second half u do BCQs, plus while solving BCQs also take help from google as it saved me a lot of time. Beside these, do some most recent past papers available online, and in last 15 days, solve about 3 to 4 times some questions given on cpsp online practice tests, this will orient u for exam n will boost ur confidence. Despite knowing about cpsp change of pool or format, remember more than 60% is always repeated so give ur best shot to preparation so that while u solve ur paper it will just seem as u r solving previously attempted BCQs. Online examination system is very good and easy.

Last but not the least, PRAY!!! Offer prayer punctually and do no harm to anyone, all u have to do is study hard n then leave the rest to Allah Almighty for its all in His hands and He is the best planner.

Just remember, U CAN DO IT!

Good Luck!

by Michelle Jo


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