Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists Examination part 2B

Blog Post by Jessie Aw, Neuroradiology Fellow at Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia, and  John Curtis, Radiologist Consultant, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, University Hospital Aintree, UK

The British summer has arrived and with that, some sunshine. That’s all you need as a radiology registrar who barely sees the sunrays and about to start preparation for the exam. Soak it up, as it should get you enough to get your vitamin D levels up for the rest of the year now the time has come around for the Final Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR) examination part 2B.

As a fellow, I’m there with you. I know about turning up to work in the dark and leaving work still in the dark. Hopefully exam preparation may become less murky (and that’s not through cleaning your glasses) with the “survival guide” to the long cases.

When I was starting my preparation, asking everyone in the years above what you’re suppose to do and read, we only had a few “long case” packets on our training scheme. You’d drive everywhere to get your practise vivas and teaching sessions. That part of the exam preparation was straightforward and it was quite sociable, catching up with people on your scheme you haven’t seen for ages and having a natter or so. Drinking more endless cups of coffee. 

Whilst for my group and me who were all doing the exam together, the long cases were less accessible. They were locked up in Fort Knox and fumbling in more dimly lit department that you no longer had the access cards/codes for after hours could be a perfect scene for some horror movie. Who needs Hollywood when you can scare yourself?

So very late evenings and weekends was the only time I could go and practise the long cases. By which time, I was starving as it’s way beyond my dinnertime. But hey that’s what sugar and chocolate are for, as well as helping you through the stress of exams. Wine gums and chocolate eclairs are my current favourite, but it does change every couple of years or so. It’s a wonder we all don’t become vitamin D deficient, malnourished and start breaking our bones in an attempt to be Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

Seriously, I’m being tongue and cheek but it’s not far off. So this is in a way in which the “survival guide to the long cases” came about because until now, there were no other books available that specifically catered for the FRCR “long cases”.  This is something that you can use at home and despite the recent change in format from hard copy films to soft copy workstations, this survival guide has a lot to offer. The basic principles still apply in order to successfully tackle each case and formulate a concise report in the given time.

I came to realise that peoples’ reporting styles and contents are different. Viva la difference. This book has been written by a variety of successful FRCR candidates with a wide selection of cases covering all modules to emphasize this fact.

The introductory chapter also provides handy tips and suggestions to tackle this component of the exam, which may be very helpful especially if you are doing the exam alone or learning outside of the UK system.

The main emphasis is for you to time yourself with the “packets”. One of the main reasons candidates’ fail the “long cases” is because they run out of time. This book has been designed to allow self-timing with each “packet”.

There are 10 “packets” in the book, each containing 6 cases, which provides a total of 60 long cases to practice on. Answers are provided as a suggestion on how to structure the report. Additionally for each case, the disease and imaging features are discussed in order to consolidate your learning. The knowledge gained can be used not only for the long cases but also for the entire 2B exam preparation and maybe in clinical practice once the FRCR has been passed.

We wish you the best of luck.

Final FRCR 2B Long Cases, A Survival Guide is published by Cambridge University Press

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