The Part 2 examination
The scope of the examination
The criteria upon which the JCHMT will make a recommendation to the Specialist Training Authority for the award of a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training will be that a candidate has passed the Part 1 and Part 2 MRCPath examinations and has received confirmation from the Postgraduate Dean of the date of completion of the training programme. It is therefore evident that candidates for the Part 2 examination must demonstrate a level of competence and professional maturity appropriate for independent practice at consultant level.
Format of the Part 2 examination
The Part 2 examination will comprise a written component and an oral examination.
· The written component of Part 2 will be one of the following options:
(a) a dissertation
(b) a PhD/MD thesis, normally completed during the training period
(c) a series of refereed, published papers (or in press)
(d) a casebook consisting of a report with commentary on a minimum of five patients, but no more than ten. The cases chosen should include at least one of each of the following: allergy, primary mmunodeficiency, secondary immunodeficiency and autoimmunity. The general form of case presentation should begin with an introduction, followed by a full and detailed account of clinical features and investigative work, (the major part of which has been carried out by the candidate), management and progress and a critical commentary. The reports should be of a quality fit for peer reviewed publication.
· Instructions for the written component of the Part 2 examination
Candidates who wish to present written work (published papers, dissertations, doctorate theses, casebooks) should read carefully the generic guidelines above. Candidates submitting publications should note that the quality of the publications and the candidate’s contributions to the research work will be the determining factors. As a guideline, a minimum of three publications (not unrelated case reports) with the candidate as the first author would be required. With multi-author publications, proportionately more would be required, the number depending upon the extent and significance of the contributions made by the candidate.
Although candidates may wish to undertake project work relevant to the Part 2 before passing the Part 1 examination, the finished project may not be submitted as an option for the Part 2 until after success in the Part 1.
Candidates are advised that, where written options are submitted as part of the Part 2 examination, these must be submitted to the College at least six months before the closing date for the examination for which the candidate wishes to enter. Applications for the compulsory oral component of the Part 2 will not be accepted until the written option has been awarded a pass mark by the Examiners’ Sub-Committee.
· The oral examination
Communications skills are essential for immunologists and it is important that both medical and non-medical trainees develop their clinical liaison skills to enable them to offer appropriate clinical advice to their colleagues and to think through the consequences of their advice for patient management. The oral examination will assess these skills, in addition to the candidates’ knowledge of laboratory management and management structures, budgetary control, audit, health and safety at work, quality assurance and training. Examiners will also require candidates to show that they are aware of recent developments and scientific advances in the field as well as new technologies.
The oral examination in immunology will last for 45–60 minutes. It will be immediately preceded by a 30–45 minute period, during which the candidate will have the opportunity to examine material relevant to the practice of immunology. This material will include clinical case histories, laboratory reports and quality assurance data.
During the first part of the oral examination, the candidate will be asked to discuss this material in order to assess his/her ability to deal with specific problems and provide practical advice to colleagues.
The rest of the oral examination will be used to assess the candidate’s knowledge of basic and applied aspects of immunology, including laboratory management, audit, accreditation, training and clinical governance. Candidates will need to demonstrate a level of competence appropriate for independent practice at consultant level and to show familiarity with current scientific advances in the specialty and cognate disciplines.
The oral examination lasts 45–60 minutes and is conducted by two examiners. It is structured and predefined under following categories.
Segment one: diagnostic problem (2 cases, 30 marks); communication with patients, relatives, ethical issues (10 marks); therapy and complications (10 marks).
Segment two: one topic from: quality assurance or laboratory safety/accreditation/audit/
management (25 marks) and one topic from: fundamental immunology/recent advances (25 marks).
50% pass marks must be achieved in both segments of the viva.
If a candidate fails, feedback will be given directly to the candidate, to discuss reasons for the failure with an appropriate supervisor or designated individual. The adviser can obtain from the College Examinations Department a summary of their performance for each question in the Part 1 written examination and also have access to feedback sheets completed by the examiners with comments on each unsuccessful candidate’s performance in the practical and oral examinations. If a candidate is not satisfied with the feedback provided, the Chair of the Panel of Examiners may, in special circumstances, arrange a further review of the written papers. This would be for feedback purposes only and papers will not be re-marked.