How to prepare for FRCEM Primary exam- Effective 2021 plan

If you have decided to appear for FRCEM primary, we will show you How to prepare for FRCEM Primary based on latest curriculum.

FRCEM Primary examination is not difficult if you know your basics right. RCEM expects you to know applied sciences. Meaning, the knowledge should help you diagnose an entity with accuracy based on clinical examination. Most of you might have not gone through the basic sciences after your initial medical school days. Now it might look like a big task going through them. We will try to help you out and show you How to prepare for FRCEM Primary based on the time you have till the exam.

Table of Contents

What to revise?

But, mind you, you have read these same subjects before. So it’s more like a revision. The key is to figure out what to read from those books. You certainly don’t want to read the entire book. Just concentrate on what RCEM expects you to know. How do you know? Well, the RCEM publishes the curriculum. Print that PDF or mark the topics needed in your book (Linked below).

The curriculum is quite clear. Say for example, instead of minute details of what lies where anatomically, they would be interested in the applied anatomy part. Which kind of injury leads to which structural damage?, A specific loss of function is due to damage to which nerve or artery?
Don’t expect direct memory based questions. If there is no clinical significance, it’s least likely to be on the paper.


Resources that help

If you happen to have your old books which you used during your under-graduation, it’s better to use them and mark the curriculum in it. Old books might have your notes in them and they help with visual memory too.
If you have lost them, Consider (Not in an order and latest need not be the best as basic sciences content won’t change much)

  • Revision Notes for the FRCEM Primary (Oxford Specialty Training: Revision Texts) 2017 or later
  • FRCEM Primary: All-In-One Notes 5th Ed 2019 or later
  • USMLE books are a great resource if you mark the curriculum in them
  • For Physiology, RCEM mentions “Physiology at a glance” and it’s enough
  • For Anatomy, Snell’s is a good choice (again, mark what to read).
  • For Pharmacology, BNF latest edition regarding drug indication/side effects etc and rest you can manage while doing online question banks..
  • Online resources like TeachMeAnatomy and google for images. (Rely maximum on images for Anatomy.)
  • Watch videos on Youtube for explanation if you don’t understand something. Don’t just read, try to understand, which helps you memorize well.
  • For Microbiology, Pathology and Statistics, just look at the curriculum and read those parts in any book you have or in an online resource.
  • Take 3 months of subscription to one of the online Q banks and do at least 30-50 Qs per day.

Tip: While doing online question banks, always read the explanation. Don’t just read about why an option is correct, also read about why the other options are wrong.

That will reinforce your learning.

Selective focus

Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology cover 60+60+27=147 marks. Pass mark is mostly 93-100. Do questions / recalls for rest of the subjects

Recalls can be found in Telegram/Whatsapp groups.

6-months plan

If you have 6 months of time

Start reading for 2 months

Physiology 20 days
Anatomy 20 days
Pharmacology 7 days
Microbiology 5 days
Pathology 5 days
Evidence based medicine 3 days

Online/Offline Q-Banks for 2 months Daily 50 Qs (read full explanation of answers).
Check previous exam recalls from Telegram groups. Don’t believe in the answers given by others. Find the answer yourself.

Quick revision of books/reading material in next 20 days

Re-do online questions, now at a faster pace 100-200 Qs a day for next 40days. This should include mock tests of 180Qs from all subjects. Do recalls again and again.


4-months plan

If you have 4 months of time

Start reading for 45 days

Physiology 15 days
Anatomy 15 days
Pharmacology 5 days
Microbiology 4 days
Pathology 4 days
Evidence based medicine 2 days

Online/Offline Q-Banks for 1 months Daily 100 Qs (read full explanation of answers).
Check previous exam recalls from Telegram groups. Don’t believe in the answers given by others. Find the answer yourself.

Quick revision of books/reading material in next 20 days

Re-do online questions, now at a faster pace 100-200 Qs a day for next 25days. This should include mock tests of 180Qs from all subjects. Do recalls again and again.


3-months plan

If you have 3 months of time (If you cannot wait for next session)

Make sure your basics are strong. If not, please take time and go for the next session. The exam is costly.

Start reading for 1 months

Physiology 10 days
Anatomy 10 days
Pharmacology 4 days
Microbioogy 3 days
Pathology 2 days
Evidence based medicine 1 day

Online/Offline Q-Banks for first half of the remaining period Daily 100-150 Qs (read full explanation of answers). Check previous exam recalls from Telegram groups. Don’t believe in the answers given by others. Find the answer yourself.

Re-do online questions, at a super rapid pace 200-250 Qs a day for second half of the remaining period. This should include mock tests of 180Qs from all subjects. Do recalls again and again.


2-months only

If you have only 2 months but still want to give a try

You don’t have the luxury to waste any time. Dedicate yourself 100%.
Start doing online Question banks 50-100 Qs everyday. Once done will all Qs, repeat the Qs as much as possible.
Check previous exam recalls from Telegram groups. Don’t believe in the answers given by others. Find the answer yourself. Concentrate heavily on exam recalls.

Tip: Previous exam recalls are a great way to score 30-50 marks. Some are direct repeats, while others will be based on the knowledge you gain from the recalls.

Make sure to do the practice exam papers on RCEM-Learning website. 20 Qs per test. Out of those 100 Qs, you will get at least 10 Qs (Mostly as it is). Also, check 8 sample Qs from RCEM.

There are 5 Practice papers available. You’ll need an account. If you don’t have, ask any friends working in UK.

It’s not what you know, It’s what you recollect during those 3 Hrs matters.

Stay calm and composed during the exam. Don’t waste too much of time on any question. Review those Qs in doubt at the end. Attempt all. A blind choice still has 20% chance of being right. Take a break and have a quick snack for instant energy and water. Don’t control your bladder too much. If you feel like voiding, go and pee, take that added pressure off.

We wish you good luck with your preparation

If you need any help in preparing, join our workshop below

How to prepare for FRCEM primary
Spotted a mistake in this article? Or Have a suggestion? Let us know please.