'How I Passed the FRCR 2B Exam' with Tarek Helmy
December 13th, 2023
Interview with Tarek Helmy
This article is from a transcript of an interview with Dr Tarek Helmy, a consultant radiologist in Kuwait who passed his FRCR exam in March 2023. He goes on to explain how he managed to pass the 2B exam and shares his thoughts and strategies.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career to date?
I am currently in Kuwait, working as a consultant at a tertiary urology centre. I'm planning to move from the Gulf to the UK or other FRCR-accepting countries, such as Scotland or Ireland. I have a lot of experience, although I'm not that young. I have substantial practical experience. Studying for a fellowship requires spending more time updating the latest information and knowledge. Since I'm an avid reader, that was probably part of my daily work. I enjoy studying and reading, so that helped me a lot. I intended to pass the 2B exam on my first attempt and was lucky to achieve that goal.
Q: Could you take us through your FRCR journey?
I was keen on upgrading my credentials, so I enrolled in the FRCR exams in 2019. I sat for my first part and passed, scoring quite well in physics and anatomy. The 2A exam's difficulty varied, so I failed twice. I was expecting to pass the first time, but I probably made mistakes in choosing the types of books I read. You need to know the trend in the 2A exam to pass. COVID days were a bit problematic for registration, with the exam being cancelled a few times. Since I'm not in the UK, registering and sitting for the 2A exam on time was challenging. The 2B exam is more in line with daily practice. The academic side in 2A is tricky; you need to remember that you only have one choice, and sometimes the answers are very close. Eventually, I passed the 2A and set my 2B exam for March 2023. I didn't know of Revise Radiology until planning for the 2B exam. I chose your platform because I felt Dr. Koshy Jacob's sincerity in providing a good platform, despite it being quite expensive.
Q: How did you prepare for the FRCR?
Part 2B was intense. Planning to pass on my first attempt, I spent 3 to 4 hours daily on revision, with over 700 pages of notes on OneNote. I studied hard for the 2B exam, focusing more on reviewing images as it's a visual study. In my daily work, I handle a lot of cases, and continuing that in the afternoon was in continuation of what I did earlier in the morning. I spent 2 - 3 hours a day on the Rapids in the last 45 days. On the day of the examination, I was confident but surprised by the results. I was very happy with the vivas, although the first session was tricky. The viva sessions for Revise Radiology were probably one of the best because of their variation.
Q: What are the big challenges/obstacles when sitting the FRCR exams as an overseas candidate?
The main challenge for candidates outside the UK is unfamiliarity with the UK system's focus. In the UK, tutors instruct you on specific areas to focus on. The management of cases differs from one country to another. This was particularly evident in the 2A exam, especially in cases involving UTI infections, head trauma management, and child abuse. These protocols change frequently, so you end up with management issues that you're not familiar with.
Q: How can future candidates overcome these obstacles?
Overseas candidates like myself, should familiarize themselves with management themes. It's important to look for these on RCR websites. Management protocols are crucial, especially for the 2A candidates, as they are regulated by bodies like the RCR or the NHS. These are crucial for medical-legal issues.
Q: How has passing the FRCR changed your life?
Passing the FRCR is currently changing my life. It's a well-earned challenge that gives me satisfaction. It bolsters my self-esteem, knowing that I'm as good as other colleagues who have passed the FRCR. It gives me the confidence to tackle more difficult challenges in the future.
Q: How did you hear about Revise Radiology?
I was intent on joining a revision platform before the 2B exam. I reviewed several platforms and found yours to be the most coherent and comprehensive.
Q: How has Revise Radiology helped you in your FRCR Journey?
If I had known about Revise Radiology's 2A platform earlier, I would have joined it. Studying with a group makes a huge difference. The main value of joining Revise Radiology was indulging in detailed discussions, not only with peers and study partners but with people who have already passed the FRCR. It's very helpful to gain experience from those who have passed, as they tell you what to focus on and what to avoid. Studying from outside the UK doesn't really give you that experience. Just to compare with other platforms, I think Revise Radiology is one of the best, if not the best.
Tarek Helmy had the FRCR 2B Combined Subscription that includes the Written Packets, 2B Vivas, Study Group Sessions, and more..