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NHS. Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals. NHS Trust. Tips For MRCpath Success Loretta Ford Jonathan Berg. Clinical Biochemistry City Hospital, Birmingham. What To Expect. Three hours long Afternoon of the second day

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tips for mrcpath success loretta ford jonathan berg


Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals

NHS Trust

Tips For MRCpath SuccessLoretta Ford Jonathan Berg

Clinical Biochemistry

City Hospital, Birmingham

what to expect
What To Expect
  • Three hours long
  • Afternoon of the second day
  • Spectrophotometers -you will be given time before practical for familiarisation. If ever used again!
  • Told this on day one
what should you take

Make sure you

know how to use

the equipment!

What Should You Take?

Essential: Lab coat


Pipettes (at least 1 ml and 5 ml)

Pipette tips

Marker pen



Graph paper


Stop clock

Plain 10 ml Universal Containers

Plastic test tubes



Box of consumables at front of room (but you should not really need them)

books notes
Books & Notes
  • Bring any books/notes into exam
  • Tietz obvious choice
  • Little time in exam to read books!
  • Better off compiling own folder
  • Google will provide plenty of ready made notes
practical folder suggested contents
Practical Folder Suggested Contents
  • Most past papers involve urine analysis
  • Far easier for examiners to provide urine than blood
  • Limits the number of analysis that can be performed think:



drugs of abuse 

  • POCT becoming more popular:

glucose meters

practical folder suggested contents1
Practical Folder Suggested Contents
  • Enzyme kinetics: (km/vmax)

Michaelis-Menten, Lineweaver-Burk

  • Reference intervals (especially urine tests)
  • Conversion tables for units of common analytes
  • Chemistry of ATP/NADH
  • Advantages/disadvantages of POCT
  • Equations e.g. A=CL, MDRD
before you pick up a pipette
Before you pick up a pipette!
  • Spend 10 min reading to the end of the paper (recommend read twice!)
  • Write notes at front of workbook as you go along
  • Underline important points
  • Create a Work Plan
  • Make sure the work you do answers all the examiners questions
before you pick up a pipette1
Before you pick up a pipette!
  • Check you have all the reagents listed
  • Check you have enough reagents for the work you propose
  • Are reagents in date?
  • Observations e.g. if reagents are cold and kit insert says they should be used at RT point this out
  • Check lot numbers
  • For POCT is device CE Marked?

Don’t worry If everyone else has started while you do this it maybe half hour before you start

-preparation is everything!

practical work and writing up
Practical work and writing up

For each experiment you will need:

  • Title (aim of experiment)
  • Methods
  • Results
      • Always present data in a tabulated form
      • Graphs must have a title and labelled axis
      • Make a note of any observations e.g. colour change
  • Conclusions
      • Include further work e.g. what the next experiment will be
practical work and writing up1
Practical work and writing up

Most practicals require:

  • Calibration curve (unless stated use min 3 points)
  • Measurement of standards & unknown samples
  • Investigation of interference

Use your initiative (only if time & reagents allow!)

What happens if POCT results are read after

5, 10 min instead of 2

practical work and writing up2
Practical work and writing up

Short Report to Consultant

  • Popular inclusion in recent practicals
  • Create a template for your Practical Folder (especially for POCT device)
  • Discuss contents of report with supervisor

Final Summary

Summarise all results on a single page in tabulated form

what if it all goes wrong
What if it all goes wrong?
  • Write down any mistakes
  • If you can explain what went wrong even better
  • Try to repeat wrong experiments correctly
  • If you have run out of time/reagents write down what you would of done
  • Marks can only be given for what you have written down!
  • Write legibly –keep work as neat as possible
  • Explain clearly everything you do
  • Write down all observations
  • Keep an eye on the time
  • Even if you have not finished leave at least 15 min at the end to make sure you have written everything down!
  • Always read to the end of the paper before starting!!!

Don’t cry……..


Example Questions:

Comparison of 2 POCT glucose devices

Study of the cross-reactivity of a drugs of

abuse POCT device