Hi, I am Abhishek, an IMG from India and a former MTI trainee in Medicine from 2018 to 2020. I am currently a Speciality Trainee (ST3) in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the NHS, UK.
I recently completed my MRCP exams which culminated with the official ceremony in the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh. The Royal Colleges are quite reputed globally and it holds a special place of respect among the mind and hearts of Indians. It was an extremely special moment for me and my family as all of us dreamt of this day for a very long time. The journey was not easy, had multiple hurdles but in the end, I believe that my hard work and perseverance pulled me through. Today let me share with you all, a snippet of the journey which I overtook in the year 2012.
Before I start, I must mention my grandfather who instilled in me the thought about MRCP. I like any other Indian graduate was gearing up to prepare for the Indian postgraduate exam which is full of hurdles, some very bureaucratic. As I was gearing up to grind through them, that’s when he told me, why not do something different to your peers, why not the MRCP which is much more recognized globally. Initially quite reluctant to experiment, I happened to search on youtube and saw the snippets of a ceremony in RCP Edinburgh. I must say that inspired me to a different level as I started to dream about myself on that very stage being royally inducted by the president. Thus the work started towards the achievement of this dream.
The biggest challenge during that period was to find proper guidance for the exam and no one known to me was appearing for this exam. There was no TrewLink, no helpful seniors I could ask advice from. I went through multiple internet blogs, websites and tried to grab whatever tips I could potentially get. I appeared for part 1 in 2014 for the first time but was unsuccessful. After 2 unsuccessful attempts, I was completely drained off financially and was just on the verge of quitting the MRCP dream. That’s when one of my very close friends who is a paediatric surgeon in India, made me persevere. He talked me into trying one more time and I became the third time lucky, this time clearing the exam with good marks. That was 2016.
'MRCP is a journey which needs a lot of effort, dedication, perseverance, sacrifice and most importantly willpower. If you definitely want it, there is absolutely no stopping you from achieving your dreams and the ceremonial event in the college makes every single thing mentioned above, worth every penny.' - Dr Abhishek Ray
Since then, a lot happened. I joined the NHS and cleared my part 2 in 2018 but had to be the third time lucky for PACES. The Covid situation didn’t help at all and the circumstances surrounding my third attempt were nothing less than dramatic. After my second unsuccessful attempt in Nov 2019, Covid-19 hit us big time. The multiple waves meant academics took a backseat and exams were kept on hold thus creating a huge backlog of candidates awaiting the exam. I was twice denied the opportunity to appear for the exam as the college was prioritizing the trainees over the non-trainees. At the same time, I was coming close to the 7-year period from passing part 1. I started to be haunted by the thoughts of appearing for parts 1 and 2 again. Then one fine day, mid-2021 as I just casually checked my mails, I found an email from the RCP Glasgow that they are offering a few exam places to non-trainees and I had to choose amongst them. The earliest was in 2 days and the latest was in 10 days. I could have refused them but that meant being shoved to the backbench again. After a lot of thought and encouragement from my parents, I decided to take the date 10 days later. To say it was a herculean task is an understatement as my next 3 days were medical registrar on call in one of the busiest London based trusts. So preparing PACES in 7 days is something which even my consultants felt is a very brave decision. But by the grace of almighty, I managed to clear the exam and more specifically was just 12 marks short of the full marks, which was my best ever performance across all attempts.
There is a saying in India that the best swimmers are the ones who are dropped in the middle of the ocean expecting to reach the shore by themselves rather than the ones who receive organized training in the practice pools. Though I don’t advocate for such an approach, my journey through this exam seemed to somehow remind me a lot about this. MRCP is a journey which needs a lot of effort, dedication, perseverance, sacrifice and most importantly willpower. If you definitely want it, there is absolutely no stopping you from achieving your dreams and the ceremonial event in the college makes every single thing mentioned above, worth every penny.
If you have any questions about the MRCP exams, I would be happy to answer them at trewlink.com.
ST3 Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Webinars with Abhishek
TrewLink, in collaboration with Dr Abhishek, has recently hosted an informative webinar about the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) scheme for International Medical Graduates (IMGs).
If you would like to know more about the MTI scheme, please watch our FREE webinar with a Q&A session “Medical Training Initiative (MTI) for IMGs: process, requirements, top tips” at TrewLink.com
MTI is the sponsored route of GMC registration which allows IMGs with considerable work experience to come and work in the UK for a period of 2 years. After their training, they return back to their home country and utilize their expertise to improve/suggest modifications to the existing health care there. NHS gains by reducing dependence on locums to cover for the shortage of doctors, getting experienced doctors on board and learning from their experience. Read more in our blog Medical Training Initiative (MTI) for IMGs or watch the webinar Medical Training Initiative (MTI) for IMGs: process, requirements, top tips
Written by Abhishek Edited by Julia