We can all recall a time in the past (for some of us the distant past!) when we were long distance running for a race or just doing some cardio to keep in shape. Even in a very tired state, maintaining a jog can become automatic and although we’d rather be eating a pizza, the process isn’t that difficult.
However, at the point when you’re tired and drenched in your own perspiration, you decide to stop to a halt. Trying to jog or run again is extremely painful both physically and psychologically.
It’s because the concept of momentum is at play here. Momentum is essentially the power and advantage of a moving force. Nothing can stop a moving train and very few things can stop a doctor studying for MRCP if he or she is at full momentum.
To attain this state you must first make an agreement with yourself. It’s easier to do if you have less time before the exam, but I suggest that the agreement could go something like this:
“For the next 8 weeks, my main priority will be to pass MRCP Part 2 Written. Apart from work, sleep, healthy eating and exercise I will do nothing else“
It might seem extreme to some of you but the grass always seems greener on the other side. The alternative to this ultimatum could realistically be failing several times, wasting thousands of pounds and let’s face it, suffer a certain amount of embarrassment from our colleagues. Your colleagues can all wish you well but it’s nevertheless embarrassing having to tell them you’ve failed the second time. Not to mention all the stress and time wasted ruminating about the attempts.
Instead, formulate an agreement with yourself, preferably in writing. Follow this up by building unstoppable momentum through good habits and designated rituals. If the local coffee shop was where you did most of your revision for medical school finals this is where you want to be for the next 8 weeks.
If your hospital library was the key to your success then spend the next 8 weeks there. And if you enjoy reading whilst eating then make sure that book is about MRCP like this one. The technique of linking your revision to a specific ritual will be paramount to your success as it creates psychological anchors.
Also when building momentum, you must never break The Rule of Two. Life happens and we all waver in the face of constant temptation but if you miss a study session, make sure you get immediately back on track the next day, and never skip two sessions in a row. Two missed sessions can easily become twenty and before you know it, your eight weeks become four.
Once you manage to get into the momentum state, you’ll find that for those eight, twelve or sixteen weeks nothing else matters. If you remember the very realistic alternative, building momentum is not extreme at all. Instead, it is the way.
If you enjoyed this article make sure you get your own copy of my MRCP Part 1 & 2 Written Guide. In this guide, I explore the above and other concepts such as time allocation and the most preferable resources for the written exams in much more detail.
Alternatively, if you’ve passed the written exams then How to Pass MRCP PACES in 8 Weeks will take you through your next and final hurdle. The reason an entire new guide has been written about this mammoth clinical exam reflects the different skills and attitude you need when tackling MRCP PACES. Instead of simply relying on reading textbooks, you’ll need to utilise a concept called the PACES Triangle to successfully navigate the examiners’ obstacles.