Passing MRCP Parts 1 and 2 Written – The Pomodoro Technique

Fruit or Vegetable?

The Pomodoro technique is an interesting study tool you should keep in your arsenal when facing the MRCP written exams. Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, it’s one of the most popular ways out there for maintaining focus for relatively long periods of time.

Reason I mention this is because one of the most common reasons for not doing so well in MRCP is often the inability to focus. Juggling long shifts, social lives and studying for MRCP is very stressful and we need to control this as much as possible.

How do I use the technique?

Maintaining focus is paramount to anything you want to achieve so once you clear these exams hopefully you’ll continue harnessing the power of the tomato years later.

The process is relatively straightforward – every 30 minutes is one Pomodoro. Further subdivide this into a focused 25 minute study session followed by a 5 minute rest period and ensure you time yourself on your phone or alarm clock.

Once you’ve successfully completed this give yourself a “tick” on a piece of paper. Congratulations, you’ve earned yourself your first tomato!

After accruing 4 ticks you’ve essentially studied for a full 100 minutes. But more importantly I feel that these are high quality minutes rather than the wasted ones spent looking outside the window or daydreaming whilst chewing your pen. You know what I mean!

If you own a smartphone there are numerous apps out there that will help track your Pomodoros for you making the process even more seamless.

How will it help you?

The Pomodoro technique attempts to divide seemingly impossible tasks such as MRCP into smaller more easily digestible chunks. By setting a timer, there is a time pressure hopefully ensuring we don’t lie to ourselves and end up overestimating our time spent studying.

As with all the MRCP study tips here they’re only tools at your disposal and the hard work still has to be done by the tool-user. But done correctly, this potentially takes your studying to a new level.

What if I don’t have 30 minutes?

Kind of like a football match that takes 90 minutes, half an hour is a really arbitrary number. There’s nothing stopping you from creating your own tiny tomato and opting for an even smaller time chunk such as ten minutes. If you can fit ten minutes on the train each day for a couple of months, that adds up to a lot of minutes!

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.