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SBA and EMQ general instructions

Instructions for completing the single best answer (SBA) questions and extended matching questions (EMQs) for the Part 2 MRCOG exam

General instructions

Answer sheets

The papers are marked by a computerised document reading machine.

Answers should be entered as instructed on the answer sheet

The SBA answers (Q1-50) should be entered on the front of the sheet, and the EMQ answers (Q51-100) entered on the reverse of the sheet.

You must only use the HB grade pencil provided for completing all parts of the answer sheets.

Pens must not be used for any part of these two papers.

Bold, dark marks that completely fill each lozenge are required.

Faint lines will not be read by the document reading machine.

You may erase any pencil mark by using the eraser provided. The answer sheet must not be folded, creased or torn. Please print your name as stated on your entrance ticket at the top of the answer sheet and write your candidate number (not your desk number) in the boxes provided. Then black out the lozenges corresponding to your candidate number. See the following example:

Exam instructions

The SBA and EMQ questions are contained within the same booklet. Candidates are advised to spend 70 minutes on the SBA questions, and the remainder of the time on the EMQ questions.

At the end of the examination, insert the completed answer sheet inside the front cover of the question booklet.

Front cover: On the front cover of the question book please print your name in the boxes provided and then sign your name in the space marked 'signature'. Your candidate number must be written in the four squares provided.

Single best answer (SBA) questions (Q1-50)

Answering the questions

The answer sheet is numbered 1-50 and against each number there are five lozenges labelled from A to E.

Each question in the question booklet will consist of a clinical scenario followed by a lead-in question, and then a list of five options (labelled A to E).

Indicate your judgment of each particular question by boldly blacking out the letter that corresponds to the single best answer in the option list.

Candidates may mark their responses in the question book and then transfer these to the answer sheet.

Please be aware that this will take longer, and all transfers must be done fully within the time allowed for the examination.

The option list will nearly always be in alphabetical or numerical order for ease of reference; if not, they will be in the most appropriate order for quick reference.

The most important element of the format is that you must select the single answer that best fits. You may feel that there are several possible answers, but you must choose only the most likely one from the option list.

Specimen answer sheet

A portion of a completed answer sheet may look like this:

Exam instructions

Marking

Incorrect answers are not penalised.

It is in your best interests to ensure that for each of the 50 answers, one lozenge is filled in by the end of the examination.

If you mark two or more boxes on the same question, no mark will be awarded, even if one of the answers you choose is the correct one.

Please ensure you clearly and fully erase any mistakes.

Specimen SBA question and answer

A 30-year-old woman presents to the infertility clinic with primary infertility and dysmenorrhoea and is found on ultrasound to have a 6 cm endometrioma in the left ovary.

What is the most appropriate initial management?

A. Gonadotrophin releasing hormone agonist for six months
B. In-vitro fertilisation
C. Intrauterine insemination
D. Laparoscopic drainage of the endometrioma
E. Laparoscopic excision of the endometrioma

Correct answer: E

Further sample SBA questions can be found here

Extended matching questions (EMQ) (Q51-100)

Answering the questions

The reverse side of each answer sheet is numbered 51-100 and against each number there are twenty lozenges labelled from A to T.

Each question in the question booklet will consist of an option list (lettered to reflect the answer sheet), a lead-in statement (which tells you clearly what to do),and then a list of between one and five questions (each numbered, again to match the answer sheet).

Indicate your judgment of each particular question by boldly blacking out the letter that corresponds to the single best answer in the option list.

Candidates may mark their responses in the question book and then transfer these to the answer sheet.

Please be aware that this will take longer and all transfers must be done fully within the time allowed for the examination.

Although the answer sheet will provide 20 possible answers, the option lists for questions may not use all of these. Most option lists will provide 10 to 14 answer options. The option lists will nearly always be in alphabetical or numerical order for ease of reference; if not, they will be in the most appropriate order for quick reference.

The most important element of the format is that you must select the single answer that best fits. You may feel that there are several possible answers, but you must choose only the most likely one from the option list.

Specimen answer sheet

A portion of a completed answer sheet may look like this:

EMQ instructions

Marking

Incorrect answers are not penalised.

It is in your best interests to ensure that for each of the 50 answers, one lozenge is filled in by the end of the examination.

If you mark two or more boxes on the same question, no mark will be awarded, even if one of the answers you choose is the correct one.

Please ensure that any mistakes are clearly and fully erased. 

Specimen EMQs

Sample EMQs can be found here

Division of marks

There is no separate pass mark for the SBA and EMQ questions. Instead, there is a combined pass mark, which is determined by standard-setting each examination.

The SBA component contributes towards 40% of the overall mark and the EMQ component contributes towards 60% of the overall mark. We therefore advise candidates to allocate approximately 40% of their time to the SBA component and approximately 60% of their time to the EMQ component.

Division of written section marks

Paper 1Paper 2

Standard setting

Our well-established standard setting procedure ensures that the difficulty of each examination is taken into account and is not linked to a set pass mark or rate. A different pass mark is used for each examination, depending on the difficulty of that examination. It is therefore also not possible to publish the pass mark for the written section in advance of the examination. This is a complex process, which involves assessing the questions individually for their difficulty.

The aim of standard setting is to improve the fairness and validity of the examination process, and to set levels of competence for success in the examination. The use of these methods bears no relationship whatsoever to the percentage of candidates who will succeed in the Part 2 written examination, or to any other external factors.

Elsewhere on the site

Specialty training in O&G
Overview of the specialty training programme in obstetrics and gynaecology, including how the MRCOG exams fit in
Curriculum
The full specialty training programme in O&G – core modules, ultrasound, ATSMs, subspecialty and academic