The Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) is used as part of the Specialty Training (ST) recruitment process by a wide range of specialities. To support your MSRA preparation, this guide provides information on the structure of the exam and how to prepare, as well as example MSRA practice questions.
For more details relating to the specialties which currently require completion of the MSRA, as well as information about exam dates, how the MSRA is scored and tips on how to do well, visit our MSRA: Complete Guide 2021.
Structure of MSRA
Based on the Foundation Programme curriculum, the MSRA is designed to assess essential competencies and your ability to apply your knowledge to clinical decisions.
The MSRA is separated into the following two parts:
- Professional Dilemmas Paper
- Duration: 95 minutes
- Number of questions: 50 scenarios – 42 of which contribute to your final score and 8 which are pilot questions
- Format of questions: the paper is formatted into two parts –
- Part 1 Ranking – For these scenarios you need to judge the appropriateness of actions in response to the situation and rank them in order, from most to least appropriate.
- Part 2 Multiple Choice – For each scenario you will be given eight plausible actions and be required to select the three most appropriate, when used in unison, to fully resolve the situation.
- Assessment area: The paper assesses your professional attributes, behaviours and judgements in relation to clinical scenarios. Focusing on areas such as professional integrity, coping with pressure, and empathy and sensitivity.
- Clinical Problem Solving Paper
- Duration: 75 minutes
- Number of questions: 97 questions – 86 of which contribute to your final score and 11 which are pilot questions
- Format of questions: There are two different types of questions, making up roughly half of the questions each –
- Extended Matching Questions – You’ll be given a set of responses and need to identify the most appropriate option in relation to multiple, independent scenarios.
- Single Best Answers – You’ll be given a set of responses and need to identify the most appropriate option for a single scenario.
- Assessment area: The paper assesses your ability to apply your clinical knowledge, judgement and problem solving skills to make appropriate clinical decisions. Focusing on the following core competencies: diagnosis, investigation, emergency care, prescribing and management (non-prescribing).
Check out our MSRA: Complete Guide 2021 for more information on each of the MSRA papers and what’s assessed. The practice question section below also provides further details on the topics covered in the Clinical Problem Solving Paper scenarios.
How to prepare for the MSRA
It’s essential that you identify what’s required for both the Professional Dilemmas and Clinical Problem Solving papers and allocate enough time to adequately prepare for them. As mentioned previously, our MSRA guide provides a comprehensive overview of what’s expected in each section of the MSRA, and is a useful reference point for all your MSRA queries.
As the Professional Dilemmas paper focuses on assessing your professional attributes and behaviours, revisiting the General Medical Council’s (GMC’s) good medical practice guidance and generic professional capabilities framework may be useful in your MSRA preparations. Likewise, the Clinical Problem Solving paper assesses your ability to apply your clinical knowledge and problem solving skills to clinical scenarios, and therefore some direct revision of clinical theory may be required. However, for each the focus is on applying this knowledge and skills, and making sound judgements in relation to clinical scenarios; as such, dedicating time to practice questions and mock exams will be invaluable, as these provide the opportunity to explore the types of scenarios and questions you’ll encounter during the MSRA exam.
While many may advise dedicating as much time as possible to your preparations, in order to do well in an exam, in fact making the most effective use of your revision time will have a more significant impact than simply allocating more time to it. With the added challenge of preparing for the MSRA while working a full-time job, it’s essential that you focus on effective use of practice questions, rather than aimlessly completing as many questions as you can in the time you have available.
Our adaptive MSRA question bank uses state-of-the-art algorithms to automatically identify your strengths and weaknesses, personalising your learning to ensure you focus on the topics which will have the biggest impact on your MSRA preparations, and ultimately your exam score. By ensuring that you’re asked the right questions at the right time, and spending more time mastering the topics that you need to focus on, you’ll make the most effective use of your valuable revision time. To access thousands of professional written MSRA questions and take your exam preparations to the next level, visit our MSRA question bank and start preparing for the MSRA more efficiently.
This section provides examples of the type of questions you’ll experience in each section of the MSRA. You can also find more information about MSRA preparation and practice questions in our ‘MSRA Question Bank’ and ‘MSRA Exam Revision’ blogs.
Professional Dilemmas Practice Questions
As highlighted in the structure section, the Professional Dilemmas paper contains two types of questions: ranking and multiple choice.
With ranking questions, you’ll be presented with a scenario and possible actions, from which you need to judge the appropriateness of these responses. You’ll be required to rank each action in order from the most appropriate (1) to the least appropriate (5) in relation to the scenario given.
Multiple choice questions
For the multiple choice questions, you’ll be presented with a scenario and eight plausible actions, from which you need to judge the most appropriate responses to the situation given. You’ll be required to select three options that, when combined, give the most appropriate response to the scenario.
Clinical Problem Solving Practice Questions
As mentioned previously, the Clinical Problem Solving paper contains two types of questions: extended matching questions and single best answer questions. For both, you’ll be presented with a set of responses and asked to judge which is the most appropriate in relation to a given scenario. The difference being, for the extended matching questions, these same responses must be judged against multiple, independent scenarios; whereas, for the single best answer questions, the given responses are only judged against a single scenario.
Scenarios in the Clinical Problem Solving paper cover the following topics:
- Dermatology / ENT / Eyes
- Endocrinology / Metabolic
- Gastroenterology / Nutrition
- Infectious Disease / Haematology / Immunology / Allergies / Genetics
- Psychiatry / Neurology
- Renal / Urology
In the examples below you’ll see a mixture of extended matching questions and single best answer questions, across the various topic areas.