Timing of the written and practical/clinical examination
Medically trained candidates will normally sit the written and practical/clinical part of the Part 2 examination after at least three years’ higher specialist training.
Non-medically trained candidates must be state-registered and normally have at least four years’ experience in a clinical virology laboratory recognised for higher specialist training.
The number of attempts that a candidate can make will be determined by normal College regulations.
The written examination and OSPACE components of the Part 2 examination will be held together. Candidates must apply for and attempt both components in the same session. Candidates will not be able to sit either component at any overseas centre.
Format of the written examination
The Part 2 examination includes a formal written examination, which comprises:
Paper 1 Section A (90 mins): Long essays. Two compulsory questions, one on a clinical virology topic and one (out of a choice of two) on a management issue relevant to Medical Virology practice.
Paper 1 Section B (90 mins): Short Answer Questions. Nine compulsory short answer questions with topics from the curriculum.
Paper 2 (120 mins): Critical review of papers. A choice of 2 out of 3 published papers for candidates to review, covering clinical, laboratory and epidemiological aspects of virology.
Questions will include understanding of study design and methodologies, study objectives, data interpretation and understanding of the correct use of statistics, awareness of limitations, potential bias and confounding factors and the implications of the findings of the papers.
Format of the Objective Structured Practical and Clinical Examination (OSPACE)
The OSPACE will take place over one day. It comprises:
Section 1: Short stations. Around 90 minutes.
OSPACE Section 1 will comprise 15 questions, grouped into 3 sections, typically lasting around 30 minutes per section.
Objectives: Assessment of clinical and laboratory knowledge, diagnostic skill, data interpretation, ability to trouble-shoot and understanding of quality control
Section 2: Extended stations. Around 3 hours.
OSPACE Section 2 will comprise four 30-minute practical questions (may be further sub-divided) and four 15-minute face-to-face verbal questions (1 minute to consider the scenario, 10 minutes verbal examination, 4 minutes change over).
Objectives: Assessment of practical skill, laboratory safety, clinical management skill, communication skill with clinical team and with patients and problem solving skill in laboratory and clinical settings.
Optional modules in virology
The optional modules in the virology curriculum will not be assessed as a part of the Part 2 examination portfolio.
In the old curriculum, a candidate had to satisfactorily complete a set of written assignments in the form of a portfolio in order to be allowed to sit the Part 2 examination. In the new curricula, workplace-based assessment has replaced the portfolio for the new Part 2 examination. The ‘Understanding research and development in virology’ module is assessed in the new written paper 2.