Mailing List Update

The mailing list has had to be retired as it became impossible to administer because of the number of defunct addresses. Instead, please use the RSS feeds (link below).

I would suggest that you subscribe to the RSS Feed for course updates.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 19:33

Latest MRCPsych Website Updates

Subscribe to the feed: Subscribe to RSS Feed

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 19:33 Start here for the MRCPsych Exam is a free resource for psychiatry trainees who are studying for their membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The site offers notes for the exams, advice on the Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) Exam, more OSCEs than any other web resource, MCQs, PMPs, and the most complete listing of MRCPsych courses on the web.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 19:33

New website! (updated Jan '14)

The site has been completely rebuilt and old content is being transferred, albeit slowly since it all takes time. Some old content (such as books) may not make it. Some of the MCQs haven't been converted yet. However, the good news is that the new site has additional functionality, such as RSS feeds.

Please let me know if there are any broken links or missing content. You can still access the old site here if you still need something. For example, the MCQs for Papers 2 and 3 can only be found on the old site at Please tell me if there's stuff on the old site that you'd like to see on the new site.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 19:32

Trickcyclists is now on twitter!

You can now follow trickcyclists on twitter via @trickcyclists. Hopefully some updates and changes to course details will be posted on twitter.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 19:32

RSS Feeds

RSS feeds provide an easy way to get constant updates on new information. To ensure you have access to the latest information, RSS feeds are the preferred option. The following feeds are available - click on the 'RSS' icon to subscribe:

MRCPsych Course Updates: Subscribe to RSS Feed

MRCPsych Website Updates: Subscribe to RSS Feed

Trickcyclists Mailing List

Unfortunately, the mailing list became so full of old email addresses that it was impossible to administer and my webhosting company thought I was spamming because of the the number of emails bouncing back.  I have therefore decided to retire the list and encourage everyone to use the RSS feeds above.

Please read the Privacy Policy to understand how any data collected will be used.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 19:14

Latest Course Updates

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Last Updated on Saturday, 22 March 2014 15:04

Frequently-Asked Questions

Why is it called 'Trickcyclists'?

'Trickcyclists' is a (American) euphemism for psychiatrists. It seems that it isn't particularly common in the UK (not many people have heard of it), but hey, I liked the name so decided to stick with it.

Do you get money for this site?

No, it's a labour of love. The site is not supported by any kind of external sponsorship whatsoever. I don't have a merchanising line to support my endeavours, so I rely on positive feedback from people who have found the site useful.

Why is it free?

For a number of reasons:

  1. Knowledge has zero transaction value.
  2. See number one. That's it.

Do you have any connection with the Royal College of Psychiatrists?

No, not with the examinations side of things. I am an elected member of the Executive Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and I'm also the Academic Co-Secretary of the Faculty of General Adult Psychiatry. Like most psychiatrists, I pay my College subscriptions for the privilege of using the initials 'MRCPsych' but that's it.

What experience do you have with OSCEs?

I have sat OSCE exams as part of my undergraduate training (!). I have taught using OSCEs on our local postgraduate training scheme, and we use the OSCE format extensively for our trainees. I also help examine undergraduates at Dundee using the OSCE, and have been a site supervisor for the OSCE examinations. I have also taken part in the PREP Dublin OSCE course (now defunct).

Are the answers/ marking sheets those used by the Royal College?

As far as I can tell, no. The college have elected to use a much less objective marking scheme where candidates are graded A-E. Purists will argue that this is not really an OSCE, since a valuable degree of objectivity is lost. The pass mark for the overall MRCPsych OSCE or each station is as transparent as thick mud, and although the marks are weighted, even the examiners don't know how the weighting is calculated.

The format used on the site is closer to that used by North American colleges. It is truly objective in the sense that if you perform a specific task, you get a mark (or two). It is possible to calculate the pass mark for each station, as well as the overall pass mark for the OSCE exam. How this is done is on the page about organising local exams.

How is the OSCE exam marked?

From speaking to examiners, the Royal College continues to use 'normative-based' assessment (NBA), whereby a specific number of candidates will pass depending on the overall performance of the whole. This means that around 80% (or whatever the figure is) are going to pass whatever. Cynics would argue that this is essential in order for the Royal College to maintain their revenue stream from the exams.

The shift in assessment in recent years has been towards 'criterion-based' assessment (CBA) where candidates are marked according to whether they meet specific criteria which have been agreed beforehand. You can get an overview of the differences between the two at this page at the University of Toronto. This is arguably a much fairer way of determining the skills of the candidates. You could score 95% on the exam under NBA and still fail if 80% of people get 98%. The College really have to sort this out, in my humble opinion.

Examiners have intimated that the Royal College is looking into how the OSCEs are marked, and to be fair, they are endeavouring to introduce a new format to the exam system. Hopefully, in a few years time all of these teething problems and inconsistencies will have been resolved.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 00:49

"While we are committed to accessibility, we are aware, and regret, that the website does not comply with many WCAG/508 requirements, nor does it currently validate with XHTML 1.0 Transitional.  The site is Joomla based, and as such, will be compliant when Joomla meets requirements."

The Joomla Accessibility Statement has more information.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 June 2013 17:13

Privacy Policy

Cookies website does not use cookies to monitor usage. Cookies are used by the Content Management System (Joomla) to enable enhanced features of the site.

Web logs

The following information is recorded automatically by the server, but note that the information cannot identify you personally:

  1. The IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are using the Internet) from which you access our Web site;
  2. The type of browser and operating system used to access the website;
  3. The date and time you access the website;
  4. The pages you visit; and
  5. If you visited the website from a link on another website, the address of the 'referring' website.

An excerpt from the log is as follows: - - [17/Jul/2002:23:55:02 +0200] "GET /trickcyclists/index.htm
HTTP/1.1" 301 253 
"Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; tiscali)" "-"

Only the webmaster (David Christmas) has access to this information and it is used for site development and determining usage.

Email addresses

By subscribing to the mailing list, you agree to allowing (David Christmas) storing your email address, and sending you emails about updates to the site, and information about new or updated OSCE questions. The mailing list runs as a script on the server and email addresses are held on the server. Backups of the subscriber list are made periodically. A username and password is required to access this information.

Any subscription to the mailing list can be cancelled at any time (every message contains an opt-out link), and your email address will be deleted from the list automatically. It will not be retained for any reason after you have unsubscribed.


For any questions or queries regarding this policy, please contact me.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 June 2013 17:02

Terms and Conditions

What you can do:

  1. Use the material on the website for personal learning, training, and teaching purposes.
  2. Use the OSCE questions/ MCQs/ PMPs within local training schemes free-of-charge, and without restriction. Please acknowledge the source of the material if you use it.
  3. Download the material, and store it on your own computer.
  4. Print out hard copies for your own personal use. You may print multiple copies for study groups or small groups of colleagues.
  5. Reproduce elements of the website (e.g. MCQ questions) for teaching. i.e. you may include them in handouts or presentations. Please ensure that you acknowledge the source, however.

What you *cannot* do:

  1. Modify any of the material without prior consent of David Christmas.
  2. Duplicate or reproduce any of the site contents on any other website or published work without permission from David Christmas.
  3. Remove the copyright notice and authorship information from documents.
  4. Use any of the site content for purposes that generate a profit, or which involves others paying for a service. i.e. you are not permitted to use the OSCEs for your own OSCE course for which you charge a fee.
  5. Commercial reproduction is not allowed under any circumstances. If you do wish to reproduce any site content that is not permitted by these terms and conditions, please email me.

Additional Information

Usage of any content from this site implies that you have read, and agree to abide with, these Terms and Conditions.

Please note that because you can use this material for the specific uses outlined above, it is not Public Domain.

If you are in any doubt about what you can and can't do, please email me.

Since the quality of the OSCEs, and notes depends on feedback, you are kindly asked to send feedback to the author if you are using any of the material from the website.

All material, unless indicated otherwise, is Copyright © 2013 by David Christmas. All rights reserved.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 June 2013 00:15


By reading, and using these MRCPsych notes, excerpts from the British National Formulary, OSCE questions, MCQs, and software, you acknowledge that:

  1. There may be typographic errors in the webpages, or in the text of the MS Word documents, and that the author is not responsible for any harm that may arise from someone acting on such information.
  2. I should not have to remind prescribers that all drug doses should be checked before prescribing and I cannot be blamed if an incorrect dose results in you getting into trouble. Remember - you hold the sole responsibility for any drug that you prescribe.
  3. The notes are presented 'as is'. There is no guarantee that the advice is current (although it is reasonably up to date) and should not be seen as recommendation for specific treatment. The information contained herein is not a textbook per se and you should not follow any treatment advice without consulting a more authorative text.
  4. All this information is provided free, and although I hope that it is useful for those studying for MRCPsych exams, the author can accept no responsibility for failing the exam! All advice given on the website is just that - advice - and readers are advised to make their own minds up about using information from the site.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 June 2013 00:12


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