How to nail the ARCP

You’ve heard your consultants tell you that the ARCP isn’t about ‘passing’ or ‘failing’, that they aren’t looking to ‘catch you out’, but there is a lot of stuff to get ready, and it can often feel like the ARCP meeting is a bit of a grilling.

nailedThey key to passing the ED ARCP is preparation, from my limited understanding the Anaesthetic ARCP is like a group hug.

Your deanery will have hidden a document which has a list of ‘competencies’ you need to prove you’ve achieved.  Get hold of this (it’s normally stuck on the deanery website somewhere).  Look at it in the first few weeks of your placement.

You need to register with the college to access the eportfolio.  This is expensive (£90 or thereabouts each year), but you can phone up and do it.  The people at the college are pretty quick at doing this most of the time.

Now that you’ve got that document and the eportfolio you can capture assessments whenever the opportunity arises.  Get assessments filled in as soon as you’ve done whatever it is you’ve been assessed on, the web forms take a few minutes to fill in.

I also annotate the document from the deanery whenever I got a CEX/CBD etc thats relevant, and I upload it to my portfolio as a guide.

It’s also good to keep a list of all of the interesting cases you see while you are just working normally.  These cases should be used for CBDs.

Your ARCP assessors have to go through 30-40 of these eportfolios each year, the easier you make it for them, the easier it is for you to get an outcome 1.  The other thing to do is to link assessments together, and link them to the curriculum part of the eportfolio.  It’s important to do this as you go.  If you are struggling to get access to cases that you need to ‘tick off’ then the earlier you can identify them, the earlier you can flag it with your supervisor and they can do something about it (cherry pick, simulate, or CBD it!).

So just to summarize:

  • Prepare, as soon as possible get eportfolio and ‘how to pass’ document.
  • Add things to your eportfolio as they happen
  • Link the heck out of things
  • Annotate your how to pass document with every piece of evidence you get.
  • Identify gaps early, and get help to fill them!

On ARCP day:

  • The dress code is ‘job interview’
  • Take a paper copy of your ‘how to pass document’, if the assessors have not been able to find things, and you can tell them exactly where your evidence is, you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Here is the document I made for my CT3 ARCP,  – ARCP, make your own.

Good Luck!


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