Internal Medicine

The FCP Part 1 Examination



The examination consists of a single three-hour MCQ paper, comprising 150 questions, each of the choose-one-best-answer-of five format. There is negative marking as follows: answer correct = 1 mark; answer wrong=1/4 mark.
An example is given here:

  1. Connexin is an important component of which of the following components of the neuromuscular system?

    gap junction
    b)  microcrotubule|
    c)   sarcolemma
    d) sarcoplasmic reticulum
    e)   synaptic vesicle

You are required to choose only the most correct answer.

Your learning should be guided by the FCP Part 1 core syllabus, as the examination strictly follows this syllabus. Click here to access the Part 1 syllabus (the relevant material extracted from the College syllabus).

A count of the official Part 1 syllabus reveals 369 topics!! If one attempt to cover these at a rate of one heading per week, one would cover just 24 in 6 months, i.e. only 6% of the subject material. Clearly this is not the way to go. Our candidates need to cover the syllabus at the rate of 15 topics per week over 6 months, or 8 topics per week over 12 months.


The examination is strictly based on the information contained in the following textbooks. For the purposes of exam preparation, you should confine your studying to these resources:

Anatomy, physiology and cell biology

  • Ganong WF. Review of Medical Physiology. Lange Medical Books.
  • McPhee SJ, Ganong WF. Pathophysiology of disease. Lange Medical Books. N.B. You need only study those parts of this book which cover anatomy and physiology. Those parts covering pathophysiology-where actual diseases are discussed-are not examinable.
  • Kumar P, Clark M. Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine. Elsevier. N.B.You need to cover the basic sciences at the start of each chapter, as well as general introductory chapters such as cell biology and genetics.


  • Harris M, Taylor G. Medical and health statistics made easy. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.


  • Evan J. Begg. Instant Clinical Pharmacology. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 

Additional material

  • Gibbon, CJ. South African Medicines Formulary (SAMF). South African Medical Association. Know the general principles on prescribing in different contexts.
  • Sackett, DL et al. Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM. Churchill Livingstone. Understand the broad principles only.


You are advised to set up a study programme for yourself along the following lines.

Self-directed Learning

Draw up a study programme covering the syllabus  over a period of approximately 6 months and work to this. 

Informal Group Learning

Constitute an informal study group and support each other’s learning. 


The Department has done away with formal tutorials. The syllabus is so extensive that we cannot touch on more than a handful of topics in the course of weekly tutorials, and all the evidence is that they are no substitute for intensive self-directed learning. We will however provide ad-hoc tutorials on how to learn and how to write the exam.

Mock MCQs

Two mock MCQs will be held before each Part 1 exam. These are informal and slf-marked. They are very important in terms of allowing you to gauge your progress and in gaining exam-writing experience.