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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Passing the ARCP: Successful Portfolio-Based Learning

Samuel P Dearman, Adam B Joiner, Samantha Abbott and Damien Longson

Price: £15.00

Members' discount available

Published: Apr 2014

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 80

ISBN: 9781909726208

Passing the ARCP:  Successful Portfolio-Based Learning

Medical trainees must maintain a portfolio which provides evidence that they have met the competencies required by the curriculum. This is presented as part of the annual review of competence progression (ARCP) which each trainee must pass in order to move up to the next year of training.


Planning and maintaining a portfolio involves a lot of work and can be a source of anxiety and uncertainty for many trainees. One of the difficulties is that there is no ‘right’ way to demonstrate competence, or to produce the portfolio. Here, the head of a school of psychiatry and the medical education manager from a deanery describe how they use the information presented to them to judge whether or not a trainee is making adequate progress.


The book includes:

  • How to ‘evidence’ competencies
  • Worked examples of portfolio evidence, good and bad
  • Guidance on how to write reflectively, in a relevant way
  • Instruction on how learning can be achieved from daily experiences
  • How to get the most out of your training, without getting anxious about it.

This book offers clear and simple guidance to help trainees pass their ARCP. Although there is a focus on psychiatry, it will aid any medical trainee undertaking specialty training and provide a useful reference for trainers and educational supervisors.


Readership: All medical trainees (both core, CT1-3, and higher, ST4-6,  trainees) and their trainers/assessors.

About the authors:

Dr Samuel P. Dearman - Consultant Psychiatrist and Director of Medical Education, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Adam B. Joiner – General Adult Psychiatry Trainee (ST5), Prestwich Hospital, Manchester.
Samantha Abbott - Medical Education Manager, North Western Deanery School of Psychiatry (covers Cheshire to Cumbria).
Dr Damien Longson - Head of School, North Western Deanery School of Psychiatry and Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Manchester Royal Infirmary.


  1. Quick reference guide
  2. What is a portfolio?
  3. Lessons learnt so far
  4. Organising the portfolio
  5. Managing your workplace-based assessments
  6. Reflective notes and self-appraisal of learning
  7. Audit and research
  8. Teaching
  9. Psychotherapy experience
  10. Management and leadership experience
  11. Appraisal reports, planning meetings and educational objectives
  12. Other experiences, achievements and documents
  13. The future of portfolios
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See also:

Other books for psychiatric trainees