The College offers two types of examinations: the Membership Examination (MRCPCH) and the Diploma in Child Health (DCH).

On this page:

MRCPCH examination 

The MRCPCH examination is for the diploma of Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. It is usually taken during the period of basic specialist training, which normally lasts two to three years, and is the normal entry requirement for Core Specialist Training in paediatrics.  

The MRCPCH consists of three theory (written) exams and one clinical exam:

  1. MRCPCH Foundation of Practice - theory exam
  2. MRCPCH Theory and Science theory - theory exam
  3. MRCPCH Applied Knowledge in Practice - theory exam
  4. MRCPCH Clinical exam

Each of the three theory examinations can be taken in any order and are non sequential. The clinical examination is taken last. There are usually three sittings of each examination per year.

Before applying for any examination please read:

DCH examination

The Dipoma in Child Health is designed to give recognition of competence in the care of children to:

  • general practitioner vocational trainees 
  • staff grades in paediatrics 
  • trainees in specialties allied to paediatrics

The DCH Examination consists of two parts:

The FOP must be passed before candidates can sit the DCH Clinical Examination. 

Online registrations and applications

The online application system is able to accept applications from candidates, both new entrants and re-entrants, wishing to sit any of their theory (written) examinations or DCH Clinical examinations held in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Overseas.

All candidates must apply for all of their theory and DCH Clinical examinations online. Paper applications are no longer be accepted. 

The College is currently working on the next phase of development for the online application system to include the MRCPCH Clinical examination (UK and overseas). Once completed all MRCPCH Clinical candidates will be directed to submit applications online. Further details for implementation will be provided in October 2014.

How to register and apply for exams

Further information for UK and Republic of Ireland trainees

All paediatric specialty trainees who are in GMC-approved training posts are required to be registered with the RCPCH as set out in the Gold Guide (A Reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK and Republic of Ireland).

This is because the College has a duty to review the progress of trainees and support where required, and also to ensure that eligible trainees can be recommended to the GMC for the consideration of award of CCT or CESR at the end of their specialty training.

Registered trainees will be given access to online assessment tools, ASSET and ePortfolio. Further resources: EEsEs

General information


We are currently dealing with about 7,000 attempts per year for MRCPCH Foundation of Practice and MRCPCH Theory and Science; about 2,100 candidates attempt the MRCPCH Applied Knowledge in Practice. There are over 1,500 candidates for MRCPCH Clinical and about 500 candidates for the DCH.

Further information

College examinations are held overseas as well as in the United Kingdom. A number of overseas countries ally their standards to those of the UK and Republic of Ireland by using the MRCPCH as part of their own paediatric training programme.

The College is committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for its examinations. The MRCPCH Clinical has been substantially remodelled to more accurately assess the competencies of paediatric trainees and to conform to the highest standards of assessment and medical education.

In order to maintain this position, the Education & Training Division rigorously quality assures all of its processes and actively engages in research and ongoing development work to ensure the pre-eminence of the MRCPCH.