MRCPCH Clinical - FAQs

Frequently asked questions for the MRCPCH Clinical examination - including the aim and format, candidate eligibility, applying for the examination, sitting the examination and receiving results.

Assessment

Eligibility

Applications

Q: How long does it take to process my application?
Q: What is waitlisting and how does it affect my seven-year registration period?
Q: If I am waitlisted what must I do?
Q: If I am waitlisted and contacted regarding a place but am unable to take that place up, will I still get my seven-year period extended?
Q: Do I need to send qualifications or proof of qualifications with my application?
Q: Is there a minimum standard of English language proficiency required to pass the exam and if so what is it?
Q: What if I do not have anyone who fits the criteria for the proposers?
Q: Can I re-use the testimonial from a previous application?
Q: What if I have recently changed my name?
Q: What are the fees for UK and overseas?
Q: How can I pay? Can I pay by credit card or debit card?
Q: I have submitted my application but my details have changed, what do I do?

The examination

Results

Courses

Q: What is the aim of the Clinical exam?

A:The aim of this examination is to assess whether candidates have reached the standard in clinical skills expected of someone entering their period of core specialist training (ST4).

Candidates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in: 

  • Child development
  • Communication
  • History-taking and management planning
  • Establishing rapport with both parents and children
  • Physical examination
  • Clinical judgement
  • Organisation of thoughts and actions
  • Recognition of acute illness
  • Knowledge of paediatrics and child health
  • Professional behaviour
  • Ethical practice 

What is the format of the Clinical exam?

A:The basic examination circuit is represented in MRCPCH Clinical Circuit Diagram (PDF, Page 15KB)

  • 1 Examiner per station, none for clinical video scenario stations
  • 10 Examiners for the circuit, 1 additional examiner for back up / quality assurance
  • Candidates join at each station of the circuit making 12 total per circuit 
  • 2 candidates at the History Taking & Management Planning station & 2 at the Clinical Video Scenario station at any one time.
  • In total there are 10 objective assessments per candidate
  • The History-taking & Management Planning stations and the Clinical Video Scenario stations are 22 minutes in length, with the other 8 stations being of 9 minutes duration.
  • There are 4-minute breaks between each station with the entire circuit taking 152 minutes to complete.
  • The sequence in which a candidate takes the stations in the circuit will vary.

Q: What standard will I be marked against? 

A:"Anchor" statements outlining the grading of performances have been agreed for each station in the examination.  These outline the expected pass/ fail criteria for each station and provide examiners with guidance on how to mark you dependent on your performance in the station. 

See copies of the current anchor statements

Q: How is the Clinical exam marked?

A:At the end of each station the examiner will make an overall judgement as to whether or not the candidate's performance was:

  • 'Clear Pass' - given to any candidate who demonstrates the competency of a new Specialist Registrar. This includes candidates who have satisfied the requirements and those who excel. 
  • 'Pass' - given to candidates who have achieved the standard despite some minor failings.
  • 'Bare Fail' - implies that the candidate has made an unacceptable number of minor errors or performed in a way that is not satisfactory.
  • 'Clear Fail' - usually means a poor performance.
  • 'Unacceptable' - is uncommon, and given for unprofessional behaviour (rough handling of a child, rudeness, etc.) or for extremely poor performance.

The following marks will be awarded for each of the overall station judgments:

Clear Pass

Pass

Bare Fail

Clear Fail

Unacceptable

 12

 10

 8

 4

 0

  • Anchor statements outlining the expected general standard for each station are provided to all examiners in order to aid them reach their overall judgements.
  • A similar scale of marks will be awarded for the Clinical Video Scenarios Station.
  • There will be a total of 10 judgements. 
  • Candidates will fail if they do not obtain a total of 100 marks.

The final pass/fail mark can be raised or lowered by the Clinical Examinations Board.

If a candidate's behaviour is unprofessional, under these exceptional circumstances, the Senior Examiner may stop candidates from continuing with the examination. Unprofessional behaviour e.g. rough handling will result in the automatic awarding of an unacceptable mark.

Candidates will not fail on the basis of a single encounter (unless there is unprofessional behaviour of sufficient severity), but will be marked on an accumulation of marks.

Q: What does a deferment mean?

A:The Examinations Committee of the College has set the minimum acceptable score to pass the examination to be a score of 100 over the whole exam (reflecting an average of nine 'passes' and one 'bare fail' over the 10 stations).

Our analysis has shown when these candidates re-attempt the examination at a sitting immediately following a poor performance that their subsequent performance is still well below the standard expected. 

Based on the analysis of candidate performance in the Clinical exam Examinations Committee has agreed upon the following rules:

  • Candidates who score 70 or less (reflecting an average performance grade lower than 'bare fail' in every station) are required deferring from attempting the examination for the following two sittings. 
  • Candidates who scores are between 71 and 80 inclusive (reflecting an average performance grade of no better than 'bare fail' in every station) are required to defer from attempting the examination at the next available sitting. 

It is therefore strongly advised that candidates only apply to take the Clinical exam when they and their sponsor feel they are ready. Candidates who are required to defer application are advised to take this time to consider their feedback and gain more experience.

Score Action
100-120 Pass
0-70 Fail & defer application for two diets
71-80 Fail & defer application for one diet
81-99 Fail

Q: How do I request a reasonable adjustment to my exam? 

A: The additional requirements section on the online application form is only to be completed when candidates request adjustments to their examinations due to the following:

Medical conditions

Any medical condition/s that may require disabled access facilities, extra time allowance, extra items/materials to be arranged/confirmed with the test centre prior to the exam date.

It will be helpful if candidates can provide information/evidence supporting whether the condition is short or long term in order that arrangements can be made for future exams with the RCPCH.

Some medical conditions may not necessarily require adjustments, such as pregnancy. However, it is still important that we are made aware in case of an emergency.

Learning difficulties

The Examinations Team request that suitable evidence is provided in the form of a report from an approved assessor. This assessment needs to have been undertaken, and provided, in English and be obtained after the age of 16. The submitted document will ideally be the most recent assessment/report available. All relevant reports/other key additional evidence must be provided before we can grant adjustments for your examination.

You may have previously submitted supporting documents with regards to your reasonable adjustment request. However, we may ask, based on specific requests for adjustment, that a more current report is submitted in order that we can provide you with the most suitable adjustment.

How to request the adjustment

Please ensure that your report/evidence:

  • includes recommendations for examination
  • includes issuer’s contact details
  • is the most current record/report available.

*IMPORTANT* If content does not specifically relate to exam adjustment requests please leave Additional Requirements section of the online application form empty.

We ask that you submit an assessment report/other relevant evidence by post to the following address:

Examinations Administrator
<Exam Name>
RCPCH
5-11 Theobalds Road
LONDON WC1X 8SH

Scanned reports can also be emailed to examination.enquiries@rcpch.ac.uk. Please ensure to clearly identify the name and date of the examination within the email subject header before sending. 

Detailed requests for adjustment to examinations along with the relevant report/assessment evidence must be submitted to the Examinations Team no later than 7 weeks prior to the examination date applied for. Although all efforts will be made to accomodate requests supported by evidence late submission may reduce the likelihood of reasonable adjustment being granted for the exam.

Once your report is received the recommendations will be reviewed. Should it be possible to provide the requested adjustment/s arrangements will be made and the relevant exam centre will be informed.

Admission documents for candidates requiring reasonable adjustments may be sent later than the standard date, this is due to the fact that more time may be required to process in some cases.

Q: How many times can I sit the Clinical exam?

A:Candidates based in the UK have up to 6 attempts to pass the MRCPCH Clinical examination within their 7 year registration period . For futher details, please see Currency and number of attempts in MRCPCH Examinations (PDF).

MRCPCH Clinical candidates sitting the exam overseas currently have no restriction on number of attempts but must still pass within their 7 year registration period. The MRCPCH 7 year registration period begins as soon as the last of the MRCPCH theory exams are passed. From this point candidates have 7 years to pass their MRCPCH Clinical. If they exam is not passed within this 7 year period candidates must re-sit and pass the Applied Knowledge in Practice theory exam before they are elligible to re-attempt the MRCPCH Clinical.

Q: Can I sit the Clinical exam without successfully completing all of the theory components of the MRCPCH exam?

A:You cannot enter the Clinical exam without having first passed all of the theory components of the MRCPCH exam. 

Q: What are the Clinical exam entrance requirements?

A:Candidates must have held their primary medical qualification for at least 2 ½ years. Within a five-year period before the date of the examination, not less than 12 months should have been spent in posts involving the care of paediatric emergencies.

Applicants must have successfully completed all of the MRCPCH theory examinations, or valid exempting exams, within the last seven years. Please note that the MRCP(I) Part 1 examination no longer counts as an exempting exam from 1 January 2010. However, MRCP(I) exams passes prior to this date remain valid for exemption purposes.

 Q: Do I have to wait for the results of all of my theory examinations before applying for the Clinical?

A:All candidates wishing to apply for the Clinical exam will need to have received a confirmed pass in all of their theory exams before submitting in their Clinical application.

More about applying for MRCPCH Clinical

Q: How much paediatric training is required?

A:Within the 5 years prior to the Clinical exam, at least 1 year must have been spent training in acute paediatrics. A&E does count towards this as long as you have been dealing with children regularly.

The training does not need to be done in the UK or in any special teaching hospital but we advise that you have a good understanding of the UK health system before taking the exam.

 Q:  How long does it take to process my application?

A :Once the applications period is closed it will take about 4 weeks before we can inform you of where you will be sitting your exam, or if you have been waitlisted.

If your application has been found to be incomplete we will contact you as soon as we are able to resolve the situation to enable you to sit the exam.

Q: What is waitlisting and how does it affect my seven-year registration period?

A: Candidates applying to take the exam in the UK

Applications will be accepted dependent upon the number of places available. Consequently, applicants may have their applications rejected if sufficient places are not available. All candidates affected by these circumstances will have their seven-year MRCPCH registration period extended by one examination sitting and whenever possible be awarded priority status for the next exam. 

Places are allocated to candidates using the following criteria, in order:

  1. applications from candidates working in the UK that are at their career critical stage (Outcome 3 or 4 of the last ARCP - this must be confirmed by the Deanery) in order received
  2. priority applications from candidates working in the UK in order received
  3. other applications from candidates working in the UK in order received
  4. priority applications from candidates working overseas in order received
  5. other applications from candidates working overseas in order received

Details of candidates who are not initially allocated a place will be recorded on a waiting list for the relevant exam they have applied for, in order of application status. If any placed candidates withdraw or more places are made available, candidates on the waiting list will be contacted and offered these places, in order, up to the week before the examination.

Please note that being awarded priority status does not guarantee that you will be allocated a place for a particular exam sitting.

A: Candidates applying to take the exam overseas

Applications are accepted dependent upon the number of places available. Consequently, applicants may have their applications rejected if sufficient places are not available. All candidates affected by these circumstances will have their seven-year MRCPCH registration period extended by one examination sitting and be awarded priority status for the next exam. 

Places are allocated to candidates using the following criteria, in order:

  1. applications from candidates working and residing in the country where the exam is to be held, holding a priority waitlisting from a previous exam
  2. other applications from countries other than where the exam is to be held who are eligible to take the exam in that centre and hold a priority waitlisting from a previous exam applied for.
  3. new applications from candidates working and residing in the country where the exam is to be held
  4. other candidates who fit all general criteria in order of receipt of application if any places still remain 

NOTE: Final candidate lists for all overseas MRCPCH Clinical examinations are dependant on input from the relevant RCPCH overseas exam committee. The RCPCH Exams Team will consult the overseas exam organisers before finalising the candidate list for the relevant exam.

Whether you are waitlisted or not depends on the following:

  • the current diet you have applied for is oversubscribed
  • your application was eligible in the diet you applied for initially, i.e. within the seven-year period
  • you were not deferred in any previous sitting that meant you were ineligible to sit this exam
  • you had completed the application fully

Details of candidates who are not initially allocated a place will be recorded on a waiting list for the relevant exam they have applied for, in order of application status. If any placed candidates withdraw or more places are made available, candidates on the waiting list will be contacted and offered these places, in order, up to the week before the examination. 

Please note priority wait listing does not guarantee you a place at the next sitting, as other criteria will be considered by the RCPCH and the relevant overseas centre such as residency and place of work. 

Q: If I am waitlisted what must I do?

A: The RCPCH Exams Team will notify you of your waitlisted status and update your records to confirm this.  

  • You will be required to submit a new application in time for the next application opening date.
  • For overseas candidates paying by cheque or bank draft wishing to submit the same cheque/bank draft, please make sure that it will still be valid by the time it is presented to the bank. Cheques are valid for a period of 6 months only.  Please allow at least 10 weeks after the application closing date before the cheque is presented to the bank.
  • Please check that you have updated any new contact addresses, email and telephone details.
  • You may use your priority wait listing once only. Once used your records will be updated to reflect this.

Q:  If I am waitlisted and contacted regarding a place but am unable to take that place up, will I still get my seven-year period extended?

A: Yes, you will still receive an extension to your seven year period.

Q: Do I need to send qualifications or proof of qualifications with my application?

A: No, your proposers / sponsors are confirming that you fulfill the entry requirements. 

Q: Is there a minimum standard of English language proficiency required to pass the exam and if so what is it?

A: It is expected that applicants would be required to hold the minimum standards of English Language as outlined by the General Medical Council to pass this exam.

For further details, please see the GMC website.

Q: What if I do not have anyone who fits the criteria for the proposers/sponsors?

A:Candidates must first request permission from their proposers/sponsors before entering their details onto an application. The Examinations Team will verify with the proposer to confirm that they believe the applicant to be ready to sit the MRCPCH Clinical. Suitable proposers/sponsors include educational supervisers or senior colleagues who candidates currently work with who can confirm their suitability to take the examination for the clinical exam sitting they are applying for. 

Q: Can I re-submit the same testimonial from a previous application?

A:Yes, but only as long as you have confirmed with your proposer/sponsor that they are willing to give permission for you to add them as your proposer/sponsor.

Each time you apply for the MRCPCH Clinical you will be required to add the contact details and RCPCH number of two proposers/sponsors. .

Q: What if I have recently changed my name?

A:If you have changed your name by marriage, deed poll or citizenship of another country you must submit original documentary proof if you wish to be known by your new name.

Q: What are the fees?

A:The fee for the MRCPCH Clinical examination held in the UK is £730.00, this is effective from the 2017/1 diet onwards for debit and credit card payments.

Find out the fees for the MRCPCH Clinical exams held overseas

Q: How can I pay? Can I pay by credit or debit card?

A: Candidates applying to the sit the MRCPCH Clinical UK exam

Candidates applying to sit MRCPCH Clinical exams in the UK must pay by credit or debit card. Please complete the relevant section of your application with your card details in full.

 . CaCaWe accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards.  We accept the following debit cards: Maestro; Solo; Visa Electron. We do not accept American Express.

A: Candidates applying to take the exam in an Overseas Centre

Candidates applying to take an exam in an overseas centre can pay by credit or debit card if able. Candidates for overseas exam centres can pay by cheque or bank draft if they are unable to pay by card. Please check with your credit / debit card providers first before making payment with regard to the amount of the surcharge.

Candidates may also submit payments by cheque or bank draft drawn on a UK bank. You are strongly advised to make a clear photocopy or scan of your cheque or bank draft before sending to the RCPCH. The College is not responsible for international postal issues and, if the cheque or bank draft is lost in transit, a photocopy / scan may be of assistance in order for you to cancel your payment if necessary.

Q: I have submitted my application but my details have changed. What do I do?

A:Please contact us immediately by telephone or by email telling us what the changes are. Candidates can edit their details within their online accounts themselves.

Q: Where will I be placed for my Clinical examination?

A:You cannot be placed in any hospital that you have worked at or where you have attended a preparatory course, which is why it is important that we have your up-to-date work history.  We also try to avoid placing you with examiners whom you have worked with previously but this is not guaranteed.

If you are applying to the UK, please be aware you may be placed anywhere in the UK. This includes Northern Ireland and Scotland.

If you have any special needs you must inform the RCPCH Exams Team, before we place candidates for the exam, as we are not responsible for placing you somewhere you cannot get to or a date you cannot make if you have not informed us. In this case you will probably be asked to withdraw from the examination if you cannot make it.

It is not usually possible to move candidates once placements have been confirmed.

Q: When will I get my Admission / Placement Letter?

A:The Admission and Placement letter is the same thing. Some Centres refer to it as the Placement letter and some as the admission document.
 
Candidates applying to take the exam in the UK

You will be sent a placement confirmation, usually about 4 weeks before the examination. Your confirmations gives details of the placement date, time and venue.

You will need to take this confirmation and ID including both your photo and signature when you attend the exam, as it is your admission document.

Candidates applying to take the exam in an overseas centre

Please contact the local Centre. They are responsible for sending out the placement letters. The Centres aim to send these about 4 weeks before the exam. From the second diet of 2015 the responsibility of placement confirmation will be with the RCPCH Exams Team in London although many of the overseas exam organisers/centre will still be actively involved in the process.

Please refer back to this page for further details from January 2015 onwards.

Q: I want to withdraw from the examination. What do I do?

A: Withdrawals must be in writing. Withdrawals after the closing date may be entitled to a refund depending upon the circumstances (e.g. medical, bereavement). Evidence must be supplied if requesting a refund (e.g. medical certificate). Candidates must apply within one month of the examination to have their attempt discounted and/or a refund. Refund requests are passed to the Examinations Manager for approval.

Visa difficulties do not currently warrant an automatic refund this is at the discretion of the Examinations Manager. If you need to apply for a Visa please apply for the exam at beginning of the application period and state clearly that you need a letter for your visa application.

A refund of either 85% or 50% of the exam fee can be processed depending on the evidence submitted to support it. Only in some exceptional cases will a refund of 100% be granted. This will be dependant on the evidence submitted and at the RCPCH Examination Executive/Examinations Manager's discretion.

Q: Can I transfer my fee or postpone to the next examination?

A:No. Candidates need to withdraw from the exam and request a refund.

Q:  What should I do if I cannot make one of the advertised dates?

A:Please contact the College for further advice. It is important that you regularly refer to the website as all notices of any changes to exam dates will be listed there.

Q:  What identification do I need to take to the examination?

A: Passport, hospital ID card or driving licence if it has a photo. Other forms of documentation may be acceptable provided it contains a signature and photo, (but not travel cards).

Q: When will the results be sent out?

Please note that we cannot give exam results over the phone.

A: Candidates applying to the UK

Results are normally sent out up to 5 weeks after the exam; however, please visit our website for updated information on result publications. Please do not telephone us during this time as we receive a great number of calls and this will delay processing and sending of results.

You can access your exam results through your RCPCH online account - about one week before the the results letters are posted. Sign in, go to Account and to the Exam results tab.

A: Candidates applying to take the exam in an Overseas Centre

Results for clinical exams taken overseas are usually sent out following the Overseas Clinical Examination Board meeting. The timing of the Board meetings can vary depending on when the overseas and UK clinical exams are held, which in turn depends on the last day of the Overseas Exam for a specific diet. 

We endeavour to hold one Board for consideration of both UK and Overseas exams results but this is not always possible and where separate Boards are held the overseas results will be sent at a different time. For specific time scales for each diet please view updates on the website.

Please do not telephone or email us for results during this time as we receive a great number of calls and this will delay processing and sending results.

You can access your exam results through your RCPCH online account - about one week after the Overseas Clinical Examination Board meeting. Sign in, go to Account and to the Exam results tab.

From 2015-1 onwards, hard copies of the results letters will no longer be posted to candidates who have taken the MRCPCH clinical examinations overseas. Instead, candidates will receive their results letters in PDF format by email approximately one week after the release of the online results.

 Q: What do I need to do if I wish to appeal for an extension of my registration period?

A: Candidates who feel that they have extenuating circumstances for failing to complete the MRCPCH Clinical Examination within the time specified have the right to appeal for an extension to their Registration Period. 

Appeals should be submitted in writing and will be ruled upon by the Examinations Executive of the College.

 Q: Can I request to have my MRCPCH Clinical Examination attempt discounted?

A: Candidates who are prevented from attending the MRCPCH Clinical Examination due to the following circumstances may apply to have that attempt discounted:  involvement in an accident, illness or bereavement of a near relative.  In cases of claims on the grounds of illness, a medical certificate provided by a consultant must be submitted as supporting evidence.

  1. A request for discounting of an attempt must be submitted to the College within one month of the date of the examination.  Requests received at a later stage will not be considered.
  2. Decisions about discounting attempts are made by the RCPCH Examinations Executive.
  3. If agreement is given to discount the attempt, the candidate's record will be amended accordingly.

Q: What should I do if I wish to appeal against my result?

A: If you wish to appeal against your result you must do it within 4 weeks of the exam result being published or the date stated on your fail letter whichever is sooner. Appeals received after this deadline will not be considered. The Appeals Panel meeting to review appeals takes place around 5-6 weeks after the results issue.      

Overseas candidates wishing to appeal against their result in the clinical exam must do so before the deadline of the appeals submission for that diet (e.g. 2012/2 diet). Appeals received after this date/deadline will not be considered. Appeals Panel meetings are scheduled around the UK MRCPCH Clinical dates therefore an overseas candidate appealing a result from an MRCPCH

Clinical exams may have to wait longer for their appeal to be dealt with. Normally appeals panels meet approximately 5-6 weeks after the UK MRCPCH Clinical exam results letters have been dispatched.

Q: What is the process for appeals against the declared result?

A: Candidates who wish to appeal must submit their appeal in writing, no longer than 2 pages of an A4 paper stating clearly the grounds for appeal. The Appeals Panel will then consider this alongside the data and mark sheets outlining your performance in each station.

For more details of the appeal process, please see the 'Examinations regulations and rules' document - available on policies and regulations.

Q: Is there an appeals fee?

A: Yes, candidates must submit a fee of £210.00 with their appeal letter.

If your appeal is successful, your fee will be reimbursed. If your appeal is unsuccessful, the fee is not reimbursed. The Appeals Panel reserve the right however to reimburse the fee in exceptional circumstances.

Q: When will I know the outcome of my appeal?

Candidates will normally be informed of the outcome of their appeal two weeks following the Appeals Panel Review Meeting. This may take longer where additional investigation is required.

An explanation of the final decision will be sent to you in writing.

Q: Can you recommend any courses?

A: The RCPCH Education Provision and Events Teams deliver a Clinical Exam Skills Preparation Course for MRCPCH clinical exam candidates. 

See upcoming courses related to examinations