RCPCHStart Trainee FAQs

Types of questions:

What is RCPCHStart and why do I need take it?

  • What does RCPCHStart stand for? Specialty Training Assessment of Readiness for Tenure.
  • Why do I need to take the RCPCHStart assessment? RCPCHSTART is a mandatory assessment for Level 3 trainees. It assesses your abilities in relation to clinical decision making as a new consultant and helps you to address any gaps that you may have in your training.
  • Who is the RCPCHStart assessment mandatory for? All run-through trainees (ST) who entered ST6 on or after the 01/08/2011. If you are not sure if you need to take RCPCHStart please email us on START@rcpch.ac.uk ">START@rcpch.ac.uk
  • When should I take the RCPCHStart assessment? You are eligible to undertake the assessment in any session after you have become an ST6; however it is advised to undertake the assessment during your ST7 year. This allows for at least 6 months for any follow up actions to be completed.

What do I do next? 

  • When is the next RCPCHStart assessment / application period? You can find up to date information on the RCPCHSTART page.
  • How do I apply for RCPCHStart? The application process takes place online, so you need to log in to the College website during the application period. Please note that we may not allocate places immediately after the application window closes, so allow 1-2 working weeks to hear from us regarding the status of your application.
  • Can anyone else apart from ST6 and the priority groups take RCPCHStart? Yes the assessment is open to SpRs (Calman trainees), and those doctors who are in non approved training posts i.e. Specialty Doctor, Trust Doctor, Associate Specialist, Staff Grade and  Locum Approved for Service posts can all take part.
  • How much will the assessment cost? £250 upon application for run-through trainees, £850 for non run-through trainees.
  • How do I pay the fees? Upon application, by credit/debit card.
  • Where will the assessment be held? It is usually held at the Royal College of General Practitioners Assessment Centre in Euston, London. 
  • Is the assessment ever held outside London? The assessment will be held outside London in November 2017, but it is usually at the RCGP Assessment Centre in Euston. This is because the type of venue we require is highly specialised, and there are few venues that meet our requirements outside of London.
  • Can I withdraw? Yes. Notification of withdrawal must be given in writing no later than one week before the date of the assessment. If a participant is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances then they must inform the College no later than the day of assessment.  
  • If I withdraw can I get a refund? Yes, providing that the necessary supporting documentation is supplied with the written notification. The full fee paid minus an administration charge of £40.00 will be refunded by means of the way it was paid.  We will not be able to process any refunds received more than 1 month after the assessment date. 
  • I have a recognised sub-specialty- how does this effect my application?  If you are expecting to be awarded a CCT in an approved subspecialty you will need to indicate this on your application form to ensure that as part of the assessment you are entered into the appropriate subspecialty circuit. You must be in your GRID post when you apply. If you are planning on applying for a GRID post you must wait until you are working in that post. If you are a General Paediatrician who is in a sub-specialty rotation, or you are doing a SPIN module, you should still take RCPCHSTART as a General Paediatrician.

Is there any preparation required?

  • Is there any preparation I can do before the assessment? You aren’t required to do any ‘revision’ – the scenarios should be examples of your ‘day-to-day’ work. You will probably find it helpful to familiarise yourself and keep up to date with:
  1. NICE guidance
  2. GMC guidance on confidentiality, consent, capacity, duty of candour, colleague in difficulty, answering complaints, safeguarding
  3. Consider going through your drug charts with a pharmacist 

What do I need to know on the day?

  • Can I bring food and drink with me? Yes, bring along drinks and snacks as the circuit is over three hours long without a break. There are water points on the circuits to top up your bottle, and an on-site café for before/after your assessment.
  • Do I need to bring any equipment with me? Paper is provided, but you might want to bring along a highlighter for the critical appraisal paper, and a spare pen is a good idea too.
  • Is there a dress code? We would just advise you to dress as you would   when coming to work – there’s no need for a suit and tie, but if that’s more comfortable for you, then that’s fine too!

What happens after the assessment?

  • When will I receive my feedback? The feedback will be available six weeks from the date of the assessment. 
  • What kind of feedback report will I receive? You will receive a feedback report containing your global rating, your overall score, your performance against the competency domains and the cohort mean and written feedback for each station. The report will be similar to the ePaedMSF report. 
  • Where can I find my feedback report? It will appear in your ePortfolio account – you can search for it in your Timeline.
  • Can I fail the RCPCHStart assessment? There is no pass/fail mark system used for RCPCHStart, however trainees can underperform - these areas will be highlighted in the individual feedback with recommendations for addressing the concerns. 
  • If my results highlight concerns what remediation will I be offered? The responsibility to remediate concerns will lie with your local education provider. The College is working closely with all paediatric schools, college tutors and educational supervisors to ensure a robust system is implemented in assisting those in training to address issues. Those participants who are not in training will be asked to nominate a supervisor who will be able to assist in the feedback process. 
  • Will I need to take the assessment again? No, trainees are not expected to undertake the assessment again unless it is agreed between them and their supervisor/paediatric school as part of their feedback. 
  • Will the College refund my travel/accommodation costs? No, trainees must cover all their own costs, but staff will issue receipts for the cost of the assessment upon email request START@rcpch.ac.uk