MRCPCH Clinical FAQs

 ASSESSMENT

Q: What is the aim of the Clinical exam?        
Q: What is the format of the Clinical exam?
Q: What standard will I be marked against? 
Q: How is the Clinical exam marked?
Q: What does a deferment mean?

ELIGIBILITY
Q: How many times can I sit the Clinical exam?
Q: Can I sit the Clinical exam without sitting the Part 2 exam?
Q: I am at the end of my seven-year period, what exam do I need to re- sit?
Q: What are the Clinical exam entrance requirements?
Q: Do I have to wait for the results of the Part 2 exam before applying?
Q: How much Paediatric Training is required?

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: 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 MRCPCH Clinical UK & Overseas fees?
Q: How can I pay? Can I pay by Credit or Debit card?
Q: Which application form and papers do I need to send in?
Q: I've sent in my application but my details have changed, what do I do?

THE EXAMINATION
Q: Where will I be placed for my Clinical examination?
Q: When will I get my Admission/Placement Letter?
Q: I want to withdraw from the examination, what do I do?
Q: Can I transfer my fee or postpone to the next examination?
Q: What should I do if I cannot make one of the advertised dates?
Q: What identification do I need to take to the examination?

RESULTS
Q: When will the results be sent out?
Q: What do I need to do if I wish to appeal for an extension of my registration period?
Q: Can I request to have my MRCPCH Clinical Examination attempt discounted?

Q: What should I do if I wish to appeal against my result?
Q: What is the process for appeals against the declared result?
Q: Is there an appeals fee?
Q: When will I know the outcome of my appeal?

OTHER
Q: Can you recommend any 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 

Q: What is the format of the Clinical exam?

A:The basic examination circuit is represented in the document attached below:

icon-pdf.gif MRCPCH Clinical Circuit Diagram (1 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
  •  Pass
  •  Bare Fail
  •  Clear Fail
  •  Unacceptable

The 'Clear Pass' is 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' is 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.  'Unacceptable' is 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:

ClearPass

Pass

Bare Fail

Clear Fail

Unacceptable

 12

 10

 8

 4

 0

 

  • Anchor statements outlining the expected general standard for each is 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 many times can I sit the Clinical exam?

A:Candidates can sit the MRCPCH Clinical exam as many times as possible within their 7 year registration period.  


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

A:You cannot enter the Clinical exam without having first passed all of the written 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 the MRCPCH Part 1 examination, or a valid exempting exam, within the last seven years. Please note that the MRCP(I) Part 1 examination no longer counts as an exempting exam from 1st 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 written examinations before applying for the Clinical?

A:From September 2010, it is no longer possible for candidates to submit a provisional application for the Clinical exam. All candidates wishing to apply for the Clinical exam from 2011 will need to have received a confirmed pass in all of their written exams before sending in their Clinical application form D.

More information on Clinical exam applications


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 :Applications begin to arrive about 12 weeks before the exam.  Once the applications period is closed it will take about 4 weeks before we can tell you 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.

Whilst the College does its very best to process applications as quickly as possible, it is sometimes the case that there is a delay in returning ineligible or waitlisted applications. Furthermore the College has no control over the Postal services.  Therefore the result could be that you do not receive a returned application before the next application opening date.

In such cases it is recommended you submit a fresh application and cheque for the next diet you wish to apply for. If you do this we ask that you attach any correspondence from the College or Centre, which states that you were waitlisted or ineligible. If no supporting paperwork is available please send a letter to explain the situation.

The College and Centres work together to decide the dates of the application opening and closing periods but it is not always possible to ensure that:

  1. These tie up with the UK exam dates; and
  2. there is sufficient time in between diets, which may affect either the timely return of application forms or the sending of results letters.

Ultimately it is for the candidate to make a decision based on their personal circumstances.


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

A:Candidates applying to the UK

Applications for the MRCPCH Clinical examination will be accepted dependent upon the number of places available. Consequently, applicants submitting forms may have their applications returned 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 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.

Candidates who are not initially allocated a place will be placed on a waiting list for the 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 day 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.

  • Candidates applying to take the exam in an Overseas Centre

Applications for the MRCPCH Clinical examination will be accepted dependent upon the number of places available. Consequently, applicants submitting forms may have their applications returned 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: Selection of candidates remains the responsibility of the overseas Centre.

Whether you are waitlisted or not depends on the following:

  1. The current diet you have applied for is oversubscribed; and,
  2. Your application was eligible in the diet you applied for initially, i.e. within the Seven-year period;
  3. You were not deferred in any previous sitting that meant you were ineligible to sit this exam;
  4. You had completed the application fully and dated and signed it as described in the Guidance Notes.

Candidates who are not initially allocated a place will be placed on a short waiting list for the 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 two weeks before the first day of 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 overseas centres such as residency and place of work. However, the College will attempt to place you whenever possible.  
 


Q: If I am waitlisted what must I do?

A: We should have returned your application form with a white Priority sticker on the front. If not please complete a new form when you reapply.   

  • You may submit the same application form if you have had it returned to you in time for the next application opening date.
  • If you use the same form both you and your sponsor(s) must re-sign and date it.
  •  We only accept original signatures, do not send copies.
  • If you submit the same cheque, 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. We keep records of these so please do not attempt to re-use priority forms.


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 are confirming that you fulfill the entry requirements. 


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

A:Candidates should submit a full CV detailing their posts and 2 references from their most senior consultants confirming their suitability to take the examination.  This is then put to the RCPCH Examinations Executive for their approval.


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

A:No. Testimonials are only valid for the exam that is currently being applied for. You need to get fresh signatures from your sponsor(s) each time you make a Clinical exam application. Refer to the notes accompanying Form D for details on how many sponsors you need to sign your form.

MRCPCH Clinical - How to Apply


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 MRCPCH Clinical UK & Overseas fees?

A:The fee for the MRCPCH Clinical examination held in the UK in 2013 will be £609.00.

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 can pay by credit or debit card. Please complete the relevant section of the application form with your card details in full. If unsure which details to enter please refer to the notes accompanying the form.

 . CaCanCandidates can also pay by cheque (drawn on a UK bank account), or bankers draft.  Please attach a cheque or bank draft (ensuring it will still be valid by the time of presentation to our bank) with your application. 

Please note that there is a 4% surcharge for credit card payments. There is no surcharge for debit cards.  We accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards.  We accept the following debit cards: Maestro; Solo; Visa Electron. We do not accept American Express.

  •  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 to however we recommend that candidates pay be cheque or bank draft. 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 attaching it to your application form. 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: Which application form and papers do I need to send in?

A:You must complete the Clinical Application Form D, the overseas form if you wish to take the exam in an overseas centre and the UK form if you wish to take the exam in the UK. 

First time applicants need to get the signatures of two sponsors, refer to the guidance notes accompanying the application form to confirm the number of sponsors required for second or subsequent applications.


Q: I've sent in 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. We must have this in writing.


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 us on your application form, 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 the UK

If you are applying for the UK examination you will be sent a placement letter, usually about 4 weeks before the examination. Your letter gives details of the placement date, time and venue together with a map and candidates' guide to the exam.

You will need to take this letter 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

If you are 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.  


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 90% or 50% of the exam fee can be processed depending on the evidence submitted to support it. In some exceptional cases a refund of 100% can be made again depending on the evidence submitted and at the 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 look at the website often as all notices of any changes to the dates are mentioned 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?

A: Candidates applying to the UK

Results are usually sent out up to 5 weeks after the exam following the Clinical Examination Board meeting. Placement letter usually include details of results issue dates, however please regularly visit our website for updated information on result publications.  Do not telephone us during this time as we receive a great number of calls and this will delay processing and sending results.

Results are also available to candidates by logging into their secure area on this website.  A notice will be posted on the Results page of this website when the results are available to view online - this will normally be before the results letters are sent out.
More information on this facility.

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE CANNOT GIVE OUT RESULTS OVER THE PHONE.

  • 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.

Results are also available to candidates by logging into their secure area on this website.  A notice will be posted on the Results page of this website when the results are available to view online - this will normally be before the results letters are sent out. 
More information on this facility.

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE CANNOT GIVE OUT RESULTS OVER THE PHONE.


 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 of entry 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 Clinical Examinations Board.
    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: The date of result letters being sent by post can be found on the initial examination placement letters, candidates are reminded NOT to contact the office to request for result letters to be re-sent during the week from that date.    If you wish to appeal against your result you must do it within 4 weeks of the exam result being sent out. 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 exam 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 a formal letter of appeal. The Appeals Panel will then consider this alongside the data and mark sheets outlining your performance in each station. Candidates should be aware that the Panel review all stations of the exam, not just the one(s) you have appealed against. Consequently, an appeal may result in a candidate's total overall mark being increased or reduced.

Please refer to the MRCPCH Clinical rules and regulations page of the RCPCH website for details of upcoming Appeals Panel submission deadlines.

Information on the Appeals process.


Q: Is there an appeals Fee?

Yes, Candidates must submit a fee of £200.00 with their appeal letter. If your appeal is successful, this 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:We do not recommend any particular courses for the MRCPCH Clinical Examination. Courses are advertised in the medical press or you can contact the British Medical Journal on 0207 387 4499 or at http://bmj.bmjjournals.com.  The colleges recognised prepartory material is mastercourse.