Theory examinations

At RCPCH we run three theory exams, which take place in test centres across the UK and in countries around the world. Find out the exam locations and dates, eligibility, fees, how and when to apply, and what happens before, during and after your exam. And, access resources and tips to prepare for your exams.

We run three theory exams

These are: Foundation of Practice (FOP), Theory and Science (TAS) and Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP).

The MRCPCH (membership qualification) requires that you pass all three theory exams, as well as MRCPCH Clinical.

The DCH (Diploma of Child Health) requires only FOP, as well as DCH Clinical. 

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We outline who is eligible for theory exams and how to register, when and where the exams usually take place, what time they start and end, and how much they cost.
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Most candidates sit their theory exam in a dedicated test centre. Some are eligible to use online invigilation instead, which is done at home or in a private setting.
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We normally have three theory exam diets a year. Check the dates and locations of upcoming theory exams, and when you need to apply (regularly updated).
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Use our online booking system to apply for an upcoming exam during the application period. As needed, you can request reasonable adjustments. We also explain how to withdraw your application.
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Your admissions document is available on RCPCH ePortfolio about 5-6 weeks before your booked exam. This has the information you need to sit your exam. You will need to bring a valid form of ID.
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Find your results on your RCPCH online account (this website) 6-7 weeks after your exam. Many candidates do not pass on their first attempt. Consider your training timeframe and speak with your supervisor and others for support.

Upcoming changes to the theory exams

As of the 2024.3 diet (from September), all three theory exams will have some changes to questions. 

Before agreeing these changes, we consulted with senior faculty and trainee representatives; we modelled the changes to find similar outcomes to the current exams. They are approved by the General Medical Council.

Upcoming changes to the MRCPCH attempts policy

Also as of the 2024.3 diet, all MRCPCH candidates, including international and outside the UK training programme, will be allowed up to six attempts at each part of MRCPCH.

If a candidate completes six attempts, they must provide supporting evidence to request an additional attempt.

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Our syllabus outlines the core knowledge requirements for each theory exam. We also explain the question types and how to approach questions with images.
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What is it like to sit the theory exams on a computer? To help understand how it works, practice with our online sample papers for each theory exam.
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How and what to study? Our short, free videos by examiners offer quick tips and our textbooks cover each exam in detail. We also host regular courses.

Rules and regulations

We provide general regulations and rules for all our exams. Our appendices detail policies on reasonable adjustments, currency and number of attempts, malpractice, cancellation or suspension of exams, complaints and feedback.