All UK paediatric trainees sit these exams as part of their training. Increasing numbers of paediatricians around the world take the MRCPCH to demonstrate their standards of practice or as part of their local training programme.
The MRCPCH is:
- an essential component of training for paediatricians in the UK
- mapped to the UK curriculum
- approved by the General Medical Council (GMC) as meeting the required standards
- informed by the latest research and evidence based
- responsive to changes in UK training.
The MRCPCH comprises:
- Foundation of Practice (FOP) - theory exam
- Theory and Science (TAS) - theory exam
- Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) - theory exam
- MRCPCH Clinical exam
Candidates take the three theory examinations on a computer at a test centre. Theory examinations can be taken in any order and are non-sequential. There are usually three sittings of each exam per year.
Candidates must pass the three theory examinations before they can sit the MRCPCH Clinical examination.
The MRCPCH Clinical exam is the last of the MRCPCH exams. You will sit this in a hospital and follow a 'circuit' of 12 scenarios/stations. Our trained examiners, who have extensive experience working in paediatrics, will be present in each station to assess your performance. Some of the scenarios include children, young people and adults acting as patients or family members.
Some countries use the MRCPCH as part of their paediatric training programme while trainees from other countries sit the MRCPCH as an opportunity for up-skilling, to drive learning and to gain an internationally recognised post graduate medical qualification.
Each year approximately 3,200 candidates attempt the FOP and TAS exams, 2,000 attempt the AKP, and 1,700 attempt the MRCPCH clinical exam.
The College is committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for its exams. The MRCPCH is modelled to accurately assess the competencies of paediatric trainees and to conform to the highest standards of assessment and medical education.
We strive to ensure that all exams are valid and reliable. To ensure the pre-eminence of the MRCPCH, the College rigorously quality assures all processes and actively engages in research and ongoing development work.
How it fits in with training
MRCPCH exams are 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 in the UK.
In general, it is expected that all UK trainees entering ST3 will have passed at least two of the three theory exams. We expect trainees entering ST4 (level 2 training) to have completed and passed all parts of the MRCPCH, including the clinical examination.
How children, young people and families are involved
MRCPCH Clinical relies upon engagement from exam host centres who are responsible for recruiting patients for some clinical stations. Patients and parents are regularly asked for feedback on the running of these events in order to assist with development.