Exams - write questions for the theory exams

We are currently running our question setting groups virtually until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are inviting members with MRCPCH to help us write questions remotely, using your own device at home or work. It's a great opportunity to develop skills and support the next generation of paediatricians.

"Opportunity to work with peers from different hospitals and backgrounds... [we were] able to learn from one another. Very interactive session - leads were highly approachable".

Participant at a recent QSG

How to write questions remotely

  1. Log in with your RCPCH number to Compass, our learning platform, for a short but comprehensive tutorial on the principle of theory question writing.
  2. Look through the list of recommended topics below. We suggest you write a question from the list below. However, these are only recommendations and we accept any questions that map to the theory syllabus.
  3. Download the question template below to write each of your question(s), and email your final version(s) to us at pre@rcpch.ac.uk.
  4. We'll aim to email you back with feedback within four weeks.

Recommended topics: Foundation of Practice exam

FPSCG2 Be able to describe the impact of human factors on delivering safe clinical care
FPSCG5 Understand the factors that drive pandemic/epidemic infections and appreciate how this is used in clinical practice to prevent them
FSop1 Demonstrate appropriate use of clinical guidelines in practice
FEndG5 Know the causes of abnormal growth including short stature and slow of accelerated growth. Know about appropriate assessment, investigation and treatment
FHae08 Understand the role of different health care professionals in shared care for oncological conditions
FIia2 Know the UK national guidelines on notification of communicable diseases
FIia9 Understand the normal patterns and frequency of infections in childhood

Recommended topics: Theory and Science exam

TPalC2 Understand the principles of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions in symptom control for children
TPSCG3 Know how effective communication has been shown to reduce clinical risk
TPSCG4 Know what to do to minimise risk of transmission of infection
TCard3 Know the genetic and environmental factors in the aetiology of heart disease
TCard12 Understand the scientific basis of infective endocarditis
TMetM2 Know the genetic and environmental factors in the aetiology of metabolic disorders
Tiia1 Know the epidemiology, pathology and natural history of common infections of childhood including normal patterns of frequency
TIia3 Understand the pathophysiology of fever and sepsis and the scientific rational for treatment
TIia7 Know the epidemiology, genetic and environmental triggers and natural history of atopic, allergic and autoimmune diseases
TResE8 Understand the physiology of mechanical ventilation

About the questions

You can read more about the theory exam syllabus, but here are some brief points:

  • FOP - The questions comprise primarily conditions that are likely to be seen in the first six to 12 months of hospital, community or primary care practice. This exam focuses on the areas of child health that are relevant to all those who will be working with children in their medical careers, not just those entering mainstream hospital-based paediatrics. FOP also forms the theory component of the Diploma in Child Health (DCH) examination.
  • TAS - The emphasis is to test the basic scientific, physiological and pharmacological principles upon which clinical practice is based.
  • AKP (exam 1 and 2) - This tests judgment and experience. Each paper contains case history, data interpretation and photographic questions. 

About the question setting group (QSG)

Local QSGs take place at least once a year in each College region in the UK, and bring together clinicians to write new questions for the theory exams (Foundation of Practice, Theory & Science and Applied Knowledge.

A Senior Theory Examiner or/and Principal Theory Examiner(PRE) facilitates the meeting and guides question writers as they work in small groups to produce new questions for our 'banks'. The PRE reviews all questions before submitting them to the College for review. 

We reimburse all reasonable travel expenses, but cannot cover accommodation costs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, QSGs will be run as virtual meetings, or see above for information on how to get involved remotely.

PRE Leads and virtual QSG dates by College region

Region 2021 QSG dates Lead Email

Northern England

TBC Dr Shalabh Garg  
North & South London


Dr Richard Nicholl rnicholl@nhs.net

North West England

TBC Dr Rabin Mohanty rabinmohanty@aol.com

West & East Midland

TBC Dr Chizomam Agwu 

contact: eva.nordstrom-amy@rcpch.ac.uk

Southwest England

TBC Dr Antoinette McAulay antoinette.mcaulay@poole.nhs.uk
Scotland (Edinburgh) TBC Dr Paul Eunson / Dr Brian Kelly / Dr Medhat Ezzat contact: eva.nordstrom-amy@rcpch.ac.uk

Eastern England

TBC Dr Jackie Buck  
Wales TBC Dr Gillian Body


Northern Ireland

TBC Dr Anish Anish  


    For more information, contact Eva Nordstom-Amy at eva.nordstrom-amy@rcpch.ac.uk.