Write questions for the theory exams

We invite members with MRCPCH to join our Question Setting Groups (QSGs) to write questions for our theory exams. These offer a great opportunity to develop skills and support the next generation of paediatricians.
Question Setting Group meeting - group at table

About the question setting groups (QSG)

QSGs take place throughout the year, bringing together College members who have MRCPCH - including trainees, consultants and SAS doctors - to write new questions for our three theory exams.

A Senior Theory Examiner or/and Principal Regional Examiner (PRE) facilitates the QSG, guiding question writers as they work in small groups to produce new questions for our theory examinations. All questions then go through a robust reviewing process led by experience subject experts.

The QSGs take place both face-to-face within College regions, or online for members from any location in the UK or internationally from your home or work - and you can see upcoming dates below. For face-to-face QSGs, we reimburse all reasonable travel expenses but cannot cover accommodation costs. 

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

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

Foundation of Practice (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.

Theory and Science (TAS)

The emphasis is to test the basic scientific, physiological and pharmacological principles upon which clinical practice is based.

Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) - parts 1 and 2

This tests judgment and experience. Each paper contains case history, data interpretation and photographic questions.

How to get involved

We provide comprehensive training via an online tutorial, which you can take any time before your first QSG. (Or for a refresher!)

Never attended a QSG or have not attended one in the past three years? Contact us on pre@rcpch.ac.uk to confirm your eligibility and join our bank of QSG members. We'll email you periodically to invite you to a local or virtual QSG. (You will need to be subscribed to RCPCH emails.)

On our mailing list? Look out for periodic emails about future QSGs, or check dates below. 

Get involved - email pre@rcpch.ac.uk

QSGs dates in 2024

Virtual QSGs

You can join one of our virtual (remote) QSGs from any location in the UK or internationally. We have confirmed dates for our first three QSGs of the year, If you can join, email us with your preferred date(s) on PRE@rcpch.ac.uk.

  • 13 February
  • 17 April
  • 6 June  

More dates will be scheduled later in the year.

Face-to-face QSGs

We also plan to schedule face-to-face QSGs in 2024, and will post dates here when available. These are held in a College region, and listed below are the Principal Regional Examiners (PRE) by region.

Region PRE Date
Eastern England Dr Jackie Buck  
Kent, Surrey, Sussex (KSS) Prof Bim Bhaduri  
North East England Vacant  
North and South London Vacant  
North West England Dr Rabin Mohanty  
West and East Midlands Dr Penny Broggio  
Yorkshire & Humber Dr Sandeep Kapoor  
Scotland (Edinburgh) Dr Brian Kelly  
Wales Dr Gillian Body  
Northern Ireland Dr Anish Anish  
South West England Vacant  

Writing questions remotely

You are also welcome to write questions in your own time, and email to us for consideration. Here's what to do:

  1. Take our online question writing tutorial on RCPCH Learning, which covers the principle of writing theory questions. We'd appreciate if you can take the pre and post questionnaire as well. If you have any difficulties with this, please email rcpchlearning@rcpch.ac.uk.
  2. Read the theory exam syllabus - all questions must be mapped to this.
  3. Download the question template below to write each of your question(s). 
  4. Email your final version(s) to us at PRE@rcpch.ac.uk.
  5. We'll aim to email you back with feedback within four weeks.
Usage policy for RCPCH exam questions
  • Copyright of questions written for the MRCPCH theory exams belongs to the RCPCH. By submitting your contribution (includes clinical images) you hereby assign the copyright to The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and all other rights in and to the contribution.
  • This assignment of rights means that you have given RCPCH the exclusive right to publish and reproduce the contribution in print and all other forms of media, in any edition, revision, or other form, in all languages, throughout the world, and the right to license others to do the same.
  • Contributors must not divulge examination questions to outside organisations or any other individuals who are not directly engaged in the delivery of the relevant examinations. Any infringement of this rule must be reported immediately to the relevant staff member at the RCPCH.
  • Contributors hereby agree not to publish any material which they have prepared or reviewed in connection with the MRCPCH examinations for non-College products.

Get involved - email pre@rcpch.ac.uk