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
Eastern England 8 June Dr Jackie Buck  
Kent, Surrey, Sussex (KSS) TBC Vacant  
Northern England TBC Dr Shalabh Garg  
North and South London 7 May and 3 September Dr Richard Nicholl rnicholl@nhs.net
North West England TBC    
South West England TBC Vacant  
West and East England TBC Dr Rabin Mohanty rabinmohanty@aol.com
West and East Midlands 29 September Dr Chizomam Agwu / Penny Broggio contact: eva.nordstrom-amy@rcpch.ac.uk
Yorkshire & Humber TBC Vacant  
Scotland (Edinburgh) TBC Dr Paul Eunson / Dr Brian Kelly / Dr Medhat Ezzat contact: eva.nordstrom-amy@rcpch.ac.uk
Wales 15 October Dr Gillian Body gillian.body@wales.nhs.uk
Northern Ireland TBC Dr Anish Anish  

Usage policy for the RCPCH examinations questions/scenarios 

  • Copyright of questions written for the MRCPCH Theory Examinations 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.

Contact

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