MRCPCH Clinical exams - update on adapted exam, 9 October

We are providing further updates for candidates, examiners and hosts on the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical Exam, which will be delivered remotely this November. This follows our first pilot to test the adapted stations and circuit as well as the online system.

We wanted to keep you updated on our continuing activities adapting the MRCPCH Clinical Exam to be delivered remotely.  

We conducted the first pilot of a remote delivered exam within the Practique system on 18 September 2020. The changes made to the content and format of the clinical stations were well received, and these stations ran well.  In the Extended Clinical, Short Clinical and Development stations, “candidates” described physical or developmental examinations and received cues (signs) from the examiners.  Candidates and examiners alike felt the cues worked well and that the more they were exposed to it, the easier it became. 

We are now confident to provide further guidance and details of all stations on the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical Exam Information webpage (see below). 

We also received positive feedback on Practique, the online exam delivery platform. Candidates, examiners, role players and invigilators all felt the interface was simple to use and worked well, that the video calls were clear, and that they were able to make good eye contact. We now feel able to provide a link to four videos created by Fry, the developers behind Practique. Each video is from the perspective of an examiner, an invigilator (listed as examiner 2), a candidate and a role-player (listed as patient).  These videos were not recorded on a live exam and they are not videos of our pilot exam (not MRCPCH or DCH exams). However, they are very instructive in terms of illustrating how easy it is to log in and navigate around the online platform. Hopefully they will help familiarise all exam participants with the system prior to exam day.  

We are looking into whether we will be able to provide sample access to participants so they can try it out for themselves as well as ensure that they do not have technical issues and will update the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical Exam Information web page if this is possible.

The one area we had challenges with on the day of the pilot was running the MRCPCH Clinical adapted circuit on the Practique platform. As a result of technical limitations with Practique, we are not able to run our normal 12-person circuit. We were limited to a 9-candidate circuit that had a number of rest stations for examiners.  This created issues on the day.  It was determined that we needed to adapt the circuit still further in order to avoid any issues during the live exam.  We have now re-worked the circuit and have figured out a way to return to having 12 candidates per circuit.  We now need to run another pilot to test the circuit changes.  Once we have done that and are satisfied that no further alterations are required, we will publish the circuit charts with explanations on the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical Information page.

We want to assure candidates and examiners that the changes to the circuit will have no impact on the actual stations themselves. The format and content of all stations are agreed upon, tested and found to be working well. What needs to be tested still is the delivery of the circuit, i.e. how candidates rotate around the stations.  We are drawing your attention to this distinction to help candidates understand that their preparations are not affected by this circuit order change. Candidates who were preparing for the domain-based MRCPCH Clinical exam earlier in the year should continue to prepare in the same way with the exception of needing to practice verbal delivery of examinations for the Clinical (Short/Extended) and Development stations. 

We will continue to provide new and updated guidance documents on the COVID Adapted Clinical Information page and to publish updates when we have more announcements to make.  We are happy to clarify points and answer questions from candidates, examiners, Heads of School, College tutors and others about these changes; however, we do request that you review the above-mentioned webpage before getting in touch as you might find the answer to your question.

Finally, below is a list of the documents which have recently been added to, or updated on, the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical information page:

  • FAQs (updated)
  • Videos of Practique platform (new)
  • Environment and room set up (new)
  • Station flow charts (new)
  • Describing examinations and understanding cues (new)
  • Clinical exam technique (new)
  • Station timing guide (updated)
  • Development toolkit list and photo (updated)
  • Note taking policy (new)

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate through this challenging situation.