MRCPCH Clinical exams - update on adapted exam - August 2020

Thank you for your ongoing patience with us as we work towards safe delivery of the MRCPCH Clinical exam starting from November 2020. We have been working hard with examiners, trainees, and the GMC (General Medical Council) to ensure the MRCPCH Clinical exam remains safe, reliable and fair.

We are now in a position to provide more information about the clinical exam delivery from the third diet of 2020 (2020.3).

This update includes information provided in our last communication from 7 July 2020 about changes made to the exam.

Exam dates

As a reminder, we have moved the dates of the UK 2020.3 exam to 19-27 November. We intend to run the exam on Thursday 19 November and then Monday through Friday, 23-27 November. 

All overseas 2020.3 exams have been cancelled or postponed.

We have now confirmed all 2021 dates for UK and overseas - please keep in mind these are subject to change or cancellation due to COVID-19.

Delivery method

As a reminder, as of the November 2020 UK MRCPCH Clinical, all clinical exams will be delivered remotely for the time being. We will use an online platform called Practique.

Exam circuit and stations

As a result of moving to a remote delivery method, we have made some adaptations to the stations and circuit. 

  1. There will be nine stations.
  2. The format, content and number of History, Communications and Video stations remain the same, and they will continue to be based on centrally set scenarios.
  3. The stations in which we formerly had patients will now be based on centrally set scenarios.
  4. The Development station will remain the same in format. It will now be based on a centrally set scenario. The candidate will be given an introductory statement and asked to take a focussed history and to describe an assessment/exam.  However, a role-player will stand in for the parent/carer. Instead of the candidate conducting the developmental assessment of a patient, they will be required to describe to the examiner how they would go about conducting that assessment. The rest of the station remains the same: summary, differential diagnosis/developmental age, and management planning.
  5. The four former clinical stations have been adapted. There will now be two of these, which we are calling Short clinical. In place of the other two, we will have one Extended clinical. One motivation for replacing two shorter clinical stations with an extended one is to provide the candidate with a more authentic assessment of their skills in the rapidly emerging tele-medicine area.
  6. The Short clinical stations will be based on centrally set scenarios. There will be no role player.  The general format of these stations has not altered much. The candidate will be provided with information from the scenario about the patient and asked to describe the examination they would carry out. They will then summarise and provide a differential diagnosis. We have also added management planning, which will be discussed at the end of the station.
  7. The Extended clinical will be double length and run exactly as the Development station is run. It will be based on a centrally set scenario. The candidate will be given an introductory statement and asked to take a focussed history and to describe an examination. A role player will stand in for the parent/carer. Instead of the candidate conducting the examination of a patient, they will be required to describe to the examiner how they would go about conducting that examination. The rest of the station remains the same: summary, differential diagnosis, and management planning.
  8. For the Development, Extended clinical and two Short clinical stations, while the candidate is describing the examination they would carry out, the examiner will provide them with “cues” that will contain signs and other information the candidate would have discovered during the course of carrying out a physical/developmental exam. If a candidate does not mention carrying out a particular aspect of an exam, the examiner will not provide the cues relating to that area.

Domains, marks and pass mark

As a result of the above adaptations to the stations and circuit, we will now have a total of 78 points that a candidate can earn across the exam.  The distribution and representation of domains has changed as well. 

Our new MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical exam information hub has a range of resources that explain the changes.

We will provide a further update on changes to the pass mark as soon as this is recalculated.

Candidate guidance

We understand that this is a lot of information to process about changes to exam delivery and we understand that you may feel anxious or concerned about how everything will work. 

Our new MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical exam information hub includes a frequently asked questions and further resources.

We plan to host a webinar in the near future, and will post a recording of this on the information hub for those who cannot attend.

Additionally, we are working on updating and creating guidance documents about the adaptations we are making to assist you with exam preparation. We will ensure that you have adequate time to adapt your preparations as a result of these changes.

We know how important it is for you to have the appropriate information and tools to properly prepare yourself for this exam. We also understand that the information we have provided might give rise to a number of questions or concerns. However, before you email us with your questions, we would ask that you visit the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical exam information hub to explore the FAQs and guidance documents now available; we anticipate your questions will be answered by these materials.

Once again, thank you for your patience as we work to make these changes.