Theory exams - update on online invigilation

On 16 September, the Applied Knowledge in Practice exam will run with two options: test centres with social distancing; and online invigilation at home. This is the first time we are doing online invigilation and over the coming months, the remainder of our exams, our START assessment, our recruitment and our educational courses, will move online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a step change in how the NHS and professional bodies like our own have moved onto online platforms. For all of us it has come at a lightning pace and, as all things that happen at such a pace, we have had to adapt swiftly and focus our efforts in this area.

The provision of online examinations has meant the need for many significant changes, including the redevelopment of exam sections to fit online running, collaboration with the General Medical Council on assessment standards, and an extensive and complex investment in new software. In the last few months we have secured software to run all theory and clinical examinations (in the UK and overseas), START, recruitment and courses. Our teams have extensively trained on, workshopped, piloted and reviewed these systems to ensure they are as low risk as we can make them. We have worked on multiple operational processes, contingency plans and scenario runs.

We understand how milestones like examinations are already difficult times for paediatricians. We want you to have faith in the systems you are using and feel as comfortable as possible using them. However, we know and have to fully recognise that we cannot control all aspects of the online experience and our members will have had enough Error 404s in their technical lives to know that something unexpected can go wrong.

Please do be aware of all you can do to prepare yourself. If you are taking any online examinations in the coming months, read the guidance (including a video link) that has been carefully developed to prepare you for your online examination.

There is a webinar for theory examinations that you can watch. A future webinar will cover clinical examinations.

For those accessing these systems online at home, which is likely to include many who are shielding from COVID-19, ensure you have reliable internet connection through your Ethernet or WiFi.  Finally, do take the time to join your event on time and have an opportunity to understand the system and undertake any systems checks that you have received links to. If you are attending an examination and cannot locate your email with these details, please do contact exams@rcpch.ac.uk as soon as possible.

As each examination and event takes place in these coming months we will continue to learn from and develop our processes and systems.  We can then continue, through any potential future pandemic waves, to provide you with access to exams and events with minimal disruption.