COVID-19 - impact on our 2020.3 examinations: FAQs

We are working with examiners, trainees, and the General Medical Council to ensure our exams remain safe, reliable and fair during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides information and links for exam candidates, examiners and hosts and all involved in the delivery of our exams, and will be updated as we get more information.

Theory exams: We are offering candidates two options for safely taking the exams in the 2020.3 diet, and have new application dates. See the Theory exams section.

MRCPCH Clinical / DCH Clinical exams: The College took the extremely difficult but necessary decision to postpone, amend or cancel scheduled exams. We are now preparing to deliver these exams remotely, and you can see more details in the MRCPCH Clinical and DHC Clinical sections.
Last modified
23 October 2020

We are reviewing these frequently asked questions on a regular basis, and will publish any updates as soon as possible. To get an email notification of each update, you can log in and select the pink button in the grey box 'Notify me when updated'.


The welfare of all trainees and exam candidates is very important to us, and we hope that this page provides some clarity and will allow trainees to plan for the coming months while continuing to provide vital care to the public during these unprecedented and most challenging of times.

We are working closely with our partners who help us deliver our theory and clinical exams around the world, and reviewing local guidance.

We are directly contacting candidates booked on to exams that are postponed, or that are at risk of being postponed, as soon as possible.

Theory exams

As of 1 July 2020, we can confirm full details of the delivery of all theory exams for this year’s third diet (2020.3 diet).

We will offer candidates two options for taking the exam: test centre with social distancing, or online invigilation . You can read our FAQs and watch our webinar about both options.

Then, you can read more about each option in our candidate guides: 

A series of addendums and additions to the exams rules and regulations will be in place to account for the expanded delivery methods (see Appendix L). You should read through them, in conjunction with the full rules and regulations, before you book your exam.

You can find out the new application windows and exam dates, and how to apply on Theory exams - how to apply.

The Foundation of Practice and Theory and Science theory exams due to take place on 17 June 2020 for the 2020.2 diet at test centres around the world were postponed. We had not yet opened the application window for this exam.

The Applied Knowledge in Practice theory exams due to take place on 13 May 2020 for the 2020.2 diet at test centres around the world were postponed. We contacted all candidates with information about options to transfer to the 2020.3 diet.

MRCPCH Clinical

As of 24 August 2020, we have started publishing new guidance for the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical exam, which will be delivered remotely starting November 2020 in the UK. We have been working hard with examiners, trainees, and the General Medical Council to ensure it remains safe, reliable and fair, and we thank you for your ongoing patience.

You can find and download all candidate resources related to this adapted exam on our information hub. There you'll also find links to all of the updates we have provided so far about the adapted exam.

DCH Clinical

We are planning for remote delivery of the Diploma of Child Health Clinical exams as of October 2020. Candidates will sit their exam on an online platform called Practique. 

If you're planning to sit this exam, we recommend you watch our webinar and download our updated candidate information and anchor statements on the DCH Clinical candidate guide page

The DCH Clinical exams that were due to take place in the UK in April (for the 2020.1 diet) and in Egypt in June were postponed.

What happens if my exam is postponed?

If you have booked and paid for an exam that is postponed, we will give you the opportunity to transfer your booking to the next available exam. There will be no further charges.

We will contact you directly with more information, and to confirm any specific requirements. You will not need to book this through our online booking system.

Can I get reimbursement for any travel or accommodation?

Unfortunately we are unable to reimburse you for travel or accommodation costs incurred for your exam booking. 

For candidates who plan to book exams, we strongly recommend you delay booking related travel and accommodation until closer to the exam date. Some transport business and hotels are now allowing bookings that can be fully or partially refundable, and we advise that you consider refundable options during this period.

I am a UK trainee (Level 1, ST1-3). How will these postponements impact my training progression?

The College understands that some of the challenges for level 1 trainee progression during this time are likely to be related to the MRCPCH examination. Currently, there are two exam-dependent progression points: (a) trainees progressing to ST3 need two out of the three theory components of MRCPCH, and (b) trainees progressing to ST4 (level 2) need the MRCPCH clinical exam.

The challenges posed by examination restrictions and cancellation are likely to take some time to solve. This will require discussion with the GMC and likely solutions will depend upon: (a) number of trainees affected, (b) patient safety considerations, and (c) potential for mitigating risks to patient safety by other means.

The Exams team will explore options to reduce the impact of postponed theory and clinical exams on trainee progression. We are currently working hard to provide more clarity to these concerns and will publish further information regarding these matters as soon as we can.

I've recently sat an exam. How does this affect me?

We are not expecting delays with the processing of recently sat examinations.

Should there be any delays with our standard processing times, the Exams team will be in contact with candidates who are awaiting results or other important correspondence.

How can I contact you?

If you have any questions that are not answered on this web page, or any specific concerns, you can contact the Exams team as usual at Please be aware that we may get more emails than usual, but will try to respond as soon as possible.