COVID-19 - impact on our examinations: FAQs

This page provides information for exam candidates, examiners and hosts and all involved in the delivery of our exams, and will be updated as we get more information.

MRCPCH Clinical / DCH Clinical exams: As a consequence of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the College has taken the extremely difficult but necessary decision to postpone, amend or cancel scheduled MRCPCH Clinical and DCH Clinical exam activity in the UK and internationally until the end of December 2020. We now have an update on the delivery of MRCPCH Clinical from the 2020.3 diet. See the MRCPCH Clinical 2020.3 section.

Theory exams: We will offer candidates two options for safely taking the exams in the 2020.3 diet, and have new application dates. See the Theory exams 2020.3 section.
Last modified
13 July 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'.

Introduction

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 for the 2020.3 diet

As of 1 July, we can confirm full details of theory exam delivery for this year’s third 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.

Theory exams for the 2020.2 diet - FOP/TAS

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

If you are planning to apply to sit FOP/TAS exams this year, please refer to the exam and exam application window dates on Theory exams - how to apply.

Theory exams for the 2020.2 diet - AKP

The Applied Knowledge in Practice theory exams due to take place on 13 May 2020 at test centres around the world were postponed.

We are contacting all candidates with information about options to transfer to the 2020.3 diet - see above for more information on that diet.

MRCPCH Clinical exams for the 2020.3 diet - update 7 July

As of 7 July, we can confirm some more details of clinical exam delivery for this year's third diet.

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

Exam dates

To support the implementation of these changes, we have moved the date of the UK Clinical Exam from late October to late November (19-29 November) 2020. The application window is now scheduled to open 3-16 August.

On 26 June, we announced that we were unable to hold this exam outside of the UK in 2020. All overseas 2020.3 exams, except for Hong Kong, have been cancelled or postponed.  As we confirm 2021 dates, we will continue to post them on our website.

Remote delivery

Due to the impact that COVID-19 has had on our ability to safely hold clinical exams, and particularly in mind of potential risks to the children, young people and families who take part, we are making some changes to the MRCPCH Clinical exam to ensure the safety of all involved.

As of November 2020, all clinical exams will be delivered remotely. We are working out the platform on which this can best be delivered.

Exam circuit and stations

To accommodate the remote delivery, we are making necessary adaptations to the circuit and stations. We'll provide further details in coming weeks, but can now confirm for the 2020.3 diet:

  • There will be no face-to-face MRCPCH Clinical exams held in any physical setting.
  • There will be no children and young people involved in the delivery of the exam circuit.
  • We expect the content and number of History, Communications and Video stations to remain the same.
  • The modifications to the Development and Clinical stations are in progress and therefore the specific details of how each of these stations will be run are not yet confirmed. 

We will provide updates and full guidance about these adaptations as and when they become available on this website.

Candidate guidance

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

We will publish a new web page about this adapted MRCPCH Clinical exam, with FAQs and some detailed guidance documents, to support you with exam preparation. When this is available, we will add this to our Examinations pages, and post on our Twitter accounts @RCPCHtweets and @RCPCH_trainees.

We also plan to hold a live webinar about this adapted exam. Then we'll publish a recording of it on this website.

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, we ask for your patience during this time and that you wait until the FAQs, guidance documents and webinar are available; we anticipate your questions will be answered by these materials.

We will ensure that you have adequate time to adapt your preparations as a result of these changes. 

MRCPCH Clinical exams for the 2020.3 diet - update 26 June

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

After much consideration, the College and its overseas partners have decided that we cannot safely hold the MRCPCH Clinical exams in some overseas countries for the remainder of 2020 (please see the Exam dates and application window chart on MRCPCH Clinical - how to apply).

It is possible there may be further postponements or cancellations of clinical exams in 2020-3 over the next few months. The College and our overseas partners are working hard to come up with solutions in order to safely run MRCPCH Clinical exams both in the UK and overseas in order to restart the running of exams in 2021. We are writing to all affected candidates with more details. Additionally, we will post updates on our progress on this page so please check back regularly for further information.

Should the Hong Kong MRCPCH Clinical exam go ahead as planned, the usual restrictions for applicants will remain in place.

Any MRCPCH Clinical exams that do run in 2020.3 will be subject to restrictions and only those currently residing in the exam country will be able to sit the exam.

To ensure the safe running of the exam, we are taking the time to ensure that we have robust procedures in place. Because of the time this is taking to implement, we have moved the 2020.3 UK MRCPCH Clinical exam back by one month to run 19 November - 29 November 2020. The application window has also been changed to run from 3 August to 16 August 2020.

Please be mindful that once MRCPCH Clinical exams resume, both in the UK and overseas, there may still be restrictions on travel and/or quarantine requirements. Additionally, it is possible that exams that run in 2021 will be restricted to candidates residing in the country where the exam is held.

We understand that these changes and cancellations have created great disruption for many of you and thank you all for your patience and understanding. We also appreciate all of the suggestions and ideas that people have sent along to us.

MRCPCH Clinical exams for the 2020.1 and 2020.2 diets

The vast majority of MRCPCH Clinical exams that were due to take place between March and June 2020 in the UK and across a number of international centres were postponed, including:

  • Egypt - March 2020
  • Jeddah - March 2020
  • Sudan - March 2020
  • Nepal - April 2020
  • Singapore - May 2020
  • UAE - May 2020
  • UK - June 2020
  • Malaysia - June 2020
  • Egypt - June 2020
  • Jeddah - June 2020

DCH Clinical 2020.1 and DCH Clinical in Egypt, June

The Diploma of Child Health Clinical exams that were due to take place in the UK in April 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 exams@rcpch.ac.uk. Please be aware that we may get more emails than usual, but will try to respond as soon as possible.