DCH Clinical exam - how to apply

If you are taking the Diploma of Child Health (DCH) Clinical in the UK or another country, find out when and how to apply, how places are allocated and what to expect after you submit your application.
Last modified
17 January 2019

The DCH is comprised of two exams: Foundation of Practice (FOP) theory exam and DCH Clinical exam. The FOP is shared with the MRCPCH route (membership exam).

You can apply for these two exams in any order. If both exams have the same application period, you can apply for both at the same time.

Before you apply - general advice

  • Find out when the next exam is - see below
  • You must apply online via your RCPCH account. We will not accept applications sent by post, email or fax.
  • You may only apply during the application period, which is usually one week or longer. The application period opens at 09:30 GMT (local time in the UK) on the first day and closes at 16:30 GMT on the last day.
  • You can save your application and go back later but you must submit your application by the deadline. Any applications that are not submitted by the deadline will be deleted.
  • Once you submit your application, you will not be able to edit or delete it.
  • If you have special requirements, for example, a date that you are unable to sit or a region that you would prefer to be placed in, please include this in your application. We cannot guarantee that we can accommodate all requests but we will take this into consideration when finalising placements.
  • If you choose to withdraw your application after the application, we cannot guarantee a refund of your exam fees.
  • If your application is successful, we will process your payment after the application period closes. If your application is unsuccessful, we will not process your payment and we will return any cheques or bank drafts to you.

Additional requirements / reasonable adjustments

If you require support for your exam, please include details in your application. We will contact you during or shortly after the application period to discuss requirements.

If this is your first attempt at the clinical exam you will need to complete a separate Request for reasonable adjustment form, with the required evidence such as a medical certificate or a report from an educational psychologist or consultant. This must be received by us at least seven weeks before the exam.

We may be able to arrange:

  • additional time to complete the exam
  • option to sit the exam at a centre of your choice, a centre recommended by the Exams Team or a centre that suits your accessibility needs.
  • other more complex arrangements. Please note: complex arrangements require time. If required you must contact the Exams Team as early as possible and ideally before you apply for your exam.

Find the policy and form in our exam regulations and rules.

Contact us on exams@rcpch.ac.uk or +44 20 7092 6000 (ask for Exams team).

Seven year registration period

You have seven years in which you must pass both parts of your DCH. After seven years has passed, you must retake the exam (FOP or DCH Clinical) that you have already passed. For example, if you have passed your FOP exam more than seven years ago and have still not passed your DCH Clinical you will have to re-take and pass your FOP exam again (or vice versa).

Test centres and availability

DCH Clinical exams take place in hospitals across the UK and in other countries. Each exam host centre has a fixed number of places.

If your application is successful, we will email you an admissions document with the centre's full address about five weeks before your exam.

Once an application is confirmed and paid, transfers between centres are not normally possible. We will only be able to process any cancellation requests after the application period.

Countries in which DCH Clinical takes place

  • UK
  • Egypt
  • Hong Kong
  • India

Not all countries will offer the exam during each exam diet (exam period). If you would like to request an exam in another country, please contact us on exams@rcpch.ac.uk.

Start and end times

You will be placed on one of two morning sessions:

  • One starts at 09:00 and finishes at 11:45
  • One starts at 09:36 and finishes at 12:35 

You will be placed on one of two afternoon sessions:

  • One starts at 13:27 and finishes at 16:03
  • One starts at 14:15 and finishes at 16:41

Fees (2019)


Exam fee

UK £515
Egypt £663
India £663
Hong Kong tbc

Dates of upcoming exams and application periods

2019-1 diet

Country Exam date Application opens Application closes
Egypt 8 April 2019 14 January 2019 (see below on how to apply) 1 March 2019
UK 8 - 13 April 2019 3 January 2019 8 February 2019

Applying for exam in Egypt, April 2019 - update

Due to a technical issue, we are currently not able to accept online applications for this April's DCH Clinical in Cairo, Egypt. (This does not affect the UK.) We are also unable to accept forms via email or post.

If you wish to sit this exam, please email Lynette Afflick on the Exams team at lynette.afflick@rcpch.ac.uk.

We will keep a record of all candidates. We will then let you know when you can start applying online from 11 February.

Exam dashboard

Sign in to your RCPCH online account

  • Log in to your RCPCH online account.
  • If you do not have an account, you can register for one.
  • When logged in, go to Account in the header to see your dashboard.
  • Go to the Exams panel.
    • If you have not registered for an exam account, follow the link to register (more about how to register).
    • If you have registered for an exam account, follow the links to your exam dashboard.

Your exam dashboard

This allows you to apply for your next exams, see information about your progress and access your results It includes:

  • qualification route - you can select DCH - this will allow you to apply for the two exams: Foundation of Practice and DCH Clinical
  • qualification progress - which exams you need to sit, and whether you have sat and passed each
  • exams you are eligible for - select the exam(s) you wish to apply for
  • exams you may apply for - when the application period is open for your next exam(s)
  • your next exam - if you have an upcoming exam
  • your exam applications - if you have one or more saved applications. If you have saved an application, you can go back to edit this and submit
  • your exam results - you will see your exam attempts and results (once available). Select an exam to see the full details.

How to apply

  • Log in to your RCPCH account.
  • Go to Account (a link in the header).
  • From your dashboard, go to the Exams panel, and from your exam dashboard, follow links to apply.

Most fields in the exam application are mandatory. If you want to return to a previous screen, select Back to button at the top of the page.

Guidance notes and agreement

First, read the guidance notes, and tick to acknowledge. This confirms that you are entering into an agreement to sit the DCH Clinical exam.

By signing this agreement you:

  • understand that placements can be located anywhere in the UK. Allocation depends on available host centres.
  • understand that you may be given a placement on any date within the exam week/period.
  • understand that you may not receive details of the location and date of your DCH Clinical exam until four weeks before your exam date.
  • understand that as you have submitted an application to the RCPCH you acknowledge that you intend to sit this examination. Once the application period is closed your exam fee is due to be processed and withdrawals will not receive refund unless supported by evidence. If you withdraw before the application closing date the exam fee will not be processed.
  • understand that places are sometimes limited and an application to sit the examination does not guarantee a place.

Your details

  • This shows the personal and work details we hold about you.
  • If you need to update this, or if any information is missing, follow the links to your account dashboard where you can update your personal details and/or work details. You can return to the application via your exam dashboard.

Other fields

  • Add details of your previous and future clinical exam courses, including location and date.
  • Enter any previous and future posts, if this has changed since your last application.
  • If you have additional requirements or require a reasonable adjustment, enter these - see notes below.
  • Read the data protection statement, and tick to acknowledge.

Saving and submitting your application

  • You can save your form and come back to it later - click on save application. Before you submit, you can make changes or cancel the application.
  • When you have completed your form, click on Submit. (This may take a few moments - please do not refresh the page.)

Making a payment

Before you submit your application, you will be asked to provide credit card or debit card payment details.

We will process the payment up to two weeks after the application period closes.

In exceptional circumstances, we may accept cheques or bank drafts for overseas candidates; we must receive payment within five working days of the date you submit your application.

Please ensure that you have sufficient funds in your account in advance of payment.

Confirm booking

You can change your payment details, cancel your payment (which will take you back to the front page), or confirm your booking.

What happens after you submit and pay

Applications for DCH Clinical are accepted based on the number of available places and the date / time of the application.

After you submit, we will email you to confirm your application has been received and payment has been tokenised. Tokenised means the exam fee has not been taken from your account at that point.

If your application is successful

We will process your payment and place you on the exam. You will see your exam date and location in your exam dashboard.

You will be emailed a final placement letter with details, including a schedule and map, sent either by us or for some overseas centres by the exam host, usually three to four weeks before the exam. Please do not arrange travel, accommodation or exam preparation course before you receive this email. Keep this letter, as you will need to bring it with you on the exam day.

If you are on the waiting list

Your application will not be accepted or rejected, and no payment will be taken.

If a place becomes available due to cancelation, we will contact you. This may be at very short notice, for example, one or two weeks before the exam. If you are given a place, you will be sent a final placement letter, and your payment will be taken.

If no place becomes available, your application will be rejected and deleted from your online account. You will need to wait until the next application period to apply for an exam. If you have submitted a cheque or bank draft, we will returned this to you by international registered post as soon as possible. If you had provided payment details by credit or debit card, these will be deleted. We will extend your seven year period by one examination sitting.

If your application is rejected

Your application will be rejected, and deleted from your online account. You will see this on your exam dashboard - click on 'rejected' to see details.

You will need to wait until the next application period to apply for an exam. If you have submitted a cheque/bank draft, this will be returned to you by international registered post as soon as possible. If you had provided payment details by credit or debit card, these will be deleted.

On the day

Make sure you are at the test centre by the registration time, which is on your admissions document. Candidates who arrive after their exam circuit has begun will not be permitted to sit the exam.

You will need to bring your final placement letter with you.

You must also bring one form of identification that includes a signature and recent photograph, such as:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • hospital ID card.

A travel card will not be accepted.

If you have recently changed name - for example, through marriage - you will need to provide official supporting evidence to both the Exams team and the test centre.

You will not be permitted to take anything onto the exam circuit. If you need anything else, you must include this request for reasonable adjustments in your online application.

Your personal belongings will be securely stored during the exam. Please collect these items after your exam(s) have finished. The College and the test centre take no legal responsibility for any loss or damage caused to personal belongings stored in the test centre.

Once you have registered you will be asked to fill in the relevant sections of your exam station mark sheets using pencil. Please write your name and write and highlight your candidate number on each mark sheet. You will find a route map within your mark sheet pack that will tell you your start station and the order of stations you will move through.

Talking with other candidates during the examination circuit is not permitted.

Once the Senior Examiner or Host Examiner has ushered you to your start station you will have approximately 4 minutes waiting time before the circuit begins.

Withdrawals, transfers and appeals

Requests for withdrawals

If you wish to withdraw after you apply, please send your request by email at exams@rcpch.ac.uk, post or fax.

Please refer to the exams regulations and rules for further details on possible refunds.

If you need to apply for a visa, please submit your application early in the application period and state this in your application. If you have difficulties obtaining a visa, you will not be automatically entitled to a refund.

Requests for transfers or postponements

After you receive notification of your placement you may wish to request a transfer or change of exam date. If you do, please contact the Exams Team as soon as possible. If you are unable to transfer to a centre or date where there is an available space you will need to request a withdrawal - please see above.

If you do not inform us of specific requirement in your original application we may place you on a date or in a centre that might be difficult for you. If this happens, we may need to ask you to withdraw from the exam - see above.


Find out about appeals