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. New guidance in relation to preparing for remote delivery of the DCH Clinical Examination is provided below. All DCH Clinical Exams held across 2021 will be delivered online. Further updates will be provided here regarding DCH Clinical Exams held from 2022 onwards.
Last modified
24 September 2021

Updates relating to COVID-19 and adapted exam

Since the October 2020 DCH Clinical exam week, the DCH Clinical has been delivered remotely via the Practique assessment platform. The Exams team is continuing all preparations for future DCH Clinical examinations with the intention of delivering these examinations remotely. Any future change to the method of delivery will be determined through the RCPCH Examinations Board.

The next DCH Clinical exam will be delivered online in November/December 2021 (2021.2). This online delivery is open to applicants both in the UK and overseas.

*Please note, the results for the 2021.2 DCH Clinical online exam will not be published until mid January 2022. This is due to the close proximity of the exam days to the Christmas holidays when the College is closed.

We are creating new content for online DCH delivery which will be available soon. The current DCH Clinical examination candidate guide provides candidates with general guidance on how to prepare for all station types.

The main changes to the exam relate to the method of delivery (online instead of face to face) and some changes to the circuit (8 stations, all 9 minute in length - 2 History stations, plus removal of Structured Oral station). The approach to the traditional patient based stations is also new (Clinical Assessment/Short Clinical and Development), with examination technique now being verbalised and clinical signs being presented and not found. There is a small process change to the Safe prescribing station with candidates now reviewing a completed prescription instead of having to generate one. All other stations remain the same in relation to content.

All stations now receive two scores (Part A and Part B score). The passmark for the DCH Clinical examination has been adjusted to allow for this.

For candidates preparing for remote delivered DCH clinical examinations, please pay particular attention to the Additional information required for remote delivered exams section in How to apply below.

Keep updated on our COVID-19 - impact on our examinations FAQs.

Helping you with your revision - We have a range of resources for candidates, including exam preparation courses and textbooks, which may be of interest while you are revising. Explore resources to help you get ready for your exams

Before you apply - general advice

The DCH comprises 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.

  • 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 16:00 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 you withdraw your application before the application window closes your examination fee will not be processed.
  • 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.

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 normally take place in hospitals across the UK and in other countries, and each exam host centre has a fixed number of places.

The DCH Clinical exams delivered since October 2020 will be delivered remotely. You'll need to submit your applications through our booking system as usual, and will be allocated to exam days/sessions.

You'll then be provided with access links to the remote exam delivery platform. You'll need to ensure you meet certain technical requirements for software and hardware, and that you have a reliable internet connection. We'll provide more details on this process soon.

If your application is successful, we will email you an admissions document with your exam date and session approximately four weeks before your exam.

Once an application is confirmed and paid, transfers between exam days/dates/sessions are not normally possible. We will only be able to process exam cancellation requests after the application period.

Countries in which DCH Clinical exams (face to face delivery method) typically 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

For remote/online delivered DCH Clinical exam, you will be placed on a morning or afternoon session:

  • The morning session starts at 10:00 and finishes at approximately 11.50 (UK time). 
  • The afternoon session starts at 14:00 and finishes at approximately 15.50 (UK time).

For face to face delivered DCH Clinical exam, you will be placed on a morning or afternoon session:

Should the DCH Clinical exam return to face to face delivery then the session timings will be updated and posted here.

Fees (2021)

For all countries except Hong Kong, you will need to pay online by credit card, or by debit card that is linked to a UK bank account.

We can no longer accept bank drafts or cheques. Due to changes within the UK Banks Clearing System, bank drafts and cheques are scanned and processed electronically and the paper originals destroyed. This means that if there were a payment issue, we would not be able to return bank drafts and cheques, and funds would not be processed.

Country Exam fee
UK £530
Hong Kong Please contact HKCP for further details

Dates of upcoming exams and application periods (2021)

As detailed at the top of this page, DCH Clinical exams held throughout 2021 will be delivered through an online platform. You can keep updated on our COVID-19 - impact on our examinations FAQs.

Country Exam date Application opens Application closes
UK and overseas (online delivered)

23 - 24 November, 29 - 30 November, 2 December 2021 (online exam)

16 August 2021 20 September 2021

UK and overseas (online delivered)

2022 examination dates tbc tbc tbc

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 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. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic the guidance provided in the following sections below is subject to change. Please refer back to this page regularly for further updates.

By signing this agreement you understand that:

  • placements can be located anywhere in the UK (for UK based face to face exams), and allocation depends on available host centres (not applicable for remote delivered exams)
  • you may be given a placement on any date within the exam week/period
  • you may not receive details of the location and date of your DCH Clinical exam (face to face)  until four weeks before your exam date
  • as you have submitted an application to 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
  • 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.
  • We would like to highlight the value in ensuring that all candidates update their protected characteristics details within their online accounts. In order to do this, once you are logged into your account please complete the diversity monitoring form

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 privacy 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.
  • Please make sure that you are applying for the correct examination before submitting your form (e.g. DCH Clinical Examination). Some of our examination application windows are open at the same time so please make sure you are applying for the correct one.
  • When you have completed your form, click on Submit. (This may take a few moments - please do not refresh the page.)

Making a payment

If you are placed for an examination (after submitting your application) you will be notified through an automated email from the booking system asking you to login to your application and provide credit card or debit card payment details.

We will process the payment as soon as possible and we hope to have all payments processed no later than two weeks after the application period closes.

Additional information needed for remote delivery exams only

You will be asked to confirm that you understand the following when applying to any remote delivered DCH Clinical exam to ensure that you are able to sit an exam through the online exam platform, Practique. In the Downloads box below are two documents to help you prepare for setup and technical requirements before the exam day:

  • Environment check and room set up - DCH Clinical remote delivered exams
  • Remote OSCE - guidelines for candidates examiners SPS

Before each exam week we will provide a webinar/briefing and additional information for candidates preparing for their exam. The focus of the briefing will be around the important technical aspects associated with online exam delivery. The Exams team will also attempt to provide some additional technical support to candidates based overseas before exam weeks. Candidates based overseas should be prepared to undertake some quick technical checks with the Exams Team staff in the lead up to their exam day/s (normally after applicants are placed and before payments are processed - subject to Exams team's availability).

In advance of the assessment, you must complete a readiness check. You should also ensure you have the following.

Latest operating system available for your device installed: 

  • Windows - minimum Windows 7 
  • Mac - minimum 10.12 Sierra 
  • iPad - minimum iOS 12 
  • Android - minimum version tbc 

Sufficient hard drive storage space: 

  • Minimum 20GB free space on PC/laptop 
  • Minimum 2GB free space on iPad 

Minimum RAM (memory) requirements: 

  • PC and Laptop 4GB minimum, 8GB recommended 

Browser requirements:

You ​must have an up to date version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge installed on the device you are using. At a minimum: 

  • Firefox: Version 60 
  • Chrome: Version 78 
  • Edge: Version 79 
  • Safari: Version 12 

Internet requirements:

A stable Internet connection and sufficient bandwidth is required. Note. You should not use a hotspot connection.

  • 450kbps up and 1.6Mbps down 
  • We urge you to complete a broadband speed test such as this one provided here -    https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk 

What happens after you submit your application

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

After you submit your application the Exams Team will check all requirements and begin the process of placement. If you are placed you will receive an email asking you to log back in to your application and provide payment details. If there are no issues with your card payment this will be automatically processed.

If your application is successful

We will process your payment. You will see your exam date and location in your exam dashboard.

You will be emailed a final placement letter/admission document with details, including a schedule, usually three to four weeks before the exam. Please do not make any arrangement, including booking an exam preparation course or making any travel plans, before you receive this email. Keep this letter, as you will need it 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 again be asked to login to your application and provide payment details and then your payment will be processed and a placement letter/admission document will be provided.

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 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. 

On the day

The information provided below relates to the face to face delivered exam. We will update this information in relation to the remote exam delivery soon.

Make sure you are ready to sit your exam before or 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 have your admission document/placement letter with you. This can be a paper copy or an electronic version that you can present on a mobile device.

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 the Exams team.

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.

If you are sitting your exam at a test centre (not remote delivered) 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.

If you are sitting your exam at a test centre (not remote delivered) 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 (for face to face exam delivery), 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. For face to face exam delivery, 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 (face to face) that might be difficult for you. If this happens, we may need to ask you to withdraw from the exam - see above.

Complaints and feedback

See our for information on how to make a complaint or provide feedback.