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.

DCH Clinical exams are currently being delivered online, and detail is provided on this page.
Last modified
8 December 2022

Current exam delivery method - online delivery

Since October 2020, DCH Clinical has been delivered remotely. We are continuing all preparations for future DCH Clinical exams 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 current DCH Clinical examination candidate guide provides candidates with general guidance on how to prepare for all station types.

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.

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.

Availability

DCH Clinical exams are delivered through an online assessment platform over a number of days within a specified period of time. There are currently two exam periods or diets per year. Candidates in the UK and overseas that are eligible to apply can find out more information in relation to the application process below. We are currently only able to accommodate a maximum of 16 candidates per day and the number of days that DCH Clinical exams are held within any exam period is reliant on the availability of examiners. For example, over the last year and a half, we have only been able to resource a maximum of 6 days.

Candidates should carefully consider whether they are able to meet the minimum technical specification requirements of sitting the DCH Clinical online before they submit an application. Candidates will not only need to ensure they meet certain technical requirements for software and hardware but will also need to be confident that they have a reliable internet connection. The minimum technical requirements are listed below under 'Additional information needed for remote delivery'.

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.

  • 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 three weeks 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 that you would prefer to be placed on, 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 DCH 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
  • other more complex arrangements. Please note: complex arrangements require time. If required you must contact us at clinicalexams@rcpch.ac.uk 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 clinicalexams@rcpch.ac.uk or +44 20 7092 6000 (ask for the Clinical Assessments team or the DCH Clinical Administrator).

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).

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).

Fees (2023)

Candidates 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/OS £575

Dates of upcoming exams and application periods (2022)

As detailed at the top of this page, DCH Clinical exams held throughout 2022 will be delivered through an online platform.

Country Exam date Application opens Application closes

UK and overseas (online delivered)

9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 May 2023 30 January 2023 17 February 2023
UK and overseas (online delivered) November/December 2023 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 the 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:

  • you may be given a placement on any date within the exam week/period
  • you may not receive details of your exam date/session 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 a refund unless supported by evidence. If you withdraw before the application closing date the exam fee will not be processed
  • places are 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.
  • Tick to agree for your data being shared in accordance with the RCPCH Exams privacy statement
  • Tick to declare that everything included in the application is true
  • Tick to confirm that you have read and understood the RCPCH Exams Rules and Regulations (this includes all appendices and it is important to highlight the Malpractice Policy for Exams and Assessments)
  • Tick to acknowledge that your device/hardware meets the specifications required to sit the exam
  • Tick to confirm responsibility to secure a reliable internet connection
  • Tick to agree to allow remote examination software to access my computer

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

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, Osler. In the Downloads box below we have provided you with a document to help you prepare for setup and technical requirements before the exam day:

  • Preparing for your exam on Osler

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.

In advance of the assessment, you must complete a certain technical checks which are listed below. You should also ensure you meet the following requirements. Candidates who have not undertaken these checks before applying will not be eligible for a refund if they later discover that they do not meet the requirements so please ensure you have taken the time to thoroughly check this in advance of submitting an application.

Osler Online is an online application. Your computer set-up must meet the following technical requirements for it to work:

  • Laptop or PC only – Osler Online will currently NOT work with tablets or mobile devices
  • Windows or Mac operating systems only
  • Windows 7 or newer
  • Sierra 10.12 or newer
  • Webcam and microphone enabled
  • If using headphones, over the head headphones should be used. Headphones with a microphone in the cord, e.g., iPhone headphones, should not be used as they can scratch off clothes and hair and cause feedback.
  • Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768
  • If you are using a portable laptop, please make sure it is fully charged prior to the start of your exam.

Internet requirements

For your exam you will need stable internet connection. A wired connection is preferred, however, WiFi should be adequate as long as you have good signal and are situated near the router.
The minimum recommended bandwidth for Osler Online is 1.5mbps (upload and download), which should be supported by most broadband and fibre internet providers.
If you are using internet that is shared with others, we recommend that you politely ask other users to limit or stop their usage during your exam as to not affect your internet quality.

How to check your bandwidth

Your bandwidth speeds can be tested online for free. Visiting a website such as speedtest will allow you to find your upload and download speeds.

Browser requirements

Osler Online only works through Google Chrome. Currently, no other browser is supported on the application.

If you do not use Google Chrome you will need to download it onto your PC or laptop. You can install it by visiting this web page.

Normally updates happen in the background when you close and reopen Google Chrome. But if you haven’t closed your browser in a while, you might see a pending update.
To update Google Chrome:

  • Open Google Chrome
  • At the top right, click More
  • Click Update Google Chrome
  • If you can’t find this button, you are already on the latest version
  • Click Relaunch to install update

Osler Online device check

Now you have checked your IT, internet and browser compatibility, you are ready to check your device on Osler Online. Before starting, please make sure that all other streaming platforms such as MS Teams or Zoom have been closed down beforehand.
To check your device on Osler Online, all you need to do is:

  • All users will receive an email from their Exam provider with log in details.
  • To log onto the program, first you will need to open this email.
  • If Chrome is not your default browser, please copy the URL and paste it in the search bar in Chrome and press enter.
  • Log in using your unique username and access pin
  • An automatic check of your camera, microphone, video connection and internet quality will be performed
  • Wait for all four icons to turn blue
  • If you receive any error messages while performing your Osler Online device check, please take a note or a screenshot of the error message and get in touch with the Osler technical support team on help@osleronline.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 we will check all requirements and begin the process of placement. If you are placed you will receive an email asking you to log back into 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/session in your exam dashboard.

You will be emailed a final placement letter/admission document with details, including a schedule, usually two-three weeks before the exam. Please do not make any arrangements, including booking an exam preparation course, before you receive notification of placement. Keep your admission document letter, as you will need it on the exam day (this has to be shown, with your ID, to the invigilator in your first exam station).

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 cancellation, we will contact you. This may be at very short notice, for example, two-three 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 online delivered exams.

Make sure you are ready to sit your exam before or by the registration time, which is on your admissions document. Candidates who login/access their exam after their exam circuit has begun will not be permitted to sit the exam. You must be ready to login for your exam approximately 1 hour before your stated exam start time. Please follow the instructions that will be provided to you in emails in the lead into your exam day.

Please keep all emails sent to you either from RCPCH or from Osler for your exam day. Candidates may also receive a link to a communication channel called SLACK. We use SLACK on exam days to contact candidates if they are experiencing technical difficulties.

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 us.

You will not be permitted to have anything with you in the private space where you are sitting your exam and your invigilator may ask you to undertake a room sweep by holding your device an moving it around the room so the invigilator can check that you do not have any prohibited items in the room with you. If you need any specific items with you on your exam day, you must include this request for reasonable adjustments in your online application.

Talking/communicating with other candidates during the examination circuit is not permitted. For more information on what is and isn't acceptable in relation to potential malpractice during the DCH Clinical online examination please ensure that you have read the Malpractice Policy included on the RCPCH Exam Rules and Regulations web page

Once you have logged onto the assessment platform you will be provided with a briefing. Once you have moved into your first station and we know that your device camera, mic and speakers are functioning properly you will have approximately 4 minutes in order to read the information/scenario for your first station. Once completing a station you will move to the next and again have 4 minutes reading time and this will repeat through all 8 stations. Once you have completed all stations you will move to a debriefing area for feedback.

Withdrawals, transfers and appeals

Requests for withdrawals

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

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

Requests for transfers or postponements

After you receive notification of your placement you may wish to request a change of exam date/session. If you do, please contact the Clinical Assessments team on clinicalexams@rcpch.ac.uk as soon as possible. If you are unable to transfer to an alternative date/session 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/session 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.