MRCPCH Clinical exam - how to apply

Find out when and how to apply to MRCPCH Clinical in the UK and overseas centres, how places are allocated and what to expect after you submit your application.

We are also providing information about adaptations to the exam in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last modified
14 October 2020

2020.3 diet - upcoming changes to exam delivery, circuit and stations (7 July)

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. 

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

2020.3 diet - update on dates (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.

Requirements before you apply

You will need to have passed all three theory exams before you can apply for MRCPCH Clinical.

To optimise your chances of success in the MRCPCH Clinical we strongly recommend that you have:

  • completed a period of training lasting two and a half years from the graduation date on your diploma of medical qualification
  • spent no less than 12 months in posts involving the care of emergency paediatric patients (it is desirable that at least six months in a post with a strong emphasis on responsibility for unselected emergency admissions) within the five years prior to your exam date - note this does include clinical attachments
  • spent six months of your first year after graduation as a house paediatrician; if not, an additional six months in a post involving the care of emergency paediatric patients.

Your sponsor

All MRCPCH Clinical candidates must be proposed by one sponsor (or proposer). The sponsor is expected to certify from personal knowledge and repute that the candidate has had a period of training in paediatrics which complies with the exam regulations and is considered ready to take the exam.

  • Ideally, your sponsor is your current educational supervisor or senior colleague with whom you have worked for at least a three month period.
  • Ideally, your sponsor is an RCPCH member or Fellow. We understand that this may not be possible for candidates outside the UK. In that case, it is appropriate to use a senior colleague who can testify that you have adequate experience and competence to achieve the standards required in MRCPCH Clinical.
  • Your sponsor will be notified if you receive a poor overall mark or receive an unprofessional conduct concern.
  • We expect MRCPCH Clinical exam candidate sponsors to refuse to sponsor candidates whose training or competence is considered unsuitable.

You must obtain permission from your sponsor to provide the information required below. You will be asked to provide:

  • full name
  • RCPCH number (if known / available)
  • relationship to you (for example, educational supervisor or senior colleague)
  • position (for example, senior consultant or professor)
  • place of work
  • email address.

Exam centres and availability

MRCPCH Clinical exams take place in hospitals across the UK and in other countries. Each exam centre has a fixed number of places per day. For those exams held in the UK availability of host centres may vary from exam diet to exam diet.

If your application is successful, we will email you an admissions document with the centre's full address approximately 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 cancellation requests after the application period closes.

Countries in which MRCPCH Clinical takes place

N.B. Not all countries will offer the exam during each exam diet (exam period).

  • UK
  • Egypt
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Oman
  • Singapore
  • Sudan
  • United Arab Emirates

Start and end times

For clinical examinations held in the UK the morning sessions normally start at 10:00 and finish at 12:30. The afternoon sessions normally start at 14:00 and finish at 16:30.

For clinical examination held overseas start and end times may vary slightly depending on the centre. This information will be provided to candidates in their admission/placement letter.

Fees

For all countries except Hong Kong, you will need to pay online by credit card or debit card.

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.

Exam 2020 exam fee
UK £773
Egypt £1,145
India £1,450
KSA £1,500
Malaysia £1,280
Myanmar £1,082
Nepal £1,082

Oman (You'll be required to pay an additional fee (68 OMR) to the local OMSB (Oman Medical Specialty Board) exam administrator. This can be paid on the exam day by cash or credit/debit card. For more information, contact localexams@omsb.org)

£1,500
Singapore (Conjoint MMED - MRCPCH Clinical fee) £1,450
Sudan £1,220
UAE £1,500
Hong Kong Contact HKCP for 2020 fee

Dates of exams and application periods

All application windows open at 9:30am and close at 4:30pm (UK time) unless otherwise noted.

2020.3 diet

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK exam is a month later than originally scheduled. The Malaysia exam, if it still goes ahead, will likely run in November rather than October.  Any other exam listed as still running might be postponed or cancelled at a later date.

Country Exam date Application open date Application close date
India Cancelled - -
KSA (Jeddah) Postponed - -
Singapore Cancelled - -
Malaysia Cancelled - -
Hong Kong Cancelled - -
UK 19 November - 29 November 3 August 2020 16 August 2020
UAE Postponed - -
Egypt Postponed - -

2021.1 diet

All 2021 exam dates are subject to our ability to safely run the exam as a result of COVID-19.  Therefore exam dates might change or exams might be postponed or cancelled. We will do our best to make such updates as early as we possibly can. Please check this page regularly for updates.

Please note, information on all 2021 overseas MRCPCH Covid Adapted Clinical Examinations is being finalised and will appear on these pages soon.

Country Exam date Application open date Application close date
KSA (Jeddah) TBD TBD TBD
Oman TBD TBD TBD
UK 15 February - 26 February 2021* 21 December 2020 6 January 2021
India (Kolkata) TBD TBD TBD
Hong Kong TBD TBD TBD
Malaysia TBD TBD TBD
Egypt TBD TBD TBD
Sudan TBD TBD TBD
KSA (Jeddah) TBD TBD TBD
Nepal TBD TBD TBD

*Please note that the placement letters for the 2021.1 UK exam will be sent 3 weeks prior to the exam start date, rather than our usual 4 weeks.

2021.2 diet

Country Exam date Application open date Application close date
UAE TBD TBD TBD
Singapore TBD TBD1 TBD
Malaysia TBD TBD TBD
UK 14 - 25 June 2021 8 April 2021 19 April 2021
Myanmar TBD TBD TBD

2021.3 diet

Country Exam date Application open date Application close date
Egypt TBD TBD TBD
KSA (Jeddah) TBD TBD TBD
India (Bangalore) TBD TBD TBD
Singapore TBD TBD TBD
Malaysia TBD TBD TBD
Hong Kong TBD TBD TBD
UK 25 October - 5 November 2021 21 July 2021 5 August 2021
UAE TBD TBD TBD
Egypt TBD TBD TBD

Before you apply

  • Find out when the next MRCPCH Clinical is in your location - see upcoming exams above.
  • You can only apply during the application period, which for UK exams is usually two to three weeks. Overseas application periods are normally no longer than two days. Application periods will open at 09:30 GMT (local time in the UK) on the first day and close 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 this.
  • Places for MRCPCH Clinical are limited, and submitting your application does not guarantee a place. You may be given a place on any date within the exam period. UK candidates may be placed anywhere in the UK; this depends on the availability of host centres, previous posts and attendance at preparatory courses.
  • If you choose to withdraw your application after the application period, we cannot guarantee a refund of your exam fees.
  • If your application is successful and you are placed, we will send an automated request for you to provide your payment details. Should you be selected for placement you will have a limited amount of time to log back into the booking system and update your application with your payment information. Once submitted the Exams Team will review and process your payment but only after the application period closes. If your application is unsuccessful, we will not request payment and we will inform you of your status as soon as we are able to.
  • RCPCH reserves the right to bar a candidate from sitting any exam where there exist reasons to doubt the candidate's fitness to hold MRCPCH. Such reasons include falsifying country of work/residence or previous qualifications or experience. We check this information and will take action against candidates where there is evidence of falsification.

Allocation of places - UK clinical centres

The MRCPCH is important to the career progression of doctors working in paediatrics in the UK, in particular those who are registered on the UK paediatric training programme. It is therefore important this is recognised in the criteria for allocating candidate places for MRCPCH Clinical in the UK.

Places are allocated using the following criteria, in this order:

  1. Applications from candidates working in the UK that are at a career critical stage, ie outcome 3 or 4 of the last Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP), which must be confirmed by the LETB/deanery (see below for further information)
  2. Applications from candidates working in the UK based on current stage of training (for example, ST3 prioritised over ST2)
  3. Applications from candidates working in the UK who are not UK trainees
  4. Applications from candidates living, but not working, in the UK 
  5. Applications from candidates working overseas in countries where the exam is not offered (with priority given to those nearing the end of their 7 year registration period)
  6. Applications from candidates working overseas in countries where the exam is offered (with priority given to those nearing the end of their 7 year registration period)

Candidates who are UK Trainees will be asked on the application form whether their application is career critical and asked to provide their current ST level.  For our purposes, career critical means anyone who has already progressed to ST4 (without the exam), or who is expected to step up to ST4 in the next six months.  Please only indicate you are career critical if these criteria apply to you.  We are working with the Heads of School to identify and confirm Career Critical trainees. There may also be exceptional circumstances such as pending parental leave or planned medical leave where a trainee is more than six calendar months from stepping up, but where a later examination date is not possible. These circumstances will need to be discussed on a case to case basis with the Exams team. If you are unsure if you are career critical or have exceptional circumstances, please contact the Exams team at exams@rcpch.ac.uk.

If you are not initially allocated a place, you will be placed on a waitlist for the exam you have applied for, in order of the criteria above. If any placed candidates withdraw or more places are made available, candidates on the waitlist will be contacted and offered these places, in order, up to two weeks before the exam.

Allocation of places - overseas clinical centres

Places for the MRCPCH Clinical exams held overseas are allocated using the following criteria, in this order:

  1. Applications from candidates within the host country and who are nearing the end of their 7 year registration period 
  2. Applications from candidates in countries where there is no established MRCPCH clinical exam and who are nearing the end of their 7 year registration period
  3. Applications from candidates within the host country
  4. Applications from candidates in countries where there is no established MRCPCH Clinical host centre
  5. Applications from candidates in countries where there is an established MRCPCH Clinical host centre and who are nearing the end of their 7 year registration period
  6. Applications from candidates in countries where there is an established MRCPCH Clinical host centre.

Please note:

  • Priority is given to candidates whose main employment is in the host country. If your main role is in one country but you are a national of another, or if you occasionally locum or have a short-term position in another country, please only list your main role and country on your application form and RCPCH account. 
  • Although you may be on the waiting list this does not guarantee that you will be allocated a place for a particular examination sitting.
  • If your application is placed on the waiting list, it will remain on this until two weeks before the exam, unless you inform the College in writing that you want to withdraw. If you are on the waiting list, you may not apply to other exam centres.
  • You must include testimonials for proposers who do not hold the relevant qualifications with your application for the clinical exam. Please see information about additional requirements below.

Reasonable adjustments

If you require support for your exam, you will need to include details in your online application. If you request any support, we'll contact you during or shortly after the application period to discuss this.

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.

If this is your first attempt at the clinical exam you will need to complete a separate Request for reasonable adjustment section, 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.

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

Getting to the exam booking system

Our new online booking system went live in September 2019. We recommend you use a modern browser such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Safari - and not Internet Explorer.

To access:

  • Log in to your RCPCH account.
  • Go to Account (a link in the header).
  • From your dashboard, go to the Exams block, and click on Register or book exams.
  • The first time you access the new booking system, you'll see a launch screen. Click continue.

Once you get to the booking system, you'll see a dashboard with:

  • Exam progress - This shows for either or both MRCPCH and DCH route which exams you need to take and which you have passed. (When you first log in, this may not be up to date - if that happens, log out and log back in again, and it should update.)
  • Available bookings - This shows exams you are eligible to apply for and that are currently taking bookings. If your seven year exam registration period has expired, you will be directed to re-sit your Applied Knowledge in Paediatrics (AKP) theory exam.
  • My recent bookings - This shows your saved applications.

Applying for an exam

  • In the exams booking system, find the exam you wish to apply for in your list of available bookings, select View.
  • Then, select Apply.
  • So we can place you on the exam, you'll need to complete:
    • Country of residence
    • Current hospital / workplace
    • Start date of current employment and end date (if known)
    • Past hospital / workplace (please list your previous employment if you have been in your current post for less than 18 months)
    • Future hospital / workplace (if you have any confirmed future posts)
    • Details of any exam preparation courses you have or are planning to attend
    • Details of a sponsor who can confirm your readiness to sit the MRCPCH Clinical exam
    • Details of any reasonable adjustments required.
  • When complete, select Submit. (If you have not completed all fields, you'll see a notice at the top of the screen.)

After you submit your application, you'll be sent a confirmation email. Your booking system dashboard will show that your application is waiting for placement. You don't need to make a payment at this stage.

Paying for an exam

If you are allocated a place on the exam, you'll be sent another email to log in and make your payment by credit or debit card. This will take up to three or four weeks after the application period.

  • When you get the email, log in and go to the exams booking system.
  • Go to My bookings to find your application, and select View.
  • Select Card payment and then Continue to payment, and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you are allocated a place on the exam, you'll be sent another email to log in to and make your payment. Please allow three to four weeks for this second email.

For candidates applying to centres in Hong Kong and Singapore

Candidates in the UK and most clinical exam centres in other countries (including Egypt, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and UAE) can only apply through our online system. We do not accept paper, email or faxed applications for these countries - even if you have previously applied for a clinical exam in this way.

Candidates applying to the Hong Kong and Singapore exams must complete a paper application form and submit it directly to the host centre (details below). You can download the form at the bottom of this page. Please do not send paper applications to the RCPCH.

Hong Kong - host contact information

Singapore - host contact information

  • Contact: Mr Tan Beng Kong Nicholas
  • Telephone: 0065 6601 1990
  • Email: gsmtbk@nus.edu.sg
  • Website: Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Postal address: Mr Tan Beng Kong Nicholas, Division of Graduate Medical Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Blk MD3, Level 2, 16 Medical Drive, Singapore 117597

What happens after you submit your application

If your application is successful

We will get in touch to request 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 cancellation, 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 your application is rejected

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.

What to do 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.

Exam results

The results are published to your website account within six weeks of the exam date. For overseas centres, this process can take up to eight weeks. Log in to your account to view your results.

A results letter with detailed feedback will follow the week after the results are published online. 

More about exam results

Withdrawals, transfers, complaints and feedback

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.

  • If you withdraw after you submit an application but before the application period closes, you will not be charged.
  • If you withdraw after you have been placed and wish to request a refund you will need to include supporting evidence with your request. Requests must be received no later than 14 days after the exam date. Any refund that may be granted will depend on supporting evidence and is at the discretion of the Examinations Manager/Examinations Executive Committee.

Please refer to the exams regulations and rules for more details on 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 (UK centres only)

After you receive notification of your placement you may wish to make a request to transfer or change your 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 any specific requirement you may have in your original application (e.g. a centre in the London area - not on a weekend) 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.

Complaints and feedback

See our exams regulations and rules for information on how to make a complaint or provide feedback.