Question and scenario writing for examinations and assessments

Members work together with our staff to write questions and scenarios for MRCPCH examinations and assessments. If you're a member with MRCPCH, why not join an upcoming Question Setting Group (QSG) or become an assessor? It's a great opportunity to support the next generation of paediatricians.

Writing questions for MRCPCH theory exams

New questions for the theory exams (Foundation of Practice, Theory & Science and Applied Knowledge in Paediatrics) are written at local QSG meetings. These take place at least once a year in each College region.

A Senior Theory Examiner or Principal Area Theory lead (PAT) facilitates the meeting and guides question writers as they work in small groups to produce new questions for our 'banks'. The PAT reviews all questions before submitting them to the College for review. 

If you're a member with MRCPCH, get involved. We reimburse all reasonable travel expenses, but cannot cover accommodation costs. And, to help you prepare, we have an online tutorial.

To register interest, contact

Principal Area Theory Lead contacts and QSG dates for 2019

Region QSG dates 2019 Lead Email
East Midlands TBC Dr Pradip Thakker
London 1 March and 27 September Dr Richard Nicholl
North East England TBC Vacant  
North West England 24 May Dr Rabin Mohanty
North West England TBC Vacant  
Scotland (Aberdeen) TBC Dr Medhat Ezzat
Scotland (Glasgow) TBC Dr Brian Kelly  
South England 12 June Dr Antoinette McAulay
Scotland (Edinburgh) TBC Dr Paul Eunson  
Wales 19 June Dr Gillian Body
West Midlands 29 May Dr Chizomam Agwu

About MRCPCH Theory questions

You can find out more about our theory exam syllabus, but here are some brief points:

  • FOP - The questions comprise primarily conditions that are likely to be seen in the first six to 12 months of hospital, community or primary care practice. This exam focuses on the areas of child health that are relevant to all those who will be working with children in their medical careers, not just those entering mainstream hospital-based paediatrics. FOP also forms the theory component of the Diploma in Child Health (DCH) examination.
  • TAS - The emphasis is to test the basic scientific, physiological and pharmacological principles upon which clinical practice is based.
  • AKP (parts 1 and 2) - This tests judgment and experience. Each paper contains case history, data interpretation and photographic questions.

Writing communication scenarios for MRCPCH Clinical

The Communication Group writes these scenarios. They are roleplayer-based assessments aimed at testing the communication skills of candidates in a wide range of areas such as communication with a colleague, dealing with professional errors and giving information to teenagers.

For more information, scroll down to download the template.

To register interest, contact

Writing video scenarios for MRCPCH Clinical

The Video Group films, writes and edits questions  for this station. It is intended to assess candidates' skills in dealing with acute cases that cannot be brought into the exam - for examples, babies that are fitting and acute conditions such as ITP.

Video questions can be written at the Examination and Assessment Boards and Principal Regional Examiner (PRE) meetings provided a member of the Video Group is in attendance. Video production and filming is tightly controlled for security. We advise prospective filmers on current policy.

To find out more, contact


RCPCHStart (Specialty Trainee Assessment of Readiness for Tenure) is primarily an assessment of Clinical Decision Making and of Level 3 competencies not assessed elsewhere. It takes the form of an OSCE involving 12 stations and up to 36 trainees per round and aims to assess certain competencies such as communication, management of complexity and decision making.

Stations are centred around either a general or sub-specialty scenario, and involves the trainee reading the scenario prior to entering the station and discussing it with the assessor. There may also be elements of role playing within the station.

Scenarios are normally generated and reviewed at the RCPCH Examination Boards by a group of clinicians made up of members of the core RCPCHStart panel and CSAC members.

Find out more about becoming an RCPCHStart assessor