Theory exams for the MRCPCH and DCH - how to apply

Our theory exams are computer-based and take place three times a year in the UK and overseas. If you are taking one or more theory exams for MRCPCH or Diploma of Child Health, find out when and how to apply, what times they start and finish, what to bring on the day and what to expect after the exam.
Last modified
23 March 2020

Update - impact of COVID-19 outbreak

23 March 2020

We have taken the extremely difficult but necessary decision to postpone all scheduled MRCPCH and DCH examinations in the UK and internationally from now until the end of August 2020.

This includes two upcoming theory exams, AKP on 13 May and FOP/TAS on 17 June. We are writing to all affected candidates with more details.

Read more information

Three exams

There are three theory exams, which you may sit in any order:

  • Foundation of Practice (FOP)
  • Theory and Science (TAS)
  • Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP)

Get your exam account

Your first step is to make sure you are registered for exams.

You will need an RCPCH online account. Once logged in, go to My account and follow the links to register for exams. You will need to complete a short form demonstrating your eligibility.

You can then apply for an exam sitting during an application period.

More about how to get your exam account

Log in or create your account

Dates of exams and application periods

The first day you can apply depends on the country in which you wish to sit the exam. Please see the detail below.

Some tips:

  • Please do not log in in the days immediately before your country’s application opening. (This help avoid technical problems.)
  • Make sure you book the correct test centre. If you book the wrong centre, we cannot transfer you to an alternative.
  • Make sure you register for your exam account at least 10 working days before the application period opens. We are unable to process registrations during an application period. 
Exam Exam date Applications open (09:30 UK local time) - exact date varies by country Applications close (16:00 UK local time)
2020.1 AKP 15 January 2020

Between 21 and 24 October 2019

Closed 4 November 2019
2020.1 FOP/TAS 12 February 2020*

Between 18 and 21 November 2019

Closed 2 December 2019
2020.2 AKP 13 May 2020

Postponed - see more details

2020.2 FOP/TAS 17 June 2020

Postponed - see more details

2020.3 AKP 16 September 2020 From 22 June 2020 6 July 2020
2020.3 FOP/TAS 14 October 2020 From 27 July 2020 10 August 2020

Dates and locations are subject to change. If we make any changes, we will update this page. You can also follow @rcpch_trainees on Twitter.

Test centres and availability

Our theory exams take place in test centres across the UK and in other countries. Each test centre has a fixed number of places. When you apply online, you select your preferred centre from those that are hosting the exam and that have available places.

We accept applications on a first come, first serve basis, and only before the closing date.

Once an application is confirmed and paid, transfers between test centres are not possible.

Test centres in UK and Republic of Ireland

We offer test centres in a variety of towns & cities across the UK. We open test centres based upon demand and not all test centres will be used for every exam and exam diet. We usually open test centres in the following locations:

  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Cardiff
  • Dublin
  • Edinburgh
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle

Further test centres will open based upon demand.

Test centres in other countries

These countries currently offer test centres at some exam sittings:

  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Oman
  • Pakistan (as of FOP/TAS 2020.1)
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia (centres in Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh are gender-specific and candidates must apply to the correct one)
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Trinidad
  • United Arab Emirates

Not all countries will offer the exam at each sitting. If you would like to request an exam in another country, please contact us on

Start and end times

FOP takes place in the morning. TAS takes place in the afternoon. They are held on the same day.

You can choose to apply to sit both examinations on the same day or apply to sit either FOP or TAS separately.

AKP consists of two papers on the same day.

Times in UK and Republic of Ireland (times in GMT)

Exam Start time End time End time (standard 25% additional time)
Foundation of Practice (FOP) 09:30 12:00 12:38
Theory and Science (TAS) 14:00 16:30 17:08
Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) Paper 1 09:30 12:00 12:38
Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) Paper 2 14:00 16:30 17:09

Times in other countries

These vary from country to country. You can find more detail on your admission document, which we will send you four weeks after the application period ends.

Exam fees

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.

UK and Republic of Ireland


  Exam fee 2020

Foundation of Practice (FOP) - single paper £320
Theory and Science (TAS) - single paper £320
FOP and TAS - both papers £540
Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) £540

India, Malaysia, KSA, UAE, Oman, Myanmar, Sudan, Singapore, Jordan, Kuwait, Malta, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Pakistan

Jordan, Kuwait, Malta, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Trinidad currently only provide RCPCH theory exams.

India, Malaysia, Nepal, KSA, UAE, Oman, Mynamar, Sudan and Singapore provide both theory and clinical exam test centres.

Exam Exam fee 2020
FOP - single paper £400
TAS - single paper £400
FOP and TAS - both papers £665
AKP £765



Exam fee 2020

FOP - single paper £370
TAS - single paper £370
FOP and TAS - both papers £600
AKP £695

Hong Kong (HK)

Candidates in Hong Kong must submit payment to the Hong Kong College exam organiser in HKD via a bank draft - find out more.

Exam Exam fee 2020
FOP - single paper TBC
TAS - single paper TBC
FOP and TAS - both papers



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.

Any evidence supporting your reasonable adjustment request can be uploaded with your exam application at the time of booking. Any further evidence requested or required will need to be received by the College at least seven weeks prior to the exam day.

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 in our exam regulations and rules.

For more information, contact us on or +44 20 7092 6000 (ask for Exams team).

How to apply

You can only apply on our online system. We do not accept paper, email or faxed applications.

Before you start

  • You must be registered for an exam account. See how to register
  • You can only apply during the application period, which is usually one week or longer. The application period always opens at 09:30 GMT (local time in the UK) on the first day and closes at 16:30 GMT on the last day. See dates above
  • We recommend you use a modern web browser, such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Mozilla or Edge. (Internet Explorer is not supported.) We also suggest using a desktop or laptop computer, and not a mobile device.
  • You can save your application and go back later. But you must submit your application by the deadline. Any applications that are not submitted will be deleted.
  • Once you submit your application, you will not be able to edit or delete this.

Go to your exam dashboard and application form

  • Log in to your account.
  • On your Account, go to the Exams panel, and follow links to apply.
  • First you'll see your exam dashboard, which shows your qualification progress - which exams you need to sit, and whether you have sat and passed each - and exams you may apply for - when the application period is open for your next exam(s).

Log in to apply

Complete the application form

  • First, read the guidance notes, and tick to acknowledge.
  • Check your details are correct. If you need to make changes, follow the link back to your dashboard where you can update your Personal details or your Work details. Then, go back to the Exams panel to restart your application.
  • Select your test centre - you will see a list of centres that still have availability.
    • UK and Republic of Ireland - You can select up to three different test centres (depending on availability), in first, second and third priority
    • Hong Kong - You can select the test centre in Hong Kong
    • India - You can select up to three different test centres (depending on availability), in first, second and third priority
    • Other countries - You can select one test centre.
  • If you have additional requirements, enter these - see notes below.
  • Read the data protection statement, and tick to acknowledge.
  • 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.

How to pay and confirm your place

We can confirm your exam place after we receive payment. After you submit your application, you can make a payment online by credit card, or by debit card linked to a UK bank account.

After we receive payment, we will send you an email to confirm your place. If you cannot find this email in your inbox, check your spam or junk folder. (We will email the admissions document, with full details for your test centre, four weeks after the application period.)

You can also track your application online. Sign in, go to Account and to the Exams panel, and follow the links to see My Exam Applications.

Please note: There have been a number of fraudulent credit card payments associated with RCPCH exam fee submissions in recent years. This has mainly been associated with overseas exam payments. We urge all candidates to use their own credit or debit cards when processing payments for exam sittings.

Candidates who use another individual’s card even with their full permission are putting themselves at risk. There have been a number of incidents where candidates have been given permission by a friend or colleague to use their card to process payment only to discover later that the card details provided are fraudulent. Should this happen to any candidate they will be refused entry to the exam they have applied for until such time as they have provided alternative payment. The College reserves the right to contact the relevant authorities, should this be felt necessary.

What to do before the exam day

Your test centre

We will email you an admissions document with the full address of your test centre.

We suggest you check the address and what journey you will take before the exam day. You may like to use an online map such as Google Maps to see where it is and what it looks like.

Your ID

You will need to bring one of the following forms of ID:

  • passport with photograph and signature - this must be current or no more than six months expired
  • valid driving license with photograph and signature
  • national identity card with photograph and signature.

Only original documents will be accepted. If you do not bring an original, or rather bring a photograph, scanned copy, photocopy or digital copy, you will not be permitted to sit the exam. If you are refused entry due to reasons related to your ID provided not meeting the requirements, you will not be eligible for any refund of your exam fees.

Practice with sample papers

To become familiar with the exam format and software, we recommend you practice with sample papers.

What to expect on the day

When you arrive

Make sure you are at the test centre by the registration time, which is on your admissions document.

The invigilator will check your original ID.

You will not be permitted to take anything into the exam room except for:

  • a clear bottle of water with a lid
  • ear plugs as a preventative measure to reduce potential noise disruption. It must be non-electronic, in ear earplugs such as those that are for sleeping or for swimming and are typically made of silicone or foam.

If you need anything else, you must include this request for reasonable adjustments on your online application.

Your personal belongings will be securely stored during the exam, and collect these 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.


Each exam is 2 hours and 30 minutes, unless you have been allocated additional time. If you are sitting both FOP and TAS on the same day, or the AKP, you will have a break between the two parts . If you are sitting one paper only, you will be able to leave after you finish.

Due to the timings of the exams in overseas test centres, it is sometime necessary to quarantine candidates to avoid collusion with other test centres.

If you arrive at the test centre after the exam has started but within the first 30 minutes of the exam, you will still be permitted to sit the exam but will not be given any additional time.

If you arrive after the first 30 minutes of the exam has passed you will not be permitted to sit the exam.

What will happen during the exam

The invigilator will ask you to enter exam room 10 minutes before the start of the exam. You will be seated at a computer.

The invigilator will give you a key-code, which you will enter on the computer. This will bring up your name, date of birth and RCPCH number. You will need to tick a box to confirm that the details are correct; this ensures the College knows this is your exam.

You will see an introduction page. You will need to read this and start your exam.

When you have finished your exam, click on Finish. If you do not do this before the time runs out, your responses will be uploaded.

The invigilator will let you know whether you can leave once you have finished your exam. Depending on your test centre, you may need to wait for the official exam finish time before you can leave.

If you have any questions or concerns during the exam, please raise your hand for the invigilator.

If you experience issues or difficulties

Please report these to the invigilator before you leave.

If you wish to submit a formal complaint, please read our complaint policy and complete a complaint form - you can find these in our exams regulations and rules.

After your exam

Your results will be available about five to six weeks after your exam.

A significant number of candidates do not pass their examinations on their first attempt. Do consider the effects of having to resit exams on your training timeframe.

If you work in the UK you may have up to six attempts to pass each of the exams for the MRCPCH. If you fail to pass an exam after six attempts, you will need to provide us with evidence of additional educational experience before being permitted to attempt that exam again. In the UK, this evidence should come from your deanery/LETB, usually provided by their educational supervisor.

There are no restrictions on the number of attempts for DCH candidates or for candidates working permanently in other countries.

More about exam results

  • *. The Hong Kong exam is cancelled