Theory exams for the MRCPCH and DCH - how to apply

Our theory exams for MRCPCH and Diploma of Child Health take place three times a year in the UK and overseas. This page explains when and how to apply, what times they start and finish, what to bring on the day and what to expect after the exam.

The theory exams are taken on a computer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the 2020.3 diet candidates will have the option to take the exam at a test centre with appropriate social distancing, or at one’s own home or workplace with online invigilation.
Last modified
14 September 2020

Updates - impact of COVID-19

1 July 2020 - delivery for 2020.3 diet

We can now confirm full details of theory exam delivery for this year’s third diet (2020.3). We will offer candidates two options for taking the exam, and you can read more in our candidate guides: 

You can also find out more about both options in our frequently asked questions.

A series of addendums and additions to the exams rules and regulations are in place to account for the expanded delivery methods. You should read through them, in conjunction with the full rules and regulations, before you book your exam.

11 June 2020

We delayed the application window for all theory exams in this year's third diet (2020.3). This gives us time to explore all options to safely deliver the exams. See new application dates below.

23 March 2020

We postponed all scheduled MRCPCH and DCH exams in the UK and internationally from now until the end of August 2020. This included the AKP on 13 May and FOP/TAS on 17 June. We wrote to all affected candidates with further details.

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 register for exams.

Log in to or create your RCPCH account. Once logged in, go to My account and follow the links to register for exams. You'll then need to complete a short form to demonstrate you are eligible to take these exams.

Once registered, you can apply for an exam sitting during an application period (see next section).

Read more about how to get your exam account

Dates of exams and application periods 2020 and 2021

Exam Exam date Applications open (09:30 UK local time) - date can vary by country and option Applications close (16:00 UK local time)
2020
AKP
2020.3 
16 September 2020 20 July 2020 (all locations) 27 July 2020 - closed
FOP/TAS
2020.3
14 October 2020

From 17 August 2020

31 August 2020 - closed
2021

AKP
2021.1

13 January 2021 We anticipate applications will open between 2 November - 16 November TBD
FOP/TAS
202.1
10 February 2021 We anticipate applications will open between 30 November - 14 December TBD

AKP
2021.2

19 May 2021 February 2021 TBD

FOP/TAS
2021.2

9 June 2021 March 2021 TBD

AKP
2021.3

15 September 2021 June 2021 TBD

FOP/TAS
2021.3

13 October 2021 July 2021 TBD

Note All information about theory exams in 2021 is subject to change. Application windows will be updated closer to opening.

You'll find more information on how to apply below. Some quick tips:

  • You'll need to register for your exam account at least 10 working days before the application period opens. We're unable to process registrations during an application period.
  • When you apply online, make sure you book the correct test centre. If you book the wrong centre, we cannot transfer you to an alternative.  
  • 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 delivery

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.

For 2020.3, we have two options for taking the exam:

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/online invigilation are not possible.

We currently delivery theory exams in these countries (candidates in other countries may also apply to sit at a test centre of their choice, or via online delivery - but any technological or travel restrictions are at their own risk):

  • Europe
    • UK - test centres across the country
    • Republic of Ireland
    • Malta
  • Middle East and North Africa
    • Bahrain
    • Egypt (online invigilation not available)
    • Jordan
    • Kuwait
    • Oman
    • Qatar
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Sudan (online invigilation not available)
    • United Arab Emirates (online invigilation not available)
  • South Asia and Far East
    • Hong Kong
    • India
    • Malaysia
    • Nepal 
    • Pakistan
    • Singapore
    • Sri Lanka
  • Caribbean
    • Trinidad

Please note, we may not run all test centres in all countries at every examination sitting.

Start and end times

FOP and TAS are held on the same day; FOP in the morning; TAS in the afternoon. 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 taken on the same day.

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

These are the same for both options: test centre delivery and online invigilation.

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.

Those taking the option for online invigilation will start at 07:00, UK time. (So, your start time will depend on your time zone.) It is your responsibility as the candidate to ensure you are ready to start at the correct time.

To be clear, the overseas local start time for your examination will depend on what time zone you are in. You must check what your local start time is, prior to the examination.

Exam fees

The fees differ by country, and details are below. The fees are the same for both delivery options: test centre and online invigilation.

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 do not 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

  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

Egypt

Exam

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 4,700HKD
TAS - single paper 4,700HKD
FOP and TAS - both papers

7,600HKD

AKP  8,800HKD

Additional requirements / reasonable adjustments

If you need support for your exam, include details in your application. We'll contact you during or shortly after the application period to discuss requirements.

Any evidence supporting your reasonable adjustment request must be uploaded with your exam application at the time of booking.

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.

Candidates who chose to take the examination via online invigilation should still submit reasonable adjustment requests via their online application – accounting for any potential additional requirements they may need to facilitate sitting the exam online (such as screen reading software or similar). As with all requests, we will be as flexible as possible to accommodate evidenced, reasonable requests.

Find the policy in our exam regulations and rules.

For more information, contact us on exams@rcpch.ac.uk 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. Do this at least 10 days before the application window. 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 Google Chrome. Internet Explorer is not supposed. We also suggest using a desktop or laptop computer, and not a mobile device.

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).
  • You should select the method of delivery (test centre or online delivery) and then the location in which you wish to sit your examination.

Complete the application form

  • Read all the information carefully
  • Complete all fields as fully as possible
  • Once you have completed all forms and declarations and are happy with your application, you will need to click through the application form to pay via debit or credit card.
  • Your place will be reserved for 10 minutes whilst you complete your application and payment. After 30 minutes your draft application will be removed and you will need to re-start your application.

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, three - four weeks before your examination day.)

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.

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

Admissions documents

We will email you an admissions document about 3-4 weeks before the exam day.

For the test centre with social distancing: your admissions document will include 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.

For the online invigilation: your admissions document will include signposting to important documents and instructions, as well as the UK start time of your examination. You are responsible for working out your local start time prior to the examination.

Your ID

You will need to bring or show 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 / show an original, or if you bring a photograph, scanned copy, photocopy or digital copy, you will not be permitted to sit the exam.

If you are refused entry / start due to reasons related to your ID 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. These are not an indication of the length of the examination or the difficulty of the questions and are only to be used to familiarise yourself with the format of delivery. They are applicable for both online delivery and test centre delivery.

What to expect on the day

Find out more by looking at our pages about delivery options:

If you experience technical difficulties on the day, please seek the support of your invigilator. If you believe that any technical difficulties have adversely affected your performance in the examination, please see our Complaints and Appeals policy.

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

Complaints and feedback

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