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. Most candidates will take the exam at a test centre. Some candidates can apply to take the exams via online invigilation.
Last modified
1 December 2023

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)

First, get your exam account

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 2023


FOPTAS 2024.1 update - Applications for test centres only are open from 4 December to 17 December. Eligibility for online invigilation has changed, as explained in our rules and regulations (see number 21), and applications for online invigilation are open from 4 December to 8 December.

Exam Exam date Applications open (09:30 UK local time) - date can vary by country and option Applications close (16:00 UK local time)
AKP 2024.1 24 January 2024

Monday 6 November 2023 - Test centres in KSA, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, UAE

Monday 6 November 2023 - Online invigilation (UK and overseas)

Tuesday 7 November 2023 - Test centres in India, Pakistan, Trinidad, Sri Lanka

Wednesday 8 November 2023 - Test centres in UK, Malta, Malaysia

Friday 10 November - Online invigilation

Sunday 19 November - Test centres

FOP/TAS 2024.1 21 February 2024

Monday 4 December 2023 - Test centres in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE

Monday 4 December 2023 - Online invigilation (UK and overseas)

Tuesday 5 December 2023 - Test centres in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Trinidad

Wednesday 6 December 2023 - Test centres in UK, Malaysia, Singapore

Friday 8 December - Online invigilation

Sunday 17 December - Test centres

Note on India, Malaysia and Middle East centres

Due to post-pandemic cancellations and delays, there is a higher demand than usual for MRCPCH Clinical exam in these locations. Applicants should consider this when when applying for theory exams in these locations, particularly where there is no MRCPCH Clinical exam centre.

There is more information about 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/X.


    Exam Exam date Applications open (09:30 UK local time) - date can vary by country and option Applications close (16:00 UK local time)

    AKP 2023.1

    18 January 2023

    Exam taken place

    FOP/TAS 2023.1 15 February 2023

    Exam taken place


    AKP 2023.2

    17 May 2023 Exam taken place Closed

    FOP/TAS 2023.2

    21 June 2023 Exam taken place Closed

    AKP 2023.3

    20 September 2023

    Monday 3 July 2023 - Egypt, Jordan, KSA, Kuwait, Overseas Online Invigilation

    Tuesday 4 July 2023 - India, Pakistan, Additional Overseas Online Invigilation Seats

    Wednesday 5 July 2023 - Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE, Additional Overseas Online Invigilation Seats

    Thursday 6 July 2023 - UK, UK Online Invigilation

    Monday 17 July 2023

    FOP/TAS 2023.3

    18 October 2023

    Monday 7 August 2023 - Bahrain, Jordan, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Overseas Online Invigilation

    Tuesday 8 August 2023 - Malaysia, UAE, additional Overseas Online Invigilation seats

    Wednesday 9 August 2023 - Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, additional Overseas Online Invigilation seats

    Thursday 10 August 2023 - Hong Kong Online Invigilation, UK & ROI, UK & ROI Online Invigilation

    Monday 21 August 2023

      Exam 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.

      We have two options for taking the exam:

      From 2024.1, our application process for online invigilation is changing. We will only approve candidates for online invigilation if they meet our online eligibility requirements. Please see our Rules and Regulations page for more information.

      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 advised)
        • Jordan
        • Kuwait
        • Oman
        • Qatar
        • Saudi Arabia
        • Sudan (online invigilation not advised; we are working with the test centre to make appropriate risk assessments and mitigations to re-open the centre according to local conditions, but this is not currently possible and we will look into this again for 2023
        • United Arab Emirates (online invigilation not allowed)
      • South Asia and Far East
        • Hong Kong
        • India
        • Malaysia
        • Nepal
        • Pakistan
        • Singapore
        • Sri Lanka
      • Caribbean
        • Trinidad

      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 17:08

      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, the first paper 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. Candidates who log in late to their examination may not be able to start or complete their exam and will not be eligible for compensation.

      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. All fees are processed in UK£ and might be subject to currency fluctuations (see withdrawing section)

      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 fee 2024

      Foundation of Practice (FOP) - single paper £365
      Theory and Science (TAS) - single paper £365
      FOP and TAS - both papers £620
      Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) £620


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

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

      Exam Exam fee 2024
      Foundation of Practice (FOP) - single paper £455
      Theory and Science (TAS) - single paper £455
      FOP and TAS - both papers £755
      Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) £870

      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 2023 Exam fee 2024
      FOP - single paper 4700HKD 4700HKD
      TAS - single paper 4700HKD 4700HKD
      FOP and TAS - both papers


      AKP 8800HKD 8800HKD

      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 or +44 20 7092 6000 (ask for Theory & Standards / Theory Exam 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 (please note we use UK£ as currency used for exams, except Hong Kong, and currency fluctuations do occur affecting the nominal fee).

      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 some 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 many 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 they have provided alternative payment. The College reserves the right to contact the relevant authorities.

      Withdrawing from your examination

      Candidates should request to withdraw from their examination via the booking system. Please read the following information carefully to ensure you do not make any mistakes in the process.

      To withdraw

      1. Navigate to your exams booking system dashboard via your RCPCH web account.
      2. In the “My Recent Bookings” box, select the exam you wish to cancel by clicking “View”.
      3. Scroll to the bottom of the application form, where you will see a button called “Request Withdrawal”.
      4. Follow the instructions on screen to withdraw.

      During an application window

      • Any candidate who withdraws during the application window is entitled to a 100% refund, without providing a reason or evidence. This refund may be processed after the application window closes and will be subject to currency fluctuations so you may not get back the exact amount you had paid as the fee and refund are administered in UK£.
      • If you withdraw with the intent to rebook, please be aware that this may not be possible - further bookings can only be made once the place is confirmed to be withdrawn and we are not able to do this until the payment has been confirmed by our bank. Whilst we try to process withdrawals during application windows to allow candidates to rebook, we strongly recommend that candidates double-check before making payment as it may not be possible to process payments and withdrawals in time for candidates to rebook.
      • Please only confirm your withdrawal request if you are certain, we may be able to amend the request but the seat may not still be available.

      After an application window

      • We do not provide refunds for withdrawals after the application window has closed, except in exceptional circumstances (which may be affected by currency fluctuations as they are processed in UK£).
      • If you believe you have a reason to receive a partial refund due to exceptional circumstances, please include evidence at the point of requesting a withdrawal.
      • Any evidence submitted must be in English (or an attested translation) and clearly refer to the candidate.
      • Decisions on any refund provided are final.
      • We will not consider any refund for reasons due to being unable to travel or get a visa for travel for upcoming diets – it is entirely foreseeable that there will be problems/ restrictions on travel to other countries for exams due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and it is entirely the candidate’s responsibility to account for this when booking.

      After the examination

      • If, for any reason, you are not able to sit your examination, you will have up to 2 weeks to request a withdrawal after the exam day.
      • For candidates in the UK training programme, you must do this in order to avoid the attempt counting towards the GMC’s 6-attempt rule.
      • As with withdrawing after an application window, we do not provide refunds for post-examination withdrawals except in exceptional circumstances. If you believe you have exceptional circumstances, please submit your evidence at the point of withdrawal through the booking system.
      • Any evidence submitted must be in English (or an attested translation) and clearly refer to the candidate.

      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 twelve 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.

      Check out our videos for more tips on preparing for your theory exams

      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 six to seven 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 or head of school.

      There are no restrictions on the number of attempts for DCH candidates.

      More about exam results

      Complaints and feedback

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