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
20 August 2019

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 exam 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)
2019.3 AKP 12 September 2019*

Opened between 24 and 27 June 2019

Now closed
2019.3 FOP/TAS 9 October 2019

Openings based on country:

  • 22 July 2019 - KSA, Jordan, Oman, Qatar
  • 23 July 2019 - Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Sudan*
  • 24 July 2019 - Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Mynamar
  • 25 July 2019 - UK, Republic of Ireland, Trinidad, India, Sri Lanka
7 August 2019
2020.1 AKP 15 January 2020 From 21 October 2019 4 November 2019
2020.1 FOP/TAS 12 February 2020 From 18 November 2019  2 December 2019
2020.2 AKP 13 May 2020 From 24 February 2020 9 March 2020
2020.2 FOP/TAS 17 June 2020 From 23 March 2020 6 April 2020
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 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 has a fixed number of places. When you apply online, you can select your preferred centre(s) 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.

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

Once an application is confirmed and paid, transfers between test centres are not possible. We will only be able to process any cancellation requests after the application period.

Test centres in UK and Republic of Ireland

These cities and towns currently offer test centres at some exam sittings:

  • Aberdeen
  • Bedford
  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Blackburn
  • Bristol
  • Canterbury
  • Chesterfield
  • Cardiff
  • Crawley
  • Crewe
  • Dublin
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • London - multiple test centres, depending on the number of candidates
  • Manchester
  • Milton Keynes
  • Newcastle
  • Northampton
  • Nottingham
  • Preston
  • Reading
  • Rotherham
  • Taunton
  • Warrington
  • Wetherby

Not all test centres will offer the exam at each sitting. We may offer alternative centres, or more than one test centre in a city or region. If test centres are filled quickly during an application period, we may be able to add more centres.

Test centres in other countries

These countries currently offer test centres at some exam sittings:

  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Hong Kong
  • India - Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi
  • Jordan
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal (FOP/TAS only for 2018-19. AKP to be introduced in late 2019)
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia - (Test centres will open in a specific order depending on the number of candidates. Those 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

UK and Republic of Ireland

Candidates applying in the UK and Republic of Ireland must pay by debit or credit card.


  Exam fee 2019

Foundation of Practice (FOP) - single paper £317
Theory and Science (TAS) - single paper £317
FOP and TAS - both papers £535
Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) £535

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

Candidates may pay by credit card, or a debit card that is linked to a UK bank account. If you are unable to pay by card, we can also accept a cheque or bank draft.

Jordan, Kuwait, Malta, Qatar, Sri Lanka and Trinidad currently only provide RCPCH theory examinations. India, Malaysia, KSA, UAE, Oman, Mynamar, Sudan and Singapore provide both theory and clinical examination test centres.

Exam Exam fee 2019
FOP - single paper £390
TAS - single paper £390
FOP and TAS - both papers £653
AKP £750

Egypt and Nepal

Candidates may pay by credit card, or a debit card that is linked to a UK bank account. If you are unable to pay by card, we can also accept a cheque or bank draft.


Exam fee 2019

FOP - single paper £363
TAS - single paper £363
FOP and TAS - both papers £589
AKP £683

Hong Kong (HK)

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

Exam Exam fee 2019
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.

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

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.

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
  • 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 in these ways:

  • online by credit card
  • online by debit card (this must be with a UK bank account)
  • bank draft - only available to candidates outside the UK and Republic of Ireland; we must receive payment within five working days of the date you submit your application.

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

  • *. a. b. c. d. We are not opening applications for AKP 2019.3 in Sudan due to the political situation in country. We will continually review the situation and update this page about FOP/TAS 2019.3 before that application period.