Exams and Qualifications

MRCP(UK): An Overview for International General Medicine Doctors

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The postgraduate qualification for overseas general medicine doctors applying for GMC registration is MRCP(UK)

The postgraduate qualification for international general medicine doctors applying for GMC registration is MRCP(UK). We’ve written an MRCP(UK) overview to help overseas GIM doctors better understand this postgraduate qualification.

What is MRCP(UK) qualification?

MRCP(UK) Part 1 overview

  • Entry requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • Marking
  • Dates, Locations and Costs
  • Royal College Resources

MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written overview

  • Entry requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • Written Marking
  • Dates, Locations and Costs
  • Royal College Resources

MRCP(UK) Part 2 Clinical (PACES) overview

  • Entry requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • Marking
  • Dates, Locations and Costs
  • Royal College Resources

What is MRCP(UK) qualification?

The Royal College of Physicians are the British professional body dedicated to improving the practice of medicine, chiefly through the accreditation of physicians by examination.

Split into three parts, the MRCP(UK) exams are designed to test the skills, knowledge and behaviour of general medicine doctors in training: 

  • MRCP(UK) Part 1
  • MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written
  • MRCP(UK) Part Clinical (PACES)

Success in all three parts of the MRCP(UK) exam will result in the award of the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians – MRCP(UK) – which entitles general medicine doctors to work in the UK from ST3 level and above.

For most hospitals across the NHS, the MRCP(UK) would be the preferred qualification however, opportunities are also available for general medicine doctors via the PLAB route.


MRCP(UK) Part 1 Overview

Entry Requirements

In order to enter the MRCP(UK) Part 1 exam, applicants will need to hold a GMC recognised Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ).

A minimum of 12 months’ postgraduate experience in medical employment is also required.

Exam Structure

MRCP(UK) Part 1 is designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the clinical sciences relevant to medical practice and of common or important disorders.

The exam is made up of two 3-hour papers, both are taken in one day and are sat in an examination hall.

Each paper is made up of 100 multiple choice questions (best of five), with the content of the examination being based on the blueprint detailed here.

For further information, including the likely number of questions under each broad clinical topic heading, click here

Marking

Candidates’ overall results are calculated using a process called equating. Instead of receiving an overall percentage score, all candidates are given an ‘overall scaled score’. 

The scaled score is calculated from the number of questions a candidate has answered correctly in the two examination papers and factors in the difficulty of the examination. 

The majority of candidates score between 200 and 800. The scaled ability pass mark MRCP(UK) Part 1 Standard Setting Group is 540

Dates, Locations and Costs

The Part 1 exam will cost:

  • £419 for candidates taking the exam in the UK
  • £594 for candidates taking the exam outside of the UK

In the UK, the exam can be taken in Edinburgh, Glasgow or London.

The exam can be taken in the following locations outside of the UK:

Bahrain (Manama)Iraq (Erbil)Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)
Bangladesh (Dhaka)Jordan (Amman)Singapore
Egypt (Cairo)Kenya (Nairobi)Sri Lanka
Ghana (Accra)Kuwait (Kuwait City)Sudan (Khartoum)
Hong KongMalaysia (Kuala Lumpur)United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)
Iceland (Reykjavik)MaltaUnited Arab Emirates (Dubai)
India (Chennai)MyanmarUnited States of America (New Jersey)
India (Hyderabad)Nepal (Kathmandu)West Indies (Barbados)
India (Kerala)Oman (Muscat)West Indies (Jamaica)
India (Kolkata)Pakistan (Karachi)West Indies (Trinidad)
India (Mumbai)Pakistan (Lahore)Zimbabwe (Harare)
India (New Delhi)Qatar (Doha)
Iraq (Baghdad)Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)

To see a full updated list of locations you are able to take the MRCP(UK) Part 1, please click here

For updated information on dates please click here

Royal College Resources

Practice papers for the MRCP(UK) Part 1 exam are available by clicking here. Once on the MRCP(UK) website, you will need to provide your email address.


MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written Overview

Entry Requirements

The MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written Examination can be taken by candidates in training who have passed the MRCP(UK) Part 1 Examination.

Exam Structure

The MRCP(UK) Part 2 written exam builds on the knowledge assessed in Part 1. 

The exam has been designed to test a candidate’s ability to apply clinical understanding, make clinical judgements and take responsibility in the following areas:

  • Prioritising diagnostic or problem lists
  • Planning investigation
  • Selecting a plan for immediate management
  • Selecting a plan for long-term management
  • Assessing prognosis.

The exam consists of two 3-hour papers each with 100 multiple choice (best of five) questions. Medical images are included in these papers and both exams are sat in an examination hall on the same day. 

Usually, the questions in the exam will include a clinical scenario. They may also include results of investigations.

The questions within the exams are broken into the following:

Cardiology19
Dermatology9
Endocrinology and metabolic medicine19
Gastroenterology19
Geriatric medicine9
Haematology9
Infectious diseases and GUM19
Neurology17
Nephrology19
Oncology and palliative medicine9
Ophthalmology3
Psychiatry3
Respiratory medicine19
Rheumatology9
Therapeutics and toxicology18
200

*please note that the above is an approximate and may vary slightly

Marking

As with the MRCP(UK) Part 1, candidates’ overall results are calculated using a process called equating. This is a statistical process based on Item Response Theory. It ensures that candidates receive comparable results for comparable performance in different parts of the examination.

The scaled ability score applied as the pass mark for the MRCP(UK) Part 2 Standard Setting Group is 454.

Dates, Locations and Costs

The Part 2 exam will cost:

  • £419 for candidates taking the exam in the UK
  • £594 for candidates taking the exam outside of the UK

In the UK, the exam can be taken in Edinburgh, Glasgow or London. Outside of the UK, the exam can be taken in the following locations:

Bahrain (Manama)Iraq (Erbil)Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)
Bangladesh (Dhaka)Jordan (Amman)Singapore
Egypt (Cairo)Kenya (Nairobi)Sri Lanka
Hong KongKuwait (Kuwait City)Sudan (Khartoum)
Iceland (Reykjavik)Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)
India (Chennai)MaltaUnited Arab Emirates (Dubai)
India (Hyderabad)Myanmar (Yangon)United States of America (New Jersey)
India (Kerala)Oman (Muscat)West Indies (Barbados)
India (Kolkata)Pakistan (Karachi)West Indies (Jamaica)
India (Mumbai)Pakistan (Lahore)West Indies (Trinidad)
India (New Delhi)Qatar (Doha)
Iraq (Baghdad)Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)

The test centres may differ slightly from the Part 1 exam centres. To see a full updated list of locations where you are able to take this exam, please click here

For updated information on dates, please click here

Royal College Resources

Practice papers for the MRCP(UK) Part 2 exam are available by clicking here. Once on the MRCP(UK) website, you will need to provide your email address.


MRCP(UK) Part 2 Clinical (PACES) Overview

Entry Requirements

In order to take the MRCP(UK) Part 2 Clinical Examination (PACES), candidates must have passed the MRCP(UK) Part 1 written exam within the last 7 years.

Exam Structure

The Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills (PACES) exam is designed to test a candidate’s clinical knowledge and skills to ensure that they are ready to provide a high standard of care to patients. 

The exam lasts half a day and is held in a clinical setting (hospital or clinical skills centre). It consists of 5 clinical stations and eight encounters. 

Candidates are able to start at any of the stations and will be given 20 minutes per station. There is a 5-minute period between each station. 

At each station they will be assessed by two independent examiners based on their encounters (interactions with either a patient or surrogate).

The stations are broken down as follows:

  • Station 1 (two encounters)

Respiratory system examination (10 minutes)

Abdominal system examination (10 minutes)

  • Station 2 (one encounter)

History taking skills (20 minutes)

  • Station 3 (two encounters)

Cardiovascular system examination (10 minutes)

Neurological system examination (10 minutes)

  • Station 4 (one encounter)

Communication skills and ethics (20 minutes)

  • Station 5 (two encounters)

Brief clinical consultation 1 (10 minutes)

Brief clinical consultation 2 (10 minutes)

At each of the five clinical stations, the examiners will assess you on the following 7 skills:

  • A – Physical Examination 
  • B – Identifying Physical Signs 
  • C – Clinical Communication 
  • D – Differential Diagnosis 
  • E – Clinical Judgement 
  • F – Managing Patients’ Concerns 
  • G – Managing Patient Welfare 

Different combinations of skills are assessed in each encounter. Please see the below breakdown:

StationEncounterSkills Assessed
1RespiratoryA:B:D:E:G
1AbdomenA:B:D:E:G
2HistoryC:D:E:F:G
3CardiovascularA:B:D:E:G
3Nervous SystemA:B:D:E:G
4CommunicationC:E:F:G
5Station 5 (1)All seven
5Station 5 (2)All seven
Marking

For each of the eight encounters the examiners will complete a marksheet based on the combination of skills. Each is graded:

Satisfactory +2 marks are given

Borderline +1 mark is given

To pass the MRCP(UK) Part 2 PACES, candidates must attain a minimum standard in each of the 7 skill areas. They must also reach a minimum total score of 130.

The minimum standard in each area is as follows:

SkillPass mark (% of marks available)
APhysical Examination16 (66.6%)
BIdentifying Physical Signs14 (58.3%)
CClinical Communication11 (68.7%)
DDifferential Diagnosis17 (60.7%)
EClinical Judgement19 (59.3%)
FManaging Patient Concerns10 (62.5%)
GManaging Patient Welfare28 (87.5%)

Note that the pass marks are set every 3 years, so these may be subject to change.

Dates, Locations and Costs

There are numerous test centres across the UK where this exam can be taken. To view these UK test centres, click here.

Alternatively, the exam can be taken in the following locations internationally:

BruneiKenya (Nairobi)Pakistan
EgyptKuwaitQatar
Hong KongMalaysia (Kuala Lumpur)Singapore
India (Bengaluru)Malaysia (Penang)Sri Lanka (Colombo)
India (Chennai)MaltaSudan
India (Hyderabad)Myanmar (Mandalay)United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)
India (Kochi)Myanmar (Yangon UM1)United Arab Emirates (Ajman)
India (Kolkata)Myanmar (Yangon UM2)United Arab Emirates (Dubai including Sharjah)
India (New Delhi)Oman

To see a full updated list of the locations and dates where you are able to take the MRCP(UK) Part 2 PACES, please click here

For a full list of costs per location, please click here

Royal College Resources

Across the UK, the number of hospital admissions continues to increase year on year. For this reason, General Medicine doctors are in high demand at ST3 level and above, with many exciting opportunities available across the UK.

If you’re a General Medicine doctor interested in working in the UK, or you’re looking for further information about the MRCP(UK) exam, please contact our team today.