MRCP(UK) - a guide for overseas medicine doctors

  • April 13, 2020
 

Here we take a closer look at the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians examinations (MRCP) for doctors who have chosen their specialism in medicine, including exam dates, fees and eligibility. 

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) from any country in the world can sit the MRCP examinations, provided certain eligibility criteria are met. These are summarised below along with a broad look at the following topics:


The Royal College of Physicians is the professional body responsible for the specialty of medicine throughout the UK. Amongst many other duties, its role is to set and monitor the educational curriculum for those training to enter the profession.


What is MRCP(UK)?

The MRCP examinations assess:

  • knowledge of basic medical sciences 
  • clinical skills required for the diagnosis and management of disease. 

The exams are designed to test both applied basic science and principles of medicine to the level of a UK trainee with two to three years postgraduate experience. 

Completion of MRCP will allow you to work in the UK from ST3 level upward (ST3+), with seniority beyond ST3 level dependent on experience.

MRCP is one of two routes an overseas doctor can take full GMC registration (postgraduate qualification or PLAB route). 

For doctors who wish to take more senior roles reflective of their current practice, IMG Connect advise that MRCP would be the best route to take. 


MRCP (UK) is a prerequisite to anyone wishing to go on to a specialist training post as a physician in the UK.


The MRCP exam has three parts as outlined below: 

  • MRCP Part 1 – two written papers
  • MRCP Part 2 – two written papers
  • MRCP PACES – practical assessment in a clinical setting

Eligibility for overseas doctors:

Part 1:

To be eligible you must have a GMC recognised Primary Medical Qualification and a minimum 12 months postgraduate experience in medical employment.

Part 2 & PACES: 

To be eligible you must have passed Part 1 within the last seven years.


Whilst it is not essential to successfully complete Part 2 to sit PACES, the Royal College strongly advises you to do so. 

To support this, pass-rates are much lower for those who sit PACES before passing Part 2.


MRCP(UK) Part 1: 

The entry-level examination is accessible to doctors with a minimum 12 months postgraduate experience in medical employment. 

It consists of: 

  • one-day examination
  • two three-hour papers
  • 200 multiple-choice (best of five) questions 
  • no imagery
  • sat in an examination hall

A more detailed look at Part 1 can be found here.

This will include examination centers, dates, fees and advice to give you the best chance to pass at first attempt.

MRCP(UK) Part 2

Part 2 can only be taken if you have passed Part 1 (building on the knowledge already assessed). 

The format at a glance:

  • two papers taken on one day
  • papers last three hours
  • 200 multiple choice questions
  • questions include images
  • sat in an examination hall

A more detailed look at Part 2 can be found here.

This will include examination centers, dates, fees and advice to give you the best chance to pass at first attempt.

MRCP(UK) PACES:

PACES applicants must have passed MRCP Part 1. However, we echo the Royal College guidance and strongly advise our doctors to take both Parts 1 & 2 before taking PACES.

PACES is based on a format that is similar to OSCEs, a practical assessment in a clinical setting. There are five clinical stations with either patients with a given condition, or trained stand-ins (surrogates). 

The format in brief:

  • half-day examination
  • takes place in a clinical setting (hospital or clinical skills centre)
  • assesses seven core skills
  • five stations 
  • eight patient encounters
  • two independent examiners at each station
  • each candidate is assessed independently by a total of 10 examiners

A more detailed look at PACES can be found here.

This will include examination centers, dates, fees to give you the best chance to pass at first attempt.

How do I prepare and what resources are available? 

With lots of resources available online, we have discussed with IMGs the best place to start looking for materials relating to the exams. Most IMGs recommended starting with the Royal College, who have created useful resources to help you to prepare for the exams. See below: 

Curriculum: Applicants are tested on a range of common and important disorders in General Medicine as set out in the Joint Royal Colleges Specialty Training Curriculum for Core Medical Training.

We recommend getting to know the curriculum as early as possible, and using it as a road map for your study plan. 

MRCP(UK) mock exams: We suggest registering for the MRCP mock exams here.

These will provide you with the most accurate and relevant mock questions to prepare you for the real thing.

Sample questions: Test your knowledge using example questions from the current exam syllabus provided by the Royal College, see below:

PACES content: prepare and practice example questions on the topics and skills covered in the PACES exam

For a useful overview of how to prepare for exams, including advice on study groups, online community support, best use of online resources & Royal College materials and courses, take a look at our blog: IMG Connects Top Tips for exam preparation 

How do I apply?

Applications for all exams are made online via My MRCP(UK) account.

You will simply need to create an account and submit evidence of your primary medical qualification, then make a payment online to confirm your application.

Application videos from the Royal College can be found below:

Part 1 & 2

PACES

Please note, the application process is a little different for those looking to sit the exam in Hong Kong. Further information can be found on the Royal College website here.

Fees for 2019:

Exam

UK Test Centres

Overseas Test Centres

Part 1

£419

£594 *

Part 2

£419

£594 *

PACES

£657

£1202 *

*the application process and fees applicable for Hong Kong and Singapore centres are different and applicants are encouraged to submit their application directly to the administration team for this centre.

Venues:

Exam

UK Test Centres

Overseas Test Centres

Part 1

&

Part 2

Edinburgh

Glasgow

London

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Egypt

Ghana

Hong Kong

Iceland

India

Iraq

Jordan

Kenya

Kuwait

Malaysia

Malta

Myanmar

Nepal

Oman

Pakistan

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Sri Lanka

Sudan

United Arab Emirates

United States of America

West Indies

Zimbabwe

PACES

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

Brunei

Egypt

Hong Kong

India

Kuwait

Malaysia

Myanmar

 

Malta

Oman

Qatar

Singapore

Sri Lanka

Sudan

United Arab Emirates

* Please note, exact locations change from each diet of PACES.

Dates of Exams:

Upcoming dates for the exams can be found using the following links:
Part 1

Part 2

PACES

Passed? What next?

First of all, congratulations! After you have passed all parts of MRCP(UK) you can apply for a full registration with a license to practice. Once the GMC have approved your application, you can work as a doctor in the UK. 

For further information on MRCP exams including structure, content, preparing, procedure, dates, locations and fees, see the following articles: 

MRCP(UK) Part 1 – a closer look

MRCP(UK) Part 2 – a closer look

MRCP(UK) PACES – a closer look


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