MRCP(UK) have now put in place agreed changes to the PACES exam, effective from 2020. Thankfully for those preparing to take the exams in 2020 diets, the changes are not drastic. The exam board have developed the current format, making some stations more realistic.
The MRCP PACES exam will test the same clinical skills, and there will remain five stations throughout the exam. The change comes through some tweaks to the stations themselves.
The changes are designed to make the exam better reflect the experience that patients expect from their doctor.
From the current format, the following stations are being removed and replaced:
Station 2 - history-taking
Station 4 - 20 minute single communication and ethics encounter
Station 5 - brief clinical consultations
The above will be replaced by:
Two 10-minute communication encounters assessing you on your communication skills. These encounters will no longer include a question and answer section with the examiners, the encounter will be judged on observation alone.
Two 20-minute clinical consultations will assess candidates across all seven skills. You will have 15 minutes to take a structured history, examine the patient, explain the likely diagnosis/management and then address any questions or concerns raised. There will then be a five-minute question and answer section with the examiners.
The new carousel will amend the sequencing of the encounters. Physical examination encounters will be aligned with communication encounters. This will ensure that examiners at each station contribute more judgements in each of the skills for each candidate improving reliability.
MRCP(UK) have created a set of useful videos to help explain the changes further: click here.