Preparing for PACES - where do I start? 

  • April 09, 2020

As an overseas doctor where should you start with your PACES exam preparation?

With lots of resources available online, we discussed with successful candidates for them the best place to start looking for exam materials. Whilst there are lots of fantastic courses available for IMGs to help pass their PACES exam first time, most IMGs recommended starting their preperation with free resources from the Royal College of Physicians. Using these will give you strong foundations to further suppliment with any further studies or courses which you may decdie to invest in.

We have provided the Royal College's official resources below:

It is recommended that to give yourself the best chance, you gain clinical experience involving care of emergency patients, adults and children.

We advise you to regularly invite senior colleagues to observe and provide feedback on your clinical assessments, so you will be comfortable with the PACES format and give you confidence in approaching and examining patients with examiners present.


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, using it as a road map for your study plan. 

PACES station 4 examiner guidance examples:

This useful guide contains examples of the types of statements found in the examiner guidance section of station 4 scenarios. This will help you to understand what the examiner is looking for. 

PACES sample scenarios:

These will provide you with the most accurate and relevant scenarios to prepare you for the real thing. Sample scenarios cover Station 2, 4 & 5 (‘history taking’, ‘communication skills and ethics’ and ‘clinical consultations’ respectively.

Most of these have been previously used in a recent exam, but please note that during the exam you will only receive the section marked ‘information for the candidate’.

Videos - what to expect on the day:

These helpful videos will give you a true reflection of what to expect on the day of the exam, easing some of the pressure and ensuring you can focus on the task at hand. 

PACES candidate video:

Whilst there are lots of useful videos online that are easy to find, the PACES candidate video contains important information about the exam, and practical examples of how the exam will run. 

Candidate guidenotes:

These guidenotes created by the Royal College help IMGs to understand what to expect on the day, from your arrival to the completion of the test. 

PACES Marksheets:

To help you understand how PACES is marked here are some examples of full marksheets.

It can also be useful to understand how IMGs have failed the exam in the past, as this will give you the best chance to pass first time. The ‘how I failed PACES’ guide provides tips to help you to identify where you might be going wrong, along with practical advice to help you to improve. 

General Exam Tips & Preparation:

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 blogs on exam tips and preparation

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. 

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