Respiratory medicine SCE is the higher postgraduate qualification delivered by the Royal College of Physicians as a specialist qualification for respiratory medicine doctors.
It is one of 11 SCEs offered by the Royal College and offers physicians a postgraduate qualification which demonstrates to prospective employers the achievement of a standard equivalent to UK specialist doctors.
Here we take a closer look at the MRCP (UK) Respiratory Medicine Specialty Certificate Examination for doctors who have chosen to specialise in respiratory medicine. We cover the content of the exam, as well as fees and the eligibility criteria, all summarised below along with a broad look at the following topics:
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MRCP (UK) Respiratory Medicine SCE
The respiratory medicine specialty certificate exams are administered as a compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in respiratory medicine for all UK trainees.
The purpose of an SCE is to:
ensure that certified specialists have sufficient knowledge of their specialty to practice safely and competently as consultants
complement workplace-based assessments
provide a rigorous national assessment to establish public confidence
offer a challenge similar to sub-specialty certification examination in North America
SCE as part of Training in Respiratory Medicine
Since the MRCP(UK) exams are taken during the Internal Medicine Training years (ST1-ST3), the respiratory medicine SCE allows physicians to demonstrate that they are able to practice independently at a consultant level.
The SCE has no official entry requirements (both for UK and overseas candidates); however, UK trainees would normally take the SCE in their penultimate year of higher specialty training (ST6). UK trainees should have made at least one attempt by the time of their penultimate year assessment.
For in-depth guide to the MRCP exams, see our IMG Resources library here.
The SCE assesses candidates on a wide range of common and important disorders, as set out in the syllabus of the curriculum. This should be taken as an indication of the likely number of questions – the actual number may vary:
Number of questions
Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
Disorders of the pleura and mediastinum, including pneumothorax
Pulmonary vascular disease
Sleep-related breathing disorders and hypoventilation
*Other: Critical and high-dependency care of respiratory disease; Genetic and developmental lung disease; Lung transplantation; Pharmacology; Practical procedures; Statistics
The questions in each category are distributed across both papers.
All SCEs are computer-based and are administered by Pearson VUE at a test centre in the UK or internationally.
Respiratory Medicine SCE Applications
SCEs are held once a year and applications are made online through My MRCP(UK) account, within the Upcoming Exams section of the Royal College website.
The application process is as follows:
Register online through My MRCP(UK) (candidates have the opportunity at this point to register any special arrangements)
Request a preferred test country and city
Pay applicable examination fee
Application is confirmed via an automatically generated email
Receive test centre confirmation email from Pearson VUE within four weeks of the examination date.
The Royal College of Physicians has created a helpful video guide on SCE applications which you can watch here.
The cost of the SCE exams are as follows:
UK centres: £665
International centres: £833
Candidates who choose to sit the respiratory medicine SCE in the UK must contact Pearson VUE to book their test. There are up to 137 test centres throughout the UK for each SCE, and the Royal College of Physicians advise that candidates should book their exam as early as possible to secure their preferred test centre, as bookings operate on a first come first served basis.
Candidates are given a choice of regions and are then asked to nominate a particular city in that region as their desired test location. The Royal College of Physicians will pass this request to Pearson VUE once the application period has closed, and Pearson VUE will confirm final test centre details to candidates via email at least three weeks before the date of the examination. If the exam is not available in a requested location, candidates will be offered a choice of the nearest available test centres.
Please note, international candidates should not book their own test centre with Pearson VUE - attempting to do so may delay a candidate's application.
The full list of international SCE test centres can be found here.
Preparation and Resources for the Respiratory Medicine SCE
It can be difficult for IMGs to know where to start with their preparation and revision. This list should provide a good starting point for any international respiratory medicine doctors preparing to sit the SCE:
Curriculum- Applicants are tested on a range of common and important disorders in Respiratory Medicine as set out in the Joint Royal Colleges’ Curriculum for Respiratory Medicine Specialist Training. We recommend getting to know the curriculum as early as possible and using it as a blueprint for your study.
Guidelines - These tools are helpful for supplementing your knowledge:
Sample questions: It is a good idea to regularly assess your knowledge and progress using example questions from the current exam syllabus. You can find these here.
For an 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, check out at our blog: IMG Connects Top Tips for exam preparation.
I’ve passed? What’s next?
First of all, congratulations - this is a massive achievement! With your MRCP(UK) and Respiratory Medicine SCE in hand, you can apply for a full GMC registration with a license to practice. Once the GMC has approved your application, you can work as a doctor in the UK. Great stuff!
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with an IMG medicine recruitment specialist to discuss GMC registration, respiratory medicine positions in the NHS, including typical NHS salaries, the most suitable UK locations and hospitals for you, and relocation.
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