Acute Medicine SCE – a closer look

  • June 28, 2022
 

Acute medicine SCE is the higher postgraduate qualification delivered by the Royal College of Physicians as a specialist qualification for acute 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) Acute Medicine Specialty Certificate Examination for doctors who have chosen to specialise in acute 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: 

Skip ahead to the relevant section if you know what you're looking for. 

MRCP (UK) Acute Medicine SCE 

The acute medicine specialty certificate exams are administered as a compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in acute 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 Acute Medicine 

Since the MRCP(UK) exams are taken during the Internal Medicine Training years (ST1-ST3), the acute 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

Exam Structure 

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: 

Topic 

Number of questions 

Cancer and palliative care and haematology 

10 

Cardiovascular medicine 

20 

Clinical pharmacology and poisoning 

10 

Critical care medicine 

10 

Diabetes and endocrine medicine 

14 

Gastroenterology and hepatology 

20 

Infectious diseases  

14 

Medicine in the elderly 

18 

Musculoskeletal system 

12 

Neurology and ophthalmology 

20 

Renal medicine 

10 

Respiratory medicine 

20 

Other* 

22 

Total 

200 

*Other: Allergy; Clinical genetics; Dermatology; Immunology; Patient safety and risk management; Psychiatry; Public health and health promotion 

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. 

Acute 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: 

  1. Register online through My MRCP(UK) (candidates have the opportunity at this point to register any special arrangements) 
  2. Request a preferred test country and city 
  3. Pay applicable examination fee 
  4. Application is confirmed via an automatically generated email 
  5. 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

Cost 

The cost of the SCE exams are as follows: 

  • UK centres: £665 
  • International centres: £833 

Exam Centres 

UK Centres 

Candidates who choose to sit the acute 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. 

International Centres 

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 Acute 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 acute medicine doctors preparing to sit the SCE: 

Curriculum - Applicants are tested on a range of common and important disorders in Acute Medicine as set out in the Joint Royal Colleges’ Curriculum for Acute 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: 

Textbooks 

Journals 

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 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 acute 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, acute medicine positions in the NHS, including typical NHS salaries, the most suitable UK locations and hospitals for you, and relocation. 


To receive the latest news and updates, including the Royal Colleges, GMC registration and the NHS, follow us on social media and join the conversation. 

            

 

Relevant Jobs

84,559 - 114,003

An excellent opportunity has risen for Consultant in Acute & General Medicine to be a part of a well-established service within an NHS Trust that aims to continue to build strong links and establish great service for urgent and emergency care services. The post if suitable for overseas consultants, including candidates who are pursuing CESR. Specialists in Acute & General Medicine, holding a specialist certification would be suitable for this post, based on experience entering at either Specialty Doctor or Consultant grade. Overseas applications from experienced Specialty Doctors and Consultants are welcomed.

WHAT IS THE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST LIKE?

The NHS Foundation Trust teaching hospital full of hard working and dedicated staff providing community and hospital services across the area that covers a thousand square miles. The NHS Foundation Trust currently has 6,000 employees, and and provides services for some 350,000. They operate three main hospitals, as well as a number of community healthcare premises. Two of their main hospitals have a range of General Hospital services, with full Emergency Departments, Critical/Coronary Care units and various Consultant-led services. 

All three main hospitals provide a range of planned care including outpatients, diagnostics, therapies, day case and inpatient surgery. In addition, a range of local outreach services and diagnostics are provided from community facilities across their area. The community services for adults are provided in people's homes, community centres, clinics, GP Practices, community hospitals and their main hospitals. They aim to work with people to help them remain independent, improve their health and manage their conditions through high quality care, advise and support.

They are absolutely committed to making the Trust a great place to be cared for and a great place to work through the delivery of the highest possible standards of compassionate care, as well as their research and education strategy to provide the very best patient and staff experience.

WHAT IS THE DEPARTMENT & TEAM LIKE? 

The Acute Medical division is comprised of a 39 bedded Acute Medical Unit and an adjoining Ambulatory Care unit that sees and manages up to 30 patients per day. The team consists of the following a Substantive Consultant (Clinical Lead) – Acute and General Internal Medicine Substantive Consultant - Acute Medicine and Geriatrics, Substantive Consultant – Intensive Care and Acute Medicine, Substantive Associate Specialist, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Foundation Year Doctors (two), Acute Care Common Stem Trainee & Trust Grade Clinicians (two) – Ambulatory Care General Practice Trainee – Ambulatory Care.

The service admit, on average, 20 – 25 patients per day and can see up to 30 patients in Ambulatory Care. “Hot clinics” are held daily on Ambulatory Care. The have successfully reduced admissions and shortened length of stay but their philosophy is one of ensuring safe, good quality care in a friendly and supportive professional department. Patients are managed in a high efficient manner and it can only be one of a few Acute Medical units in the NHS where there are empty beds on the unit most mornings. This is due to the ethos of the team – one team one family.

The successful appointee will be expected to provide care for acutely unwell patients on the AMU, contribute to service development and quality improvement, provide care for patients seen on the ACU and provide leadership and work as part of and develop the team.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE IN LANCASHIRE? 

Lancashire is a wonderful county in the North West of England. Beautiful rural countryside, award winning beaches, unique market towns and a wealth of social activities are just some of the coastal county. It is home to the Lancashire Coastline which represent some of the country’s most cherished landscapes, and across the region, you’ll find vibrant cities, historic market towns and some of the most beautiful villages.

Period properties are the name of the game in Lancaster, with Victorian and Georgian townhouses proving the most popular type of home with residents. There is also riverside living available, as well as properties built from the 1960s onwards. Lancaster was named one of the happiest places to live and work in the UK, so it’s safe to say that life in the city is good. From restaurants and shops to historic buildings and landmarks, there’s plenty to see and do in Lancaster. 

Lancashire is one of the safest areas in the country with crime and other community safety issues, such as anti-social behaviour and road accidents at their lowest level for years. Around nine out of ten respondents to a recent Living in Lancashire survey consider their local area to be safe. There are so many outdoor activities available! From Go- Ape climbing centres, mountain biking, rafting, canoeing, tothe popular Brockhole Activity Centre with treetop nets and trampolining, there is plenty to explore.


WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU AT THE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST?

With an extremely active education/teaching programme supported by the consultant team, there is opportunity to work towards and complete CESR, RCPsych exams, get involved in active research and many aspects of CPD. Participation in research and educational activities will be encouraged.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?
EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine
  • Board Certified Specialist in Acute Medicine

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in  Acute Medicine
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
84,559 - 114,003

An excellent opportunity for an experienced Consultant in Acute Medicine to join a Health Board in North Wales that promotes equality and diversity. If you love a challenge, have a passion to help others or simple fancy a fresh start, then this Health Board has all the ingredients. The post if suitable for overseas consultants, including candidates who are pursuing CESR. Specialists in Acute Medicine holding a specialist certification would be suitable for this post, based on experience entering at either Specialty Doctor or Consultant grade. 

Overseas applications from experienced Specialty Doctors and Consultants are welcomed. 

WHAT IS HEALTH BOARD LIKE? 
The Health Board is largest health organisation in Wales, that are developing an integrated health service which provides excellent care delivered in partnership with the public and other statutory and third sector organisations.

The Health Board have a budget of £1.3 billion and a workforce of over 17,000 staff. Providing primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services for the population of around 700,000 across of North Wales. They continuously develop their workforce so that it has the right skills and operates in a research-rich learning culture.

Besides their three main hospital sites, they are also responsible for community hospitals, health centres, clinics, mental health units, community teams, GP practices and other NHS services provided by dentists, opticians and pharmacists. They plan to improve the health of the population, with particular focus upon the most vulnerable in our society.

WHAT IS THE DEPARTMENT & TEAM LIKE? 
The Department provides a service to approximately 240,000 people in a predominantly rural area covering 1,600 sq. miles. The service consists of Acute Medical Unit with 23 beds, short stay ward with 6 beds, triage unit with 5 trolleys, ambulatory Emergency Care Unit with 2 trolleys and 2 chairs, procedure unit with 3 trolleys and 4 chairs. Patients are referred by directly by General Practitioner and the Emergency Department. The Acute Medical Service sees just over 1000 patients per month.

The Department has 2 partner services - the Cardiac Services, which has a modern 6 bedded unit and has the facility to remotely monitor 6 beds on the Acute Medical Admissions Unit, 4 on the Acute Medicine ward and a further 2 in the Emergency Department, and the Emergency Department, which is one of the best staffed units in the UK and has got a full complement of (non-locum!) consultants and middle grades. The pre-hospital fellow program attracts candidates from all over the UK.

The post holder will be required to regularly participate in the medical audit and continuing medical education and professional development as part of the organisational clinical governance requirement. The post holder responsibilities include ward rounds on the AMU (8am to 4pm): Review of up to 30 patients in the Acute Medical Unit including ongoing management of patients in the triage area and early review of emergency presentations.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE IN NORTH WALES? 
North Wales has a vast national park, purpose built mountain biking trails, a breath taking coastal path, soaring zip wire, food festivals and world class sport and adventure around every corner. The North Wales is equipped with sport and leisure centres that provide opportunities for a wide variety of sporting, fitness and recreational activities. Not only does it have lots of activities for you, it also has a wide selection of private housing is available, both traditional and modern in towns, villages and rural settings.

For doctors with family, the educational standards are consistently high in both the primary and secondary sectors. There are several well established independent schools within North Wales and the surrounding area that cater for both day pupils and boarders. The regional University with its excellent scholastic reputation has a thriving student community.

You can say goodbye to heavy inner city commuter traffic, and enjoy a breath-taking commute across North Wales.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU AT THIS HEALTH BOARD?
With an extremely active education/teaching programme supported by the consultant team, there is opportunity to work towards and complete CESR, exams, get involved in active research and many aspects of CPD. 

Participation in research and educational activities will be encouraged.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?
EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine
  • Board Certified Specialist in Acute Medicine

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
84,559 - 114,003

An excellent opportunity for an experienced Consultant in Stroke Medicine to join a Health Board in North Wales that promotes equality and diversity. If you love a challenge, have a passion to help others or simple fancy a fresh start, then this Health Board has all the ingredients. The post if suitable for overseas consultants, including candidates who are pursuing CESR. Specialists in Stroke Medicine holding a specialist certification would be suitable for this post, based on experience entering at either Specialty Doctor or Consultant grade. 

Overseas applications from experienced Specialty Doctors and Consultants are welcomed. 

WHAT IS HEALTH BOARD LIKE? 
The Health Board is largest health organisation in Wales, that are developing an integrated health service which provides excellent care delivered in partnership with the public and other statutory and third sector organisations.

The Health Board have a budget of £1.3 billion and a workforce of over 17,000 staff. Providing primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services for the population of around 700,000 across of North Wales. They continuously develop their workforce so that it has the right skills and operates in a research-rich learning culture.

Besides their three main hospital sites, they are also responsible for community hospitals, health centres, clinics, mental health units, community teams, GP practices and other NHS services provided by dentists, opticians and pharmacists. They plan to improve the health of the population, with particular focus upon the most vulnerable in our society.

WHAT IS THE DEPARTMENT & TEAM LIKE? 
The Department of Medicine for the Elderly has evolved and developed with many innovations in Care of the Elderly services over the past 20 years. In 1993 the acute unit for Care of the Elderly integrated with Acute General Medicine to form a single department. As part of that process an emergency admission ward was developed to accept and manage all medical emergencies. Patients are subsequently transferred to the ward judged to be most appropriate for their clinical needs.

A fully functioning 13 bedded acute stroke unit with 24/7 thrombolysis facility is operational and a 5 days a week TIA clinic developed. There is a thrombectomy service and protocol linked to a centre which operates 7 days per week 9 till 5pm. The newly approved Stroke Business Plan, which is Health Board wide, will ensure stroke services are fit for the future and ensure compliance with Royal College recommendations and BASP standards of care. It will provide more service resilience and sustainability.

The Care of the Elderly services have had a strong history of strategic thinking initially developed through the health care planning team and now being developed through an Elderly Care Forum to respond to the strategy for old age. This successful candidate will work with the current Stroke consultant to form a team of two consultants. The successful candidate will be supported by a team of junior doctors including a Specialist registrar, F2 and F1 doctors.


WHAT IS LIFE LIKE IN NORTH WALES? 
North Wales has a vast national park, purpose built mountain biking trails, a breath taking coastal path, soaring zip wire, food festivals and world class sport and adventure around every corner. The North Wales is equipped with sport and leisure centres that provide opportunities for a wide variety of sporting, fitness and recreational activities. Not only does it have lots of activities for you, it also has a wide selection of private housing is available, both traditional and modern in towns, villages and rural settings.

For doctors with family, the educational standards are consistently high in both the primary and secondary sectors. There are several well established independent schools within North Wales and the surrounding area that cater for both day pupils and boarders. The regional University with its excellent scholastic reputation has a thriving student community.

You can say goodbye to heavy inner city commuter traffic, and enjoy a breath-taking commute across North Wales.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU AT THIS HEALTH BOARD?
With an extremely active education/teaching programme supported by the consultant team, there is opportunity to work towards and complete CESR, exams, get involved in active research and many aspects of CPD. 

Participation in research and educational activities will be encouraged.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?
EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Stroke Medicine
  • Board Certified Specialist in Stroke Medicine

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Stroke Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Stroke Medicine
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
84,559 - 114,003

An outstanding opportunity for experienced Consultant in Acute Medicine to join an NHS Trust that is committed to providing consultants with CESR support. This Trust is one of the largest employers in the region and their members and staff are dedicated professionals whose work is varied, challenging and makes a real difference to people’s health and well-being.

The post is suitable for candidates holding specialisation in the EEA, or for experienced IMGs looking to complete CESR.

WHAT IS THE NHS TRUST LIKE? 

The Trust is one of the largest organisations in the country and they employ over 6,000 dedicated staff with an annual turnover of £380 million who provides service to 525,000 people that live within the area. Their services are mainly provided from two district general hospitals, both have Emergency Departments and provide care 24 hours a day. They offer a comprehensive range of surgical, medical and maternity services supported by a full range of diagnostic and therapy services.

The role of the NHS Trust is to provide the best possible healthcare service to patients, who come first in everything the organisation does. Safe patient care is the Trust's highest priority. They will provide high quality clinical services that achieve and demonstrate optimum clinical outcomes and provide an excellent care experience for patients. The employees will be valued and respected. They will be involved in decisions about the services they provide and offered the training and development that they need to fulfill their roles.

They will operate efficiently and effectively, diagnosing and treating patients in timely fashion and expediting their return to health. They will use their resources efficiently and effectively for the benefit of their patients and their care to ensure our services are clinically, operationally, and financially sustainable.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE IN THE REGION?

The region has a natural beauty. Sussex has some fantastic natural features such as the Seven Sisters National Park, and many areas of outstanding natural beauty that include the medieval heathland and forests of the High Weald. It also has beaches and harbours where people can go to during their dayoffs.

Besides its natural beauty, there's a rich array of accommodation options, ranging from the five star Grand Hotel on Eastbourne seafront to quaint B&Bs set amid beautiful Sussex countryside. East Sussex offers a rich array of culture, with art galleries such as the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings and the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne and an array of theatre and entertainment venues such as the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill, Congress and Deveonshire Park Theatres in Eastbourne and the White Rock Theatre in Hastings.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU?

The combination of clinical practice and first-class academic connections means that medical professionals have a wide range of opportunities to develop their careers and achieve their aspirations. You will have access to leadership, teaching, educational and research opportunities for Continued Professional Develop (CPD).

If you are a new consultant you will receive mentoring and support from medical leads as well as access to a large peer group of enthusiastic and high-caliber Consultants.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?

EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine
  • Board Certified Specialist in Acute Medicine

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • MRCP
  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
87,534 - 116,313

An excellent opportunity for an experienced medicine specialists with an interest in to join a Scottish NHS Trust that serves half a million people in the North of Scotland. The post if suitable for international doctors with good experience in internal medicine and with a specialty interest in one of the major medical sub-specialties. The post can be shaped around an individual and their passions, and experience, though the role will have strong grounding in general medicine. 

Applications are welcomed from overseas applicants, with the trust able to offer some support and guidance with CESR applications where possible. 

WHAT IS THE NHS BOARD LIKE? 

The NHS Board came into operation in 1 April 2004. The NHS Board oversees the taking-forward of Scotland's national health agenda, tailored to the needs of the local population of half-a-million people spread over 3,000 square miles of city, town, village and rural communities. The Trust is able to achieve this by being a high-level board of governance and having a strategic leadership. The NHS Board pride themselves on their ability to provide essential emergency and acute as well as elective services locally, advocating for their patients to be cared for close to home. They have developed strong professional links with their GP practices, community hospitals, social work teams and local services to provide comprehensive and integrated pathways of care.

WHAT IS THE MEDICINE DIVISION LIKE? 

The Department is reconfigured and modernised so that the patients are provided with high quality clinical care from pre-hospital and community based care to tertiary centre and home. This is being achieved in partnership with the Emergency Department team with support from the Hospital Management Team, with whom we have an excellent working relationship. The department is committed to developing an integrated and equitable medical service for patient care across the Trust's hospitals. This strategy will provide significant career development in a wide range of medical specialties and align to service delivery models across Grampian with increased opportunities for research, education and clinical management for those with an interest in these areas.  

The post holders will join a well-established multi-disciplinary team and the successful candidates will be supported working in a modern, friendly and well equipped hospital.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE IN NORTH SCOTLAND FOR ACUTE & GENERAL MEDICINE CONSULTANTS? 

North Scotland offers a wild landscape unlike anything you may have experienced before. From the outer reaches of the Scottish Islands and fishing villages along the coastline, to the natural wilderness of the Highlands inland, there is so much to see, do and explore. It is a great environment especially for candidates that love the outdoors. The area is safe, friendly and welcoming. It also has a fantastic local schools available. Furthermore, the local area is famed for it's microclimate of good weather, sun, and warm summers.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU AT THE NHS BOARD?

With an extremely active education / teaching programme supported by the consultant team, there is opportunity to be involved in teaching, educational duties, research and CPD. Furthermore, those with sub-specialty interests will be encouraged to develop the specialty, strengthen the links with the nearby large specialist centre, and to grow the care network of that specialty across the region. There is particular opportunity to do this in Nephrology, Respiratory and Neurology and Stroke Medicine. Participation in research and educational activities will always be encouraged.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?

EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute & General Medicine
  • Board Certified Specialist in Acute & General Medicine

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • MRCPsych
  • Experience of working in Acute & General Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Acute & General Medicine
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT

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