Acute Medicine SCE – a closer look

  • April 06, 2023

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: 


Number of questions 

Cancer and palliative care and haematology 


Cardiovascular medicine 


Clinical pharmacology and poisoning 


Critical care medicine 


Diabetes and endocrine medicine 


Gastroenterology and hepatology 


Infectious diseases  


Medicine in the elderly 


Musculoskeletal system 


Neurology and ophthalmology 


Renal medicine 


Respiratory medicine 






*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


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: 



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

88,364 - 119,113

Are you a motivated and committed Consultant in Acute Medicine looking for NHS jobs and relocate in the UK? Then this opportunity is perfect for you!

Grab this chance and possibly start your career in the NHS! You will be joining a team that is always starting innovative ways of working to shape the future model of acute medicine. You will be able to take advantage of working within a multidisciplinary team that aims to deliver high quality care. The team is part of one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country, and not only that, it is rated \"good\" by the CQC! This is a great opportunity for overseas Consultants who want to establish themselves in the NHS, and grow their consultant career. The post is suitable for candidates holding specialisation in the EEA, or for experienced IMGs looking to complete CESR.

The department is a team of 7 enthusiastic and hardworking consultants that work within the Urgent Care CSU to drive forward their Acute Medicine and SDEC services. The department has two Acute Medical Units with a total of 57 beds and a co-located 4-bedded Enhanced Care Area, called HOBS (High Observation Area). They have a strong commitment to the delivery of same day emergency care which operates a 7-day services and sees approximately 400 patients per week, as well as delivering an excellent and established ambulatory VTE service. You will be given the opportunity to maintain and update your skills and knowledge through appropriate continuing professional development. 

The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Work in all 3 areas of acute medicine (AMU, Enhanced Care and Same Day Emergency Care) and will contribute to the out of hours rota (currently 1 in 8).
  • Work with the Trust and its consultant staff to deliver service patterns and job plans that meet this objective.
  • Work in patterns that provide senior cover throughout 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The department sits within one of the largest teaching hospital trusts in Europe, with access to leading clinical expertise and medical technology. They care for people from all over the country as well as the 780,000 residents of their surrounding area. The Trust has a budget of £1.4 billion, with 21,000 staff who ensures that every year they see and treat over 1,700,000 people in their 2,000 beds or out-patient settings, comprising 100,000 day cases, 125,000 in-patients, 260,000 A&E visits and 1,050,000 out-patient appointments.

You will be working in a bustling city that’s rich in culture and heritage. In addition, it is home to one of the largest train stations in the UK, which is conveniently located in the city centre. You will be living in one one of the best places to live in the UK, due to its affordable cost of living and friendly people!

Apply now and get the opportunity to work for an NHS Trust that always works to develop seamless, integrated care helps us to deliver high-quality local care for every patient every time!


EEA Candidates:

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

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine
  • MRCP

UK based applicants

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

Join an established Acute Medicine Department who is committed to providing top-notch care to a large volume of acute emergency medical cases, including critically ill patients. With 780 beds, including 388 for Acute Medical/Elderly care, their facilities include the Acute Medical Unit, 8 Acute Wards, a newly established 10-bed Coronary Care Unit, and a closed ICU/High Dependency Ward. They also have specialized units, such as a Stroke Unit, Elderly Rehabilitation facilities, and Continuing Care beds.

The department is part of an NHS Trust, known for its commitment to delivering high-quality care and services. They received a \'Good\' rating from the CQC in 2019, with some areas recognized for outstanding practice. In 2021, they won gold in the Efficiency Savings of the Year award and were highly commended in the Health Tech Team of the Year award. The NHS Foundation Trust employs over 5,000 dedicated professionals. They are considered one of the region\'s top providers of healthcare services, serving a population of approximately 310,000.

You will have an opportunity for clinical research and have a strong research governance structure in place. The are committed to providing the right development opportunities to enhance your skills and deliver exceptional patient care. This NHS Foundation Trust is within a thriving industrial town with a forward-thinking vibe. Its vibrant city center offers a diverse range of cultural activities. The overall living environment and the surrounding countryside is delightful, with excellent residential areas offering various housing styles at competitive prices. The area boasts top-notch shopping, social, and educational facilities, including both comprehensive and independent primary and secondary schools.


EEA Candidates:

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

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • MRCP UK 
  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Acute Medicine 
This is a great opportunity for any experienced physicians interested in Acute Medicine working CESR or specialist registration in the UK. 
£45,193 - 84,272

Discover an exciting opportunity as a Specialty Doctor in Acute & General Internal Medicine, you\'ll be a driving force in reshaping the future of acute care in the captivating region in Scotland! Embrace the chance to join a dynamic, forward-thinking team dedicated to revolutionizing medical care. The hospital you will be assigned to proudly serves its community, offering essential emergency, acute, and elective services. Be a part of a team that champions local care, ensuring patients receive support within their familiar surroundings.

Delve into the Medicine Department\'s transformation and collaborate closely with the Emergency Department, backed by adept hospital management. Experience unwavering support within a contemporary, well-equipped environment. The department sits within a health board that stands as a pillar of healthcare excellence in Scotland, collaborating with national bodies to deliver quality care. With around 14,000 staff, it oversees clinical governance and provides specialized hospital services. It serves as a tertiary and teaching center, delivering specialized care to the North of Scotland.

It is located in a place that captivates with its landscapes. From coastal tranquility to fertile expanses, this region offers a soothing commute amid picturesque beauty. Navigate well-maintained roads with a tranquil pace, enjoying a connection with nature as you journey.

The opportunity extends to education, with advanced facilities and affiliations with institutions like the University of the Highlands and Islands. For IMGs seeking CESR, this is your pathway to growth.

Seize the chance for leadership, teaching, research, and continued professional development. Whether a new consultant or an experienced practitioner, you\'ll thrive within a supportive network of high-caliber professionals.

In summary, embark on a journey that combines medical excellence, natural allure, and career growth. The post is suitable for candidates holding specialisation in the EEA, or for experienced IMGs looking to complete CESR.


EEA Candidates:

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

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Acute & General internal Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Acute & General internal Medicine
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
88,364 - 119,133

Institution: Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Hospital: Wrexham Maelor Hospital

Location: Wrexham
Specialty: Respiratory Medicine
Grade: Consultant

An excellent opportunity for an experienced Consultant in Respiratory 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. This is the the perfect to time to join as the department is reconfiguring and strengthening their existing services on the wards and in outpatients. The post if suitable for overseas consultants, including candidates who are pursuing CESR. Specialists in Respiratory 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. 


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. They provide a full range of primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services across 3 district hospitals, 22 community hospitals and a network of over 90 health centres, clinics, community health team bases and mental health units.

The Health Board has a budget of  £1.3 billion and a workforce of over 17,000 staff, providing 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. They also coordinate the work of 113 GP practices and the NHS services provided by dentists, opticians and pharmacists across the region.

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. They plan to improve the health of the population, with particular focus upon the most vulnerable in our society.


The respiratory team is based on two wards. The first ward is a 28 bedded respiratory ward, while the other is a 15 bedded respiratory high care unit. Three out of five respiratory consultants have inpatient responsibilities. Currently, three consultants work as one team, and the other two work as another, each consultant rotating on and off the wards every 2 months. Two other consultants have inpatient responsibilities as acute physicians on the acute medical team. Some of the chest physicians are may take up sessions with the acute team.

The Respiratory Medicine Department outpatient services include Asthma, ILD, Lung Function, Outreach Clinics, Outpatient IV Antibiotic Service & Pulmonary Rehabilitation. The department has also has sleep service, supported by a new 15 bedded respiratory high care and NIV unit which opened a year ago. This unit is situated adjacent to the intensive care department and provides care for patients needing acute NIV, acute CPAP, domiciliary NIV, and high flow oxygen.

The post holder is expected to deliver a consultant-led respiratory service at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for the diagnosis and management of both outpatients and inpatients. The post holder is expected to work within a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and managers to further develop local respiratory services, with focus on thoracic oncology and interventional pulmonology, or domiciliary NIV and sleep medicine. 


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.

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.

EEA Candidates:

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

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Respiratory Medicine

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Respiratory Medicine
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
80,693 - 91,584

An excellent opportunity for an experienced Specialists in Acute and GIM to join a Trust that have a national and international reputation for many of their specialist services - including stroke, renal, neurosciences, cancer services and trauma. The Trust also has a Mindful Employer Status and is committed to the Charter For Employers Who Are Positive About Mental Health. The post is suitable for candidates who\'ve completed their CCT or submitted their CESR Application to the GMC, the department also support special interest in Stroke, Geriatric Medicine, Acute Oncology, Haematology, Endocrinology, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Respiratory, and Emergency Department


This trust is one of the biggest employers in the city with a central role in supporting the health and wellbeing of their local population. They also play a leading role in research, education and innovation. 
The Trust has a specialist services that allows them to deliver care to 4.5m people from across the East Midlands and nationally for a handful of services and play a vital role in the education and training of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

The trust has one of the busiest acute medical takes in the country and has recently benefitted
 from a multi-million pound investment to redesign and upgrade the working environment
The department consists of 14 consultants along with around 45 middle and junior grade doctors plus a growing team of Advanced Care Practitioners, Physician Associates and prescribing pharmacists. Acute Medicine has been a key partner of the Emergency Department in the formation of service-led, patient-focused “front-door” research ......

The area is a vibrant and prosperous city with something for everyone. It has excellent schools and colleges, and two thriving Universities. There are good theatres, an arena which attracts national and international performers, and several renowned arts centres and museums.
Set within a county of outstanding natural beauty that includes lively market towns and wonderful historic buildings, the city is one of the UK’s leading retail centres with a wide choice of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
There is a good network of roads with easy access to the M1 and the A1, the rail service to London (two hours) and other major cities is frequent, and there are numerous international destinations from East Midlands Airport (30 mins) and Birmingham Airport (60mins).

With an extremely active education/teaching programme supported by the consultant team. The Trust facilitates appropriate job plans, a clear framework for the delivery of medical education, and the opportunity to enhance clinical and teaching skills through Continuing Professional Development. Participation in research and educational activities will be encouraged.
Consultants/Specialists who wish to undertake research require the approval of the Trust R&I Department and relevant ethical approval, and must adhere to the National Framework for Research Governance.
The role would also be active in clinical governance activities including (but not restricted to) clinical audit, incident reporting, review of complaints, risk management, CPD and Evidence-Based Practice. 


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
This is a great opportunity for any experienced physicians interested in Acute Medicine working CESR or specialist registration in the UK. 

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