Geriatric Medicine SCE - a closer look

  • March 01, 2022

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

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

For in-depth guide to the MRCP exams, see our IMG Resources library here

Geriatric Medicine SCE as part of UK training 

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

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: 

Acute Illness (Diagnosis & Management) 

Number of questions 

Anaemia/ Haematology 

Cardiovascular Medicine 


Endrocrine medicine 



Musculoskeletal medicine 


Renal medicine inc. fluid/ electric imbalance 

Respiratory medicine 

Sensory impairment 


Chronic Disease & Disability(Diagnosis & Management) 

Number of questions 

Anaemia/ Haematology 

Cardiovascular Medicine 


Endrocrine medicine 



Musculoskeletal medicine 


Renal medicine inc. Fluid/ electric imbalance 

Respiratory medicine 

Sensory impairment 


Cognitive Impairment 

Number of questions 





Geriatric Assessment 

Number of questions 

Factors affecting health status 

Measurement of health status 


Subspecialty Topics 

Number of questions 

Palliative care 


Old age psychiatry 

Orthogeriatrics and osteoporosis 


Stroke care 


Tissue viability 



Number of questions 

Basic science and gerontology 



Falls and poor mobility 


Surgical liaison 

Intermediate care & long-term care 


Rehabilitation, transfers of care 





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. 

Geriatric 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 geriatric 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 Geriatric Medicine SCE 

It can be difficult for IMGs to know where to start with their preparation and revision.  

Preparation for the SCE requires a wide breadth of knowledge around the curriculum and should involve reading of textbooks, journals and guidelines. Experience of the MRCP (UK) examinations provides an excellent background to the format of the examination. 

Curriculum: Applicants are tested on a range of common and important disorders in Geriatric Medicine as set out in the Joint Royal Colleges’ Curriculum for Geriatric Medicine Specialist Training. We recommend getting to know the curriculum as early as possible and using it as a blueprint for your study.  

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, the best use of online resources & Royal College materials and courses, check out at our blog here.

I’ve passed! What’s next? 

First of all, congratulations - this is a massive achievement! With your MRCP (UK) and geriatric 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, geriatric 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. 



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