July 24, 2012

Exams of the RCP(UK) - MRCP 1, MRCP 2 and PACES

The three Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom - made up of the Royal College of Physicians of London, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow - develop, deliver and oversee the exam for the Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom (MRCP(UK)).

The exam is internationally recognized, and held throughout the UK and at overseas centers. Hosting centers include Bahrain Malaysia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Kuwait, Pakistan, India, Singapore and Hong Kong (more info on MRCP overseas centers).

It has two written parts (Parts 1 and 2) and a clinical component, the Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills (PACES). Candidates can choose to apply to sit all 3 parts of the exam through the Edinburgh, Glasgow or London Colleges.


The purpose of the Part 1 exam is to identify those physicians in training who, having satisfied the entry criteria, possess a broad knowledge and understanding of common and important disorders as well as clinical science.

It aims to test the acquisition of a representative sample of medical knowledge as specified in the Specialty Training Curriculum for General Internal Medicine; and to measure the candidate's ability to apply their medical knowledge in regard to common and important disorders and clinical science, and make appropriate clinical judgements.

It has two “best of five” papers, each lasting three hours, with questions testing a wide range of common or important disorders.

For more information on MRCP 1 content, visit http://www.mrcpuk.org/Part1/Pages/_Home.aspx


The Part 2 Written can be taken by physicians in training who have passed the Part 1 exam or who have exemption from the Part 1 exam. Success in this examination demonstrates the attainment of the minimum level of knowledge expected at the completion of General Professional Training and the ability to apply this knowledge to clinical problem solving and clinical practice.

It aims to test the ability to apply clinical understanding, make clinical judgements and take responsibility for:
  • prioritising diagnostic or problem lists
  • planning investigation
  • selecting a plan for immediate management
  • selecting a plan for long-term management
  • assessing prognosis.
It has two written papers of 100 best of five questions. All questions include a clinical scenario.

For more information on MRCP 2 content, visit http://www.mrcpuk.org/Part2/Pages/_Home.aspx


The PACES exam consists of five clinical stations, each assessed by two independent examiners. Candidates start at any station, before moving on to others, at 20 minute intervals.

It serves to demonstrate in a clinical setting, the knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate for a physician who is eligible to take the MRCP(UK) Part 2 Clinical Examination (PACES) and is completing General Professional Training. It aims to test the following skills:
  • Physical Examination - Demonstrate correct, thorough, systematic (or focused in Station 5 encounters), appropriate, fluent, and professional technique of physical examination.
  • Identifying Physical Signs - Identify physical signs correctly, and not find physical signs that are not present.
  • Clinical Communication - Elicit a clinical history relevant to the patient’s complaints, in a systematic, thorough (or focused in Station 5 encounters), fluent and professional manner.
    Explain relevant clinical information in an accurate, clear, structured, comprehensive, fluent and professional manner.
  • Differential Diagnosis - Create a sensible differential diagnosis for a patient that the candidate has personally clinically assessed.
  • Clinical Judgment - Select or negotiate a sensible and appropriate management plan for a patient, relative or clinical situation.
    Select appropriate investigations or treatments for a patient that the candidate has personally clinically assessed.
    Apply clinical knowledge, including knowledge of law and ethics, to the case.
  • Managing Patients' Concerns - Seek, detect, acknowledge and address patients’ or relatives’ concerns.
    Listen to a patient or relative, confirm their understanding of the matter under discussion and demonstrate empathy.
  • Maintaining Patient Welfare - Treat a patient or relative respectfully and sensitively and in a manner that ensures their comfort, safety and dignity.
For more information on PACES content, visit http://www.mrcpuk.org/PACES/Pages/_Home.aspx

The MRCP(UK) exam is a postgraduate medical diploma exam and successful candidates are eligible to apply for the award of the MRCP(UK) Diploma. Holders of the diploma can subscribe as "collegiate members" to any or all of the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians.

IMPORTANT: There is a separate MRCPI qualification, run by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, based in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

Related reading: Guide to live and work in the UK for medical and allied health professionals

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this valuable post and also for the kind information about the exam pattern, courses and procedures for the medical exam. This will really help students to prepare well for the examination. I have enrolled the online medical learning course at PasTest Ltd. I am really satisfied with their course materials and facilities.


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