Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians
(MRCP(UK)) is a postgraduate medical diploma. The examinations are
run by the Federation of the Medical Royal Colleges of the United Kingdom(UK) – the Royal College of
Physicians of London, the Royal College of
Physicians of Edinburgh, and the Royal
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
Royal Colleges of Physicians share this common three part
assessment in general medicine which consists of two written parts
and one clinical examination. Examinations are held throughout the
UK and in overseas centres.
Holders of the MRCP(UK) can subscribe as "collegiate members" to
any or all of the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians.
There is a separate MRCPI qualification, run by the Royal College of
Physicians of Ireland
, based in Dublin in the Republic of
The three Royal Colleges of Physicians
have been holding membership examinations for many years. In the
London College the Censors, helped by other examiners, had the duty
to carry out the assessment of candidates and advise the College.
The MRCP(London) examination began in 1859 with a numerical marking
system devised in 1893. In the late 1960s the need to have a single
recognised membership examination throughout the United Kingdom was
recognised. Such an examination made it unnecessary for junior
doctors to enter several membership examinations and removed the
suggestion that the standards of the examination at the three
Colleges were different.
Aims and content
The exam incorporates both examination of the candidate's knowledge
of basic medical sciences as well as testing the clinical skills
required for the diagnosis and management of disease. Changes to
the exam in recent years have put more emphasis on communication
skills and professionalism. Obtaining the "MRCP(UK)" is a
prerequisite to anyone wishing to go on to a specialist training
post as a Physician in the United Kingdom.Various companies,
including the Royal Colleges themselves, have developed preparatory
courses that focus on the nature of the questions and the required
In partnership with the relevant specialist societies, the three UK
Royal Colleges have set up the MRCP Specialist Examinations Unit
responsible for the organisation of new knowledge based
assessments. The ultimate objective is to ensure that NHS
consultants have demonstrated their acquisition of sufficient
knowledge in their chosen specialty to practise safely and
competently. This will bring the assessment of physicians in
training in the UK into line with those training in North America,
where most specialist trainees sit a specialist examination as a
further test of excellence, usually after having acquired
certification in Internal Medicine.
The MRCP exam has three parts: MRCP Part 1 (written paper); MRCP
Part 2 (written paper); and MRCP Part 2 Clinical Examination
The MRCP part 1 examination consists of multiple choice questions
in the best of five format.
The MRCP part 2 examination consists of multiple choice questions
in the best of five format and n from many format.
The MRCP PACES examination consists of a carousel with 5 stations.
Station one tests the candidate's ability to examine the
respiratory system and abdomen. Station 2 tests the candidate's
history taking ability. Station 3 tests the candidate's ability to
examine the cardiovascular system and perform a neurological
examination . Station 4 tests the candidate's communication skills
and the ability to deal with issues of medical ethics. Station 5
tests the candidate's ability to examine the eyes, the endocrine
system, the locomotor system and the skin.
The MRCP is a mandatory requirement for entry into a specialist
training scheme for all medical specialties such as internal
medicine and advantageous in other specialities such as radiology,
anaesthetics and accident and emergency medicine.
Countries hosting PACES
PACES examination is held not only in the United Kingdom, but also in many other parts of the world.
sites include Malaysia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Kuwait, Pakistan, India, Singapore and Hong
Singapore, the MRCP(UK) and
MMed are often taken together. In Hong Kong, taking MRCP(UK) also involves taking the
As well as difficult, the examinations, in common with other
examinations of the UK Royal Colleges, are relatively expensive -
at present costing the candidate outside UK £2095 from start to
finish - assuming each examination is passed in a single
attempt.Candidates may elect to participate in any of a number of
training courses to improve the chances of passing. However, these
should be compared with the costs of taking equivalent postgraduate
examinations, such as the US Board examinations.
- MRCP Official