Overview of MRCPCH Clinical

9 Minutes

The MRCPCH clinical exam is the fourth and final stage you’ll need to pass to earn the internationally recognised postgraduate qualification and secure GMC registration. The exam is designed to assess if international medical graduates and doctors meet the clinical standards for Specialty Training (ST4) in paediatrics. Give yourself the best possible chance of passing with flying colours by reading this overview of the MRCPCH clinical exam.

What to Expect During the MRCPCH Clinical Exam?

You cannot take the MRCPCH Clinical Exam until you have passed the below three MRCPCH theory exams:

  • Foundation of Practice (FOP)
  • Theory and Science (TAS)
  • Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP)

Once you’re ready for the MRCPCH clinical exam, you can complete it in a hospital exam centre – there are many in the UK and other countries; however, there are only a set number of places a day. The clinical exam will test your various paediatric skills. You must rotate 12 stations and scenarios that will each feature an examiner.

The exam features the following circuits and stations:

  • 1-4 - Clinical
  • 5 – Development
  • 6 – History
  • 7 and 8 – Communication
  • 9 and 10 - Video

This might sound a little overwhelming, but you will receive four-minute breaks between each station or scenario. It will take approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete the clinical exam.

What is the Aim of the MRCPCH Clinical Exam?

As mentioned, the exam will test your clinical skills to ensure you meet the required ST4 standards. The exam will not only test your knowledge of child health and paediatrics, but it will ensure you have the professional conduct and soft skills to flourish in a role.

For example, an examiner will review your ethics, ability to build a rapport with children and their parents, professional conduct, and communication skills. Also, they will assess your clinical judgement, acute illness recognition, physical examination skills, and history taking.

How to Prepare 

There are many steps you can take to prepare for an upcoming MRCPCH clinical exam. In addition to buying books to study for the exam, you must continue to treat many patients while gaining as much experience as possible in many outpatient specialist clinics. If possible, form a revision group with others planning to complete the exam.

Start revising at least two months before the exam and meet with your revision group a few times or more per week. Also, it may help to seek guidance from consultants and registrars, and they can answer any question you have to ensure you are prepared for the exam. Also, take the time to observe qualified paediatricians and practice presenting to patients to improve your confidence and delivery during an exam.

As you will need to prepare for the Child Development stage of the exam, you would be wise to attend various community clinics to gain hands-on experience. Senior colleagues may even be happy to provide mock exams to test your knowledge and skills and iron out any weaknesses.

When and where are the MRCPCH Clinical Exams Held?

UK hospitals will host the MRCPCH exams three times per year, but they are available at various points throughout the year at overseas test centres too. If you would prefer to take the exam in the UK, the exam diets are often held in February, June, and October and the overseas centres can be found in the following locations around the world:

How Many Places are Available?

There are a limited number of places available for the MRCPCH clinical exams per day. 12 candidates will participate per circuit, and two circuits will run each day, meaning 24 seats are available at an exam centre per day.

The host centre will determine the number of exam days available, but the UK exam centres often run one to two days of exams per week, but an overseas host may run two or three exams per week.

The exams are available for candidates who meet the criteria specified by the RCPCH. A host centre cannot provide a candidate with special priority when attempting to sit the MRCPCH exam.

Can Anyone Attend a UK Clinical Exam?

All international candidates are allowed to attend a face-to-face MRCPCH clinical exam in the UK. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world; you can apply to complete the exam in any host country during the application window. However, candidates living and working in a country will receive placement priority.

What Do I Need to Bring to the Clinical Exam?

All candidates must bring an appropriate form of ID to the exam registration, such as a passport or driving license. You must also bring a stethoscope with you, which you must clean between patients.

What is the Desired Experience?

International doctors and medical graduates will ideally have completed at least two and a half years of training from their graduation date. Also, it is recommended that candidates spend a minimum of 12 months caring for emergency paediatric patients and receive at least six months of experience as a house paediatrician following graduation.

Do I Need a Sponsor?

Yes. Every MRCPCH clinical candidate must include details of a sponsor on their application form to take the exam. Your sponsor should be a senior colleague or educational supervisor you have worked with for a minimum of three months, or they can be an RCPCH member or fellow. A sponsor will confirm they believe you are ready to take the exam.

How Much Will the MRCPCH Clinical Exam Cost?

The country you choose will determine the MRCPCH clinical exam cost. You will pay £833 for a UK exam, but you will likely pay more when completing the exam outside the UK. For instance, the clinical exam will cost £1,230 in Egypt, £1,555 in India, and £1,155 in Nepal and Myanmar.

When Will I Receive My Clinical Exam Results?

If you complete the MRCPCH exam in the UK, you can expect your results to be published within approximately six weeks of the final date in the exam window. However, it may take up to nine weeks to receive your results if taken at an overseas centre.

What Happens After Completing the MRCPCH Clinical Exam?

After passing all four MRCPCH exams, which include the clinical exam, you will become a full member of the RCPCH and earn the MRCPCH designation. The internationally recognised postgraduate medical qualification will allow you to secure GMC registration and ensure you are qualified for ST4 level posts in the NHS.

If you have recently completed your MRCPCH clinical and would like our support and guidance in applying for the latest NHS jobs, preparing your medical CV and brushing up on your interview skills then email us and we’ll be happy to help.