The written MRCPCH examinations can be taken at any time during foundation training but are often started at the end of F2 or the beginning of speciality training. It is not necessary to have passed any of the MRCPCH examinations before applying for paediatrics training.
Once in a training post, it is an ARCP requirement for paediatric trainees to progress with examinations. Currently, you need to have completed two out of the three written examinations by the end of ST2 to progress into ST3, and ALL parts of the MRCPCH exam (written and clinical) by the end of ST3 for progression to level 2 training (ST4-5).
It is not uncommon for candidates to require more than one attempt on one or all of the examinations. It is important to think about this when considering timeframes and progression through training. There are three sittings of each exam in the year. The RCPCH does allow you to take the written examinations out of sequence, so, for example if you are struggling with the Theory and Science (TAS) exam you are able to attempt the Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) exam before having passed TAS. All written examinations must be passed before you can apply for the clinical examination.
The RCPCH allow up to six attempts to pass each of the MRCPCH exams. If you do not pass an exam after six attempts you will need to provide the college with evidence of additional educational experience before you can attempt that exam again. This evidence and support would come from the School of Paediatrics and your educational supervisor.
If you are struggling with a particular exam and are repeatedly unsuccessful please be reassured that you are not alone. You are not the first and will not be the last person to struggle with these exams, and it in no way reflects poorly on your clinical abilities as a doctor. In case of difficulties, please discuss with your Educational Supervisor or your RCPCH Tutor. Dr Vasudevan (TPD Exam Support) will be able to offer further advice and support.
The School of paediatrics has regular courses for both the theory and practical exams
More information is available from the RCPCH website