There are three parts to the MRCP(UK) examination - Part 1, Part 2 (written), and Part 2 (clinical examination) - commonly referred to as 'Part 1', 'Part 2' (or 'Part 2 Written') and 'PACES'.
There are different requirements for when these parts must be gained for you to be eligible within the Physician ST3 recruitment process.
For information on the MRCP(UK) examination and its constituent parts, please visit the MRCP(UK) website.
You must have sat and passed Part 1 by the time of application (the deadline for application submission can be found on the timeline page).
Any applications received without Part 1 (or suitable alternative) will be rejected as ineligible.
Part 2 Written and PACES
You must have sat and passed the remaining two parts of the examination by the published deadline; in round 1 this is the 'posts commencing from' date, ie 5 August 2020. In round 2 this date is 31 December 2020.
If you are missing Part 2 and/or PACES at the time of application, you must still be able to demonstrate that you can sit and pass the missing exam(s) before the published deadline.
It is possible to progress through the remainder of the recruitment round subject to completing the examination. In the event you fail to gain the missing part(s), any offer will be withdrawn and will not be held for you should you choose to make an appeal.
As shown on the application scoring page of this website, 12 of the 80 points available to your application relate to having gained Part 2 (four points) and PACES (8 points).
Please note these 12 points are only available at the time of application. Exams passed post-application do not gain any points as part of your assessment; although interviewers can take this into account as part of your assessment at interview.
PACES examination dates
When applying for PACES you are able to indicate on your application form if you have a preferred timeframe for your examination date and, if so, what are your reasons for the request. This can include citing that you are applying to Physician ST3 Recruitment. Where possible the PACES team will try and allocate requests for this reason, although it cannot be guaranteed. Reasons you may want to request a specific date include:
- Avoiding a clash with an interview date - if your preferred specialty's interview date is known when you apply to PACES, you should state this on the form so they can avoid scheduling this date.
- Requesting an early date - this could either be because:
- In round 1 you want to get results in time to include the achievement on your application form (bearing in mind results take up to two weeks after the examination date to process); it will not be possible to accommodate all these requests so if you want to be guaranteed of the points you are advised to attempt to complete the examination in an earlier examination diet.
- In the second assessment period for round 1 and third for round 2, an early date will enable you, and the offering region, to confirm whether you can take up a post.
On your application: give details on which parts of the examination you have passed to date.
At interview: provide certification of passed examinations, and evidence of places booked on any upcoming examinations.
While all specialties will accept the MRCP(UK) as a suitable postgraduate examination for ST3 entry, several will also accept applications from trainees who have undertaken alternative training pathways; and will thus accept alternative UK postgraduate examinations.
The specialties participating in the nationally-coordinated process which accept alternative training pathways: audiovestibular medicine, clinical genetics, clinical neurophysiology, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, dermatology, haematology, immunology, medical ophthalmology, palliative medicine, rehabilitation medicine and sport & exercise medicine.
The only postgraduate examination accepted by the other participating specialties is MRCP(UK).
For information on what alternative examinations your specialty accepts please visit that specialty's page.
Providing information for alternative examinations
Information is provided in exactly the same way for any of the above examinations:
On your application: give details on which parts of the examination you have passed to date
At interview: provide certification of passed examinations, and evidence of places booked on any upcoming examinations.
Just as with the MRCP(UK), 12 points are available within the application when using alternative examinations; the alternative to MRCP(UK) Part 2 is worth 4 points, and PACES is worth 8.
As with MRCP(UK), these points are only awarded at the time of application. Passing these exams after applying will not see your application score amended, although your interviewers can take this into account as part of their assessment.
In order to be considered eligible to apply for an ST3 medical specialty, candidates are ordinarily required to hold evidence of completion of the UK core medical training programme including the full MRCP(UK) diploma (or an alternative UK specialty examination for some specialties).
However, in accordance with EU directive 2005/36/EC (describing free movement of professionals) it is possible for certain individuals to provide alternate evidence in order to fulfil this requirement.
In order to support movement of professionals within the EEA, whist ensuring candidates are trained to an appropriate level to enter UK training at ST3, the following guidance must be demonstrated in order to be considered under directive 2005/36/EC, rather than need to have undertaken the MRCP(UK) or alternative.
This is an extremely complex area, so please read the guidance carefully if you wish to apply under these rules. Please click on the relevant heading for more information:
This term refers to the interpretation of EU directive 2005/36/EC (regarding free movement of professionals) within the field of medical recruitment.
The directive itself is a particularly large and complex document; but essentially, this describes the removal of obstacles to EEA nationals wishing to 'pursue a profession...in (an EEA) Member State other than the one in which they have obtained their professional qualifications.'
The qualification requirements within ST3 person specifications are set up with a primary focus on those which are available to UK trainees. This directive requires that consideration is given to EEA trainees who may have gained comparable training and qualifications in the EEA, but outside of the UK.
UK core medical trainees cannot fully complete their CMT programme until they gain the full MRCP(UK) diploma, as this examination is an exit requirement.
So if a trainee is considered to be at the same level as someone who has completed UK CMT, they could also be considered to be at the same level as someone who has gained the full MRCP(UK) examination.
If a candidate is in a position to apply to ST3 via the 'EEA eligibility' route, their training to date may be considered sufficient to meet the qualifications requirement. Therefore they may not need to gain the MRCP(UK) diploma to be eligible for ST3 recruitment.
This also applies to specialties which accept alternative UK specialty pathways and examinations (eg general practice or paediatrics).
Essentially if you are an EEA national, and you have trained:
- outside of the UK in another EEA nation;
- on a training programme which is comparable to the UK's core medical training (CMT) programme
- you are eligible for the GMC specialist register in general internal medicine
- you are eligible for the GMC specialist or general practice register in a specialty which is an acceptable entry pathway for the specialty of application. For example, if you have completed training in paediatrics you would be eligible for haematology without having to complete the MRCPCH.
Then it may be possible for you to be considered as having achieved comparable training to someone who has completed the UK training pathway for that specialty (from an ST3 recruitment perspective); and thus you may not need to gain the full MRCP(UK)/alternative specialty examination.
Criteria to be comparable to UK CMT
We have given clarification on what a training programme must contain to be considered comparable to UK core medical training. Your training programme must have met all of the below criteria, in addition to the points above, in order for you to be EEA eligible.
Training must have:
- been for at least two years in duration in a structured post-foundation level training programme
- involved rotation through at least four medical specialties with each rotation lasting at least three months
- involved a minimum of 12 months in specialties involving the care of acute medical in-patients
- required the completion of a general internal medicine examination, linked to the programme, which includes both a written and an observational assessment of clinical skills; this should be of a similar academic rigour as the MRCP(UK)
- included a formal assessment procedure of workplace-based assessment.
All time lengths refer to whole time equivalent. Details of what counts as medical specialty experience can be found on the experience page of our website.
Please note that to be eligible your training must have been completed by time of application. You cannot apply without the MRCP(UK) on the basis of EEA training which is due to finish after the application period.
This will depend on your training status to date, as below:
Completed CMT-comparable training
If you have completed a training programme which is comparable to the UK's CMT programme you need to provide evidence as below:
- details of how your training has met the criteria for being considered 'comparable' to UK core medical training, and
- a letter from the equivalent of the UK GMC in the country in which your training was completed, confirming that your training meets the EC directive;
- if you completed Basic Specialty Training in general internal medicine in Ireland, as the programme has already been assessed as comparable to UK CMT, you will just need to supply evidence that you completed this programme, along with your MRCPI diploma. Please note: you will still have to complete the 'Alternative Certificate of Core Competence' to demonstrate you meet the core competences you are required to have gained prior to entering ST3 training
You will need to demonstrate on the application form, via the employment section and in the specific MRCP(UK) section, that you have attained CMT-comparable training. You will be required to load documentary to your application of evidence of completion of the programme and the linked general internal medicine examination. You will be required to bring original copies of this evidence to interview if your application reaches that stage.
Gained a CCT (certificate of completion of training)
If you have gained a CCT in general internal medicine, or an alternative specialty which is an entry pathway for the specialty, and in a country that falls under the EC directive, you can provide evidence in one of two ways:
- acceptance onto the GMC specialist/GP register, or
- a letter from the GMC confirming mutual recognition of training.
You will need to demonstrate on the application form via the specific MRCP(UK) section, that you have attained this level of training. You will also need to upload evidence to your application form; this could be via a screenshot of the GMC specialist register or a scan of the letter from the GMC. If submitting the latter, you will need to supply the original document at interview.
Please note that completion of Basic Specialty Training in general internal medicine in Ireland is not at the level of a CCT.
We must emphasise that the information provided on this website is just the starting point in providing evidence of your EEA eligibility. Assessment of this evidence alongside your application will be undertaken after submission.
Please note that it will be at the discretion of the PSRO and those assessing your application as to whether they are satisfied that your training is indeed at the level required.
It is important to note that, depending on evidence submitted, it may not be possible to confirm eligibility at the time of application. So this should be considered an on-going assessment process up to the point of any interview attended.
On your application: in the MRCP(UK) section of the form you will be given the chance to indicate that you are applying via the EEA alternative training route and that you meet the MRCP(UK) requirement through your EEA training.
Those who are not eligible for the specialist register in general internal medicine, or an acceptable alternative, will be directed to include details of their training to demonstrate that it is comparable to UK core medical training. This will require explaining how the training meets each of the bullet points within the "How do I know if I am 'EEA eligible?'" heading above detailing what training must have entailed.
You are not required to upload any evidence to your application but may be contacted if it is not clear from your application whether you meet the criteria.
At interview: this will vary depending on whether you are eligible via the GMC specialist/GP register route or have completed CMT-comparable training.
- Eligible for the GMC specialist register in general internal medicine - if you are on the GMC specialist register for general internal medicine/alternative, this can be demonstrated via either a screenshot from the GMC register or just showing this on your phone at interview. If you are not yet on the register, you will need to supply a letter from the GMC confirming mutual recognition of your training.
- CMT-comparable training - you will need to supply documents showing that you have completed the programme and the linked general internal medicine examination. If you are required to supply anything else, this will be confirmed prior to interview. Irish trainees completing Basic Specialty Training in general internal medicine should provide evidence of completing this programme, in addition to their MRCPI diploma.
Please also note that EEA candidates who have completed training in another country can be awarded the same 12 points for MRCP(UK) that is available to those completing the MRCP(UK); please see the application scoring guidance for details about how to demonstrate this on the application form.
The MRCP(Ireland) examination will not be accepted as a direct substitute for the MRCP(UK) in Physician ST3 recruitment.
However, candidates who are EEA nationals, whose training to date has been undertaken under the Irish 'Basic Specialty Training' system, and who have gained the MRCP(Ireland) examination, are likely to be eligible under the EEA eligibility rule described in the above tab (assuming all other criteria are also met).
Hong Kong & Singapore
The MHKCP (Hong Kong) and MMed Singapore qualifications both contain the full MRCP(UK) diploma, and hence both will continue to be accepted as 'alternative' to MRCP(UK); as has been the case in previous years.