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Am I eligible?

This page will help you decide whether you are able to take our exams.

The MRCPsych Examinations can be taken by:

  • Doctors in an approved training programme
  • Doctors in the UK who are not in an approved training programme
  • Doctors from the EU who are working or have worked Overseas
  • Non-EU doctors who are working or have worked Overseas

A UK Psychiatrist’s Journey

This diagram illustrates the typical training timeline of a UK psychiatrist from Foundation years through to being a Consultant.

The MRCPsych Paper A Examination can be taken from FY2 but does not count towards eligibility requirements for Paper B or the CASC. Candidates will progress through the MRCPsych Examination from CT1 – CT3 where they go onto specialty training, obtain their CCT and then become a Consultant.

A trainees journey to becoming a consultant psychiatrist

You are eligible to take Paper A if you are a fully registered medical practitioner.

You are eligible to take Paper B if:

  • you’re on an approved training programme. We recommend you have 12 months’ experience in psychiatry before attempting Paper B.OR
  • you are in a post recognised by your hospital or trust as having contracted time and funding for educational training. Your job plan must include dedicated time for academic and educational activities such as attending journal clubs, grand rounds, attending an MRCPsych course of equivalent, study leave and weekly educational supervision.

You are eligible to take CASC if:

  1. You have 24 months’ whole time equivalent post foundation / internship experience in psychiatry.AND
  2. A pass in Papers A and B, OR you comply with transitional arrangements (this requirement has been waived for the 2020 exams)
    AND
  3. You have sponsorship in place, and can demonstrate one of the following:
    1. If your post is within a programme of approved training, you have successfully completed the Annual Review of Competence Progression by the time you apply for CASC.
    2. for all other posts, you must have successfully completed an Assessment Portfolio, showing achievement of equivalent competencies to those defined in the ARCP, to include competencies in Psychotherapy AND Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, or Learning Disability.

For more detailed information about the eligibility criteria including sponsorship requirements, see the exams eligibility criteria and regulations (PDF).

Candidates are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Examination Candidates (PDF), which applies to all MRCPsych examinations. Non-compliance with the Code may lead to disqualification from the relevant examination.

Preparing for exams

This section will help you learn more about what you need to do to prepare for each exam.

A College resource available is Trainees Online (TrOn) which is an online learning resource to support trainee psychiatrists in preparing for MRCPsych exams. For any queries regarding TrOn please contact tron@rcpsych.ac.uk

 

MRCPsych Paper A is a written paper on the scientific and theoretical basis of psychiatry.

How long is the exam and what are the questions?

Paper A is a three hour exam worth 150 marks, comprised of 150 questions.

It is made up of approximately:

  1. two-thirds multiple choice questions (MCQ) and
  2. one-third extended matching item questions (EMI).

What does it cover?

Paper A covers the following sections of the syllabus:

  1. Behavioural Science and Sociocultural Psychiatry
  2. Human Development
  3. Basic Neurosciences
  4. Clinical Psychopharmacology
  5. Classification and Assessment in Psychiatry

On Paper A, the percentage split/marks on a 150 mark exam is/would be:

Behavioural Science and Socio-cultural Psychiatry16.67% / 25
Human Development16.67% / 25
Basic Neurosciences25.00% / 37 or 38
Clinical Psychopharmacology25.00% / 37 or 38
Classification and Assessment in Psychiatry16.67% / 25

 

MRCPsych Paper B is a written paper which assesses critical review and the clinical topics in psychiatry.

How long is the exam and what are the questions?

Paper B is a three-hour exam worth 150 marks, comprised of 150 questions.

It is made up of approximately two-thirds multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and one-third extended matching item questions (EMI).

  • One-third of the paper covers critical review.
  • Two-thirds of the paper covers clinical topics.

What will it cover?

Paper B will cover the following sections of the syllabus:

  1. Organisation and Delivery of Psychiatric Services
  2. General Adult Psychiatry
  3. Old Age Psychiatry
  4. Psychotherapy
  5. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  6. Substance Misuse/Addictions
  7. Forensic Psychiatry
  8. Psychiatry of Learning Disability
  9. Critical Review

 

Organisation and delivery5.50% / 8
General Adult20.00% / 30
Old Age9.00% / 14
Psychotherapy5.50% / 8
Child & Adolescent9.00% / 14
Substance misuse6.50% / 10
Forensic5.50% / 8
Learning disability5.50% / 8
Critical Review33.5% / 50

 

The Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) tests your clinical skills in a range of clinical situations.

What is the format for the CASC?

The CASC format is like an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination).

Please note the circuit of eight ‘link stations’ which used to take place during the morning session has ceased to exist.

The CASC is made up of two circuits of individual stations which will test your clinical skills:

  • The morning circuit will allow you 4 minutes to read the instructions (PDF) and 7 minutes to complete the consultation task
  • The afternoon circuit will allow you 90 seconds to read the instructions and 7 minutes to complete the consultation task.

The sixteen CASC station exam is made up of:

  • five stations focused on History Taking, including risk assessment
  • five stations focused on Examination – both physical and mental state, including capacity assessment
  • six stations focused on patient Management.

Circuit 1

  • 6 stations focused on Management
  • 1 x station focused on Examination
  • 1 x station focused on History Taking
  • 4 minutes reading time prior to entering each station
  • 7 minutes to perform the task

Circuit 2

  • 4 x stations focused on Examination
  • 4 x stations focused on History Taking
  • 90 seconds reading time prior to entering each station
  • 7 minutes to perform the task

The College reserves the right to change the order in which the circuits are presented.

How is the CASC marked?

See the criteria for scoring a pass mark in CASC.

Please see updated CASC marksheets:

Guide for CASC candidates

For further information about stations, the role players and how you will be assessed, see the CASC candidate guide.

Further information

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