Specialty Certificate Examination Frequently Asked Questions
There are no restrictions on taking the SCEs*, however UK trainees would usually take it during their penultimate year of higher specialist training and overseas candidates are advised to take the SCE at a similar or later point in their training/career.
Please see your Specialty page for further information.
*Trainees who take the SCE in Dermatology and Geriatric Medicine are still required to hold the MRCP(UK) Diploma.
The following specialties are involved in the Specialty Certificate Examinations: Acute Medicine; Dermatology; Endocrinology and Diabetes; Gastroenterology; Geriatric Medicine; Infectious Diseases; Medical Oncology; Nephrology; Neurology; Palliative Medicine; Respiratory Medicine; and Rheumatology.
Are there restrictions to how many different Specialty Certificate Examinations I may take?
No, there are no restrictions, you may enter and sit for as many Specialty Certificate Examinations as you wish. Please note that from January 2014 candidates will only be permitted a maximum of six attempts at each SCE examination in line with the General Medical Council’s Limit on Attempts policy. Please see the Limit on Attempts webpage for further information.
Yes, you must be logged into your own personal area of the website. You should then go to the Upcoming Exams page. Use the Apply button next to the Specialty Certificate Examination for which you wish to apply. You will prompted to update your current address and contact details before proceeding to complete the online application. If the Apply button is not active the application period is not yet open and we are currently not accepting applications for that exam.
You will be reassigned a new password if you enter your user details (current email address) into the Password Reset section of the My MRCP(UK) Sign In page. You will then be able to continue with your application.
How soon after applying to sit the SCE overseas will I receive confirmation of my exam venue?
The Federation and Pearson VUE will confirm details of the test location at least three weeks before the exam date. Please note that, in the unlikely event that the Federation and Pearson VUE are unable to deliver an SCE in the specific location requested, candidates will be offered an alternative location.
Pearson VUE doesn’t recognise my RCP Code. What should I do?
Pearson VUE recognises your RCP Code in a slightly different format than that which you are used to. If you have a 5-digit RCP Code, prefix it with RCP00. A candidate with the RCP Code 12345 would thus quote “RCP0012345” to Pearson VUE. If you have a 6-digit RCP Code, prefix it with RCP0. A candidate with the RCP Code 123456 would thus quote “RCP0123456” to Pearson VUE. If they still don’t recognise your RCP Code, contact us.
The Specialty Certificate Examinations cover all areas of knowledge acquired throughout the training period. You should review what you have learned throughout higher specialist training.
Each specialty is preparing a list of useful resources, such as textbooks and journals, and links to guidelines. These will be added to the specialty pages as they become available. There are also links to the published curricula and sample questions on the specialty pages.
The questions are multiple choice 'best of five' format where a candidate chooses the best answer from five possible answers. The questions will usually have a clinical scenario, may include the results of investigations and may be illustrated. Questions are asked about the diagnosis, investigation, management, and prognosis of patients.
Sample questions are available for all the specialties. To view the questions go to your Specialty page.
The JRCPTB website provides a list of acronyms and terminology. You might find what you’re looking for there.
What happens if I am late for my exam?
We request that all candidates arrive for the exam 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed into the venue, and will be unable to sit the exam. This means that you will not be entitled to a refund of the examination fee.
Computer-based testing (CBT) is a method of presenting tests where the responses are electronically recorded, usually via a computer or a computerised electronic device. The computer replaces paper and candidates answer by using a mouse or keyboard. The results are also electronically stored and assessed.
Each Specialty Certificate Examination will be held throughout the UK at Pearson VUE test centres and in international venues not less than once each year.
Please note that we do not have set centres for international candidates. All SCEs are provided on a supply and demand basis.
On applying to sit the examination, international candidates are given the choice to select a country and city/town where they would like to sit.
We are then able to send this request to Pearson VUE who will either accommodate you in your first choice of examination centre, or allocate you to the next nearest available test centre.
*For candidates who request to sit examinations in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia): Please note that candidates will be allocated seats in either a male or female test centre where available. If we are not able to accommodate you in a segregated test centre we will communicate with you directly to arrange an alternative test venue.
Pearson VUE is the company with which the Federation has signed up to provide the Specialty Certificate Examinations. The Specialty Certificate Examinations are held at Pearson VUE test centres.
Yes, the test is exactly the same at the overseas centres.
Candidates are not allowed to take anything into the exam room, this includes all food and drink. The test centres provide water and secure lockers for the storage if candidates' belongings outside the exam room. For reasons of security you will not be allowed to use paper or pens/pencils, a wipe-clean board and pen is available instead.
Each Specialty Certificate Examination currently takes place once a year. Please see your Specialty page and the Exams Dates section for more details about when the SCE in your specialty will be held.
No, refreshments are not always available. You are advised to take your own snacks and water. These cannot be taken into the exam room but must be kept in a locker which you can access during the exam.
Payment for the Specialty Certificate Examination can be made via your My MRCP(UK) account with a credit/debit card, cheque or cash.
You will prompted to select your preferred payment method during the online application process. If you choose to pay by credit/debit card you will be directed to Paypal or Streamline depending on where your card was issued, you will then be prompted to enter your card details. It is very important that you do not click the 'back' button or close the browser window during the payment process. Doing so will cancel your payment and will cause your application to be incomplete. You would then need to contact us to arrange for us to take the Examination fee payment as you will not be able to make additional attempts at paying the Examination fee online.
If you choose to pay the Examination fee by cheque, send your cheque made payable to the 'Royal College of Physicians' with a covering note to the Specialty Certificate Examination Office. Write your name, RCP code and the Specialty Certificate Examination you are applying for on the back of the cheque.
Please do not send cash by post. You should instead visit the Specialty Certificate Examination Office in person to make any cash payments for which you will be given a receipt.
The process for setting exam fees starts in the previous July (eg. July 2012 for fees running from January to December 2013). All the economic and political factors are taken into consideration at the July MRCP(UK) Management Board. Over the past few years it has been agreed that increases should be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July which is published in August. There follows a period of consultation with trainees and our partners in the SCEs, the specialist societies. The fees are then formally set at the September MRCP(UK) Management Board and published in October.
For more information on the financial aspects of the SCEs please view the financial FAQs:
SCE financial FAQs
We have investigated this matter and it is not possible to claim tax relief on Specialty Certificate Examination fees.
All candidates who took the exam for the first time in 2008, 2009 or 2010 and who failed their first attempt are entitled to a retake at no extra charge. This offer applies to all candidates, in the UK and overseas.
If you wish to register for a free resit please email email@example.com.
From 2011 onwards, candidates who fail the exam and wish to resit are charged the full exam fees.
What qualification will I receive for passing the Specialty Certificate Examination?
Candidates who pass the Specialty Certificate Examination will receive a certificate.
For UK trainees
Trainees with MRCP(UK) who pass the Specialty Certificate Examination in their specialty and who are recommended for a CCT are granted the postnominal MRCP(UK) (Specialty). For more details, visit the JRCPTB website.
What qualification will I receive for passing the Specialty Certificate Examination if I am not in a UK higher specialist training programme?
The Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) allows you to demonstrate your level of knowledge in your specialty. Success in the examination does not grant the right to practise within the UK or elsewhere.
Candidates are awarded a certificate in recognition of their achievement. They are not given the right to add letters or a postnominal after their name.
When will the results for my Specialty Certificate Examination be released?
Results are usually released no more than 4 weeks after the exam date.
The Specialty Certificate Examinations were established in response to PMETB’s requirement to include an assessment of knowledge in higher specialty training (August 2007). Specialist Societies have worked in partnership with the Federation to develop a Specialty Certificate that meets this need.
Currently candidates are welcome to attempt the Specialty Certificate Examination as many times as they wish, subject to continuing satisfaction of the eligibility criteria. Please note that from January 2014 candidates will only be permitted a maximum of six attempts at each SCE examination in line with the General Medical Council’s Limit on Attempts policy. Please see the Limit on Attempts webpage for further information.