History of the MRCP(UK) Examination
The three Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom share a common membership examination in general medicine: this is the examination for the Diploma of Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom. Successful candidates are eligible to apply for the award of the MRCP(UK) Diploma.
The MRCP(UK) Examination consists of three parts: Part 1, Part 2 Written and Part 2 Clinical Examination (PACES). The MRCP(UK) Examination provides valid, reliable evidence of attainment in knowledge, clinical skills and behaviour, and is a mandatory component of assessment for Core Medical Training (CMT). In the UK it is recognised as an entry qualification for specialty training. For more information on the place of the MRCP(UK) in training please see: MRCP(UK) – The Place of MRCP(UK) in Training. Further information on CMT and specialty training is available from the JRCPTB website.
The three Royal Colleges of Physicians have been holding membership examinations for many years. In the London College the Censors, helped by other examiners, had the duty to carry out the assessment of candidates and advise the College. In Glasgow and Edinburgh boards of examiners were responsible for the membership examination. The MRCP(London) examination began in 1859 and a numerical marking system was devised in 1893. In 1861 the RCP(Edinburgh) introduced their membership and in 1881 an examination. In 1886 the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow introduced an examination for their Fellowship and in 1964 when the Faculty became the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow the examination was changed to one of membership for Physicians.
In the late 1960s the need to have a single recognised membership examination throughout the United Kingdom was recognised. Such an examination made it unnecessary for junior doctors to enter several membership examinations and removed the suggestion that the standards of the examination at the three Colleges were different. In October 1968 the first joint examination was set up, and since then the MRCP(UK) has evolved and developed into the three-part examination that is recognised across the world today.
Specialty Certificate Examinations
In spring 2006, the Joint Committee on Higher Medical Training carried out a pilot study to assess the validity and reliability of Specialty Certificate Examinations. Following the success of this pilot the first assessment took place in spring 2008. The Specialty Certificate Examinations have been developed by the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK, in association with the specialist societies and are a compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) for all UK trainees whose specialty training began in or after August 2007. For further information please see: MRCP(UK) - Specialty Certificate.