Specialty Certificate Examinations

Introduction

The purpose of the Specialty Certificate Examinations is to:

  • ensure that certified specialists have sufficient knowledge of their specialty to practice safely and competently as consultants
  • complement workplace-based assessments
  • provide a rigorous national assessment to establish public confidence
  • offer a challenge similar to sub-specialty certification examination in North America

For information on how you can further your career with the SCEs please see:

Specialty Certificate Examinations - Qualifications to broaden your horizons

Place of Specialty Certificate Examinations in training

A Specialty Certificate Examination is now a compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) for all UK trainees whose specialist training began in or after August 2007 and is in one of the following specialties:

  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medical Oncology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Rheumatology

For UK trainees who started CCT training to the new AIM curriculum on or after 1 August 2009, the SCE in Acute Medicine will be the mandatory knowledge-based assessment.

The Specialty Certificate Examinations meet requirements for knowledge-based assessments that are a part of the curricula submitted to the General Medical Council (GMC) by the Specialist Advisory Committees (SACs). UK trainees who have completed MRCP(UK) would normally take the Specialty Certificate Examination during higher specialist training, and should have made at least one attempt by the time of their penultimate year assessment. The Specialty Certificate Examination is a prerequisite for attainment of the CCT.

SCE pass mark review

MRCP(UK) has gained permission from the General Medical Council (GMC) to change the way the pass mark is calculated for the Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs).

Until now, the pass mark has been decided with reference to the performance of all candidates worldwide. However, recent changes to the eligibility requirements have reduced the pass mark and increased the pass rate (particularly for UK trainees) in a number of specialties, enabling candidates with less knowledge to pass. If this trend had been allowed to continue, there was a danger that the SCEs could have become progressively easier to pass, and candidates could feasibly gain specialist registration without sufficient knowledge for safe independent practice. To prevent this from happening, the pass mark for each SCE will in future take account of the performance of UK trainees only.

This change will take effect for all SCEs in 2014.

Contact us

For further information regarding the Specialty Certificate Examinations please contact us.