Host information and guidelines

Hosting – running a PACES centre

Hosting involves setting up an examination centre at your local hospital to run PACES. As host you will oversee the organisation of the examination and be responsible for securing a venue, recruiting patients, finding administrative support and writing Station 5 scenarios.

Hosting is a very important role and a hugely rewarding experience and it is vital that enough centres are recruited to ensure sufficient candidate spaces are provided for trainees to complete the MRCP(UK) Diploma.

Read about the benefits of hosting PACES from one of our hosts, Dr Jeremy Stern, Consultant Neurologist at Frimley Park Hospital:

"Hosting, like many of our other roles, is a team building exercise. It is professionally very satisfying and justifies the commitment required. Apart from the opportunity to provide places for trainees and future specialists it is an essential way to become more involved in PACES and support MRCP(UK). Hosting adds to the education portfolio in the hospital and attracts interest from local colleagues. Several of our colleagues became new examiners which is a benefit for the local CMTs in their own exam preparations."

Resources required to host PACES

  • agreement from relevant trust officials to provide space and time to host the exam
  • a minimum of one MRCP(UK) PACES examiner on site to act as the official ‘host’ or lead examiner. Clinicians who are not examiners can be involved in the organisation of the exam but the official examiner needs to be recognised as the lead as they will have completed necessary training and signed up to relevant exam codes.
  • availability of an administrator(s) to assist with exam organisation.

Staff and facilities required:

  • sufficient number of patients to run three cycles of the examination per day for two days; (Stations 2 and 4 are based on scenarios that can be performed by actors)
  • relevant equipment
  • sufficient space.

The total cost of the examination will be covered by your affiliate college. Expenses that are expected to be incurred include the following:

  • centre venue hire
  • catering
  • cost of nursing staff
  • administration costs
  • patient gifts.

How do I find out about setting up a new centre?

If you are interested in hosting please contact your affiliated college  to express your interest and they will happily discuss dates and provide all the support you need.

Hosting guidelines

The colleges provide material to help exam organisers deliver PACES. All this is available to download.

During each exam cycle, candidate scores must be recorded on the electronic Candidate Performance Summary (eCPS) and then emailed to the relevant College. Please see the Guide to using the eCPS for instructions.

Documents for use ahead of exam day

PACES timetables Example timetables for two- and three-cycle days
Timings at each Station Timings for examiners at each Station
Guidelines for Station 5 scenarios A practical guide to writing and vetting Station 5 scenarios
Station 5 template form A template for Station 5 scenarios
Patient leaflet for Stations 1 and 3 To be distributed to patient volunteers in advance of the exam
Patient leaflet for Stations 2 and 4 To be distributed to patient volunteers in advance of the exam
Patient leaflet for Station 5 To be distributed to patient volunteers in advance of the exam
Signs: exams in progress Exam day signage
Signs: MRCP(UK) direction signs and arrows Exam day signage
Signs: MRCP(UK) station signs Exam day signage


Documents for use on the day

Clock/timer instructions Instructions for the Jessop Triple Timer Clock and the Quantum 3 Timer Clock
Discussion sheet Used to highlight candidates who require written counselling
Centre audit form Completed by Host and Chair examiner at each centre
Centre incident form To be completed by the Chair at the end of each examining day
Verbal roughness Definition of verbal roughness in the PACES exam
Calibration sheets Used by examiners to agree the scoring for each case
Scenario Assessment Form - Station 2 To be completed by examiners on Station 2
Scenario Assessment Form - Station 4 To be completed by examiners on Station 4
Scenario Assessment Form - Station 5 To be completed by examiners on Station 5


International centres

International host guide Guide to help hosts organise PACES
Chair of Examiners Report Completed by the Chair of Examiners at each centre
Confidentiality agreement station content To be signed by all examiners and individuals involved with organising the examination at the centre
Confidentiality agreement results To be signed by all examiners and individuals involved with organising the examination at the centre