Preparation and guidance for the clinical exam (PACES)

Exam preparation

In order to help you prepare for PACES you should use the material available here which explains what happens on the exam day, provides practical examples of an exam day and sample scenarios from previous exams. If you have failed an attempt at PACES please read the advice from examiners on how you can improve. 

PACES candidate video

The PACES candidate video is available on YouTube and contains important information about the exam, and also practical examples of how the exam will run:

If you are an eligible candidate and have any questions or problems with viewing the video, please contact the PACES office at the College you intend to apply through here.

Candidate guidenotes

The candidate guidenotes describe what to expect on exam day from the moment you arrive at the exam centre. Download this information:

Candidate guidenotes

Speaking stations in international clinical exams

In Stations 1 and 3, if patients do not speak English, the candidate will be informed of this by the examiners. In this situation, the candidate is permitted to instruct the patient in any common language they may have, to facilitate the examination only, although all subsequent discussion with the examiners will be conducted entirely in English. If the patient does not speak English, and the candidate does not have a common language with the patient, then either one of the examiners will help with communication to facilitate the clinical examination, or a nurse/helper will be available to translate instructions and interpret responses for the candidate.

In stations 2 and 4, the patient/ surrogate will always speak English and all communication will be in English.

In Station 5, on any occasion that the patient does not speak English, an English speaking relative/friend will be present to relay all of the relevant history to candidates. If this occurs, then all of candidates communication will be with the relative/friend, but the candidate will physically examine the patient to identify the physical signs. As a result, there will not be a translator present and it will be expected that all discussion regarding diagnosis and management will be with the English-speaking relative/friend. This is the official regulation surrounding this issue and has been brought in to prevent the possibility of any miscommunication through a translator.

Please be aware that candidates will not be expected to have any knowledge of the local language, and will not be penalised for speaking in only English.

Please be aware that all administration before after and during the examination will be conducted in English.

Sample scenarios

These sample scenarios have previously been used in the examination. Please note that in the actual examination, candidates only receive the section marked 'Information for the candidate'.

Station Download sample scenarios
Station 2 - History-taking skills

Station 2 sample scenarios

Station 4 - Communication skills and ethics

Station 4 sample scenarios

Station 5 - Integrated clinical assessment

Sample scenario 1     Sample scenario 2

Sample scenario 3     Sample scenario 4