2018 Part 2 FAQs

When and where will the new format examination be run?

There will be no change to the range of examination centres offering the Part 2 examination. In 2018 the examination will be on 27 March, 27 June, 24 October.

Why is the change being made?

Good examinations play an important role in the protection of patients by ensuring that doctors have the appropriate high level of knowledge and skill. They should give every doctor a fair chance to demonstrate his or her level of ability, but should also be proportionate. MRCP(UK) is aware of the increasing demands made on the service, and examination candidates, and is keen to reduce the assessment burden where this will not impact the quality of the examination.

Detailed research was undertaken to ensure that the expected benefits of a shorter examination (such as savings for candidates; hospitals losing service from trainees for less time; scope for innovation in examination delivery) were not outweighed by any potential disadvantages (such as reduced coverage of the curriculum in any one examination, and increased time constraints due to more questions).

Will the pass mark change?

The pass mark will remain at 454. Part 2 written examinations results are calculated using a process called equating. Equating is a statistical procedure used to adjust scores to account for the varying level of difficulty of test forms or diets. MRCP(UK) uses equating to ensure that candidates receive comparable results for comparable performance in different diets of the examination. Any change in difficulty will be accounted for within the equating process.

The specialty certificate examinations have 100 questions of a similar level of complexity per 3 hour paper.

How will the quality of the examination be maintained?

There will be no change to the processes of putting together an appropriate Part 2 examination. The questions writing groups will continue to write questions in the same format, and the examination content will still be drawn from the UK curriculum. Processes for selecting questions for the paper and standard setting will remain as they are currently.

Why has the number of questions per paper increased?

One of the key measures of quality is the reliability of the examination. In order to ensure that the reliability of the examination remains at an acceptable level, 200 questions are needed. Detailed modelling was undertaken to establish the number of questions required to ensure an acceptable level of reliability.

Will there be any change to the status of the examination?

No. The examination is one of three parts that make up the MRCP(UK) diploma. The change has been fully considered and approved by the GMC in the UK, and there is no change to the place of the examination or the MRCP(UK) diploma in UK training.

What sort of questions will the new format examination include?

The style of questions in the examination will not change. 

Will the examination fee change?

Currently the fee for the three paper Part 2 written examination is the same as the fee for the two paper Part 1 examination.  The fee for the Part 2 examination will continue to remain frozen at its present level as we continually aim to provide value for money for candidates.