The exam has 200 questions in a two-paper format held over one day. Each paper is 3 hours and contains 100 multiple choice questions. Details of the blueprint can be found here.

The composition of the papers is as follows:

Specialty Number of questions*
Cardiology 19
Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 18
Dermatology 9
Endocrinology, diabetes and metabolic medicine 19
Gastroenterology and Hepatology 19
Geriatric medicine 9
Haematology 9
Infectious diseases 19
Medical ophthalmology 3
Neurology 17
Oncology 6
Palliative medicine and end of life care 3
Psychiatry 3
Renal medicine 19
Respiratory medicine 19
Rheumatology 9

*This should be taken as an indication of the likely number of questions – the actual number may vary by up to 2%.
A proportion of the questions will be on adolescent medicine.

Question content

The questions will usually have a clinical scenario, may include the results of investigations and may be illustrated with images such as clinical photographs, pathology slides, inheritance trees, ECGs, X-rays, CT and MR scans, and echocardiograms.

Questions are asked about the diagnosis, investigation, management, and prognosis of patients using multiple choice questions in 'best of five' format. This format, in addition to testing core knowledge and comprehension, also assesses the ability to interpret information and to solve clinical problems. There will be five options: one correct answer and four alternatives to the correct answer. The four distractors will be closely related to the preferred option but less correct, therefore acting as plausible alternatives. You choose the best answer from the five possible answers. Each correct answer is awarded one mark; there is no negative marking.

The results of each examination are benchmarked using a process of test equating which ensures that the pass mark is adjusted for the difficulty of the paper and the ability range of the candidates. The reliability of every examination is monitored, and provides assurance that the results identify those candidates who have achieved the required standard. A detailed explanation of the marking system used can be viewed on the exam pass mark page of our website and in the MRCP(UK) Regulations.