MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written Examination Format

*Please note*. The Part 2 written examination will move to a single day format from the beginning of 2018. The new examination will consist of two, three hour papers each with 100 questions. The fee for the Part 2 written examination will remain the same as that for the Part 1 written examination. Click here for more information.

The MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written Examination has 270 questions in a three-paper format held over two successive days. Each paper in the Part 2 Written Examination is 3 hours in duration and contains 90 multiple choice questions.

The range of ability of candidates entering the Part 2 Written Examination is inevitably less broad in comparison with the MRCP(UK) Part 1 Examination, since only those who have passed the Part 1 Examination can enter the Part 2 Written Examination. As a result of this more questions are needed in the Part 2 Written Examination to ensure nationally acceptable standards of reliability are met. The examination has achieved the necessary level of reliability on every occasion since the number of questions was increased to 270. Having 270 questions also enables comprehensive sampling from the UK Specialty Training Curriculum for Core Medical Training and ensures that the three papers cover the breadth of medical practice that candidates should be familiar with.

The composition of the papers is as follows:

Specialty Number of questions*
Cardiology 25
Dermatology 13
Endocrinology and metabolic medicine 25
Gastroenterology 25
Geriatric medicine 10
Haematology 13
Infectious diseases and GUM 25
Neurology 25
Nephrology 25
Oncology and palliative medicine 13
Ophthalmology 4
Psychiatry 4
Respiratory medicine 25
Rheumatology 13
Therapeutics and toxicology 25

*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. The candidate chooses 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 for the MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written Examination can be viewed on the exam pass mark page of our website and in the MRCP(UK) Regulations.