Specialty Certificate Examinations

Our globally recognised Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs) offer physicians a postgraduate qualification which demonstrates to prospective employers achievement of a standard required of UK specialist trainees.

If you would like more information on when and how to apply as well as tips on revision and preparation, register your details here.

The purpose of the Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs) is to:

  • ensure that certified specialists have sufficient knowledge of their specialty to practice safely and competently as consultants
  • complement workplace-based assessments
  • provide a rigorous national assessment to establish public confidence
  • offer a challenge similar to sub-specialty certification examination in North America

Place of Specialty Certificate Examinations in training

A Specialty Certificate Examination is now a compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) for all UK trainees whose specialist training began in or after August 2007 and is in one of the following specialties:

  • Acute Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Gastroenterology (Now the ESEGH from 2018)
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Medical Oncology
  • Nephrology (Now the ESENeph from 2020)
  • Neurology
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Rheumatology

There are no eligibility requirements for international candidates.

The SCEs meet requirements for knowledge-based assessments that are a part of the curricula submitted to the General Medical Council (GMC) by the Specialist Advisory Committees (SACs). UK trainees who have completed MRCP(UK) would normally take the SCE during higher specialist training, and should have made at least one attempt by the time of their penultimate year assessment. The SCE is a prerequisite for attainment of the CCT.

Purpose of Specialty Certificate Examinations

Candidates should be aware that the examinations are a test of their knowledge of key areas of the UK specialty training curriculum. The competences tested by the SCE are clearly stated in the specialty curriculum (available on the JRCPTB website). The SCE forms part of the package of assessment that Specialty Trainees are required to complete in order to obtain their CCT; it is not designed to test only knowledge of everyday working practice.

Images in questions

MRCP(UK) values the feedback it receives from candidates who take our examinations.  The responses in surveys are analysed in detail and reported to examining boards.

A lot of comments are left in response to the question in the survey about the quality of images, particularly about the lack of facilities for manipulating images (e.g. with a zoom function).

Candidates should be aware that all of the information necessary to answer the question is in the image provided and the stem. Images are checked by Examining Boards on computer displays that match the specification of those at the examination centre; we deliberately do not include questions that require images to be manipulated as we are aware that this function is not available.

SCE pass mark review

MRCP(UK) has gained permission from the General Medical Council (GMC) to change the way the pass mark is calculated for the Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs).

Until now, the pass mark has been decided with reference to the performance of all candidates worldwide. However, recent changes to the eligibility requirements have reduced the pass mark and increased the pass rate (particularly for UK trainees) in a number of specialties, enabling candidates with less knowledge to pass. If this trend had been allowed to continue, there was a danger that the SCEs could have become progressively easier to pass, and candidates could feasibly gain specialist registration without sufficient knowledge for safe independent practice. To prevent this from happening, the pass mark for each SCE will in future take account of the performance of UK trainees only.

This change took effect for all SCEs in 2014.

Contact us

For further information regarding the SCEs please contact us.