PACES exams weekly update: 14 December

14 Dec 2020

The following information is correct at the time of publishing.

Prioritisation Criteria

The College teams are currently working on the prioritisation and allocation of PACES places for 2021/01. The number of applications has exceeded our available capacity so a random ballot will be undertaken. Those candidates in priority groups 3 and 4 will not receive a place in 2021 diet 1.

Candidates who believe they have been miscategorised should email their relevant College Exams team providing the following details:

  • the category you believe you should be in
  • documentary evidence of their current or prospective training post (for example, if they believe they should be prioritised as Category 1 they should submit evidence of acceptance into an ST3 post)

Further information is available here.

Format of UK PACES in 2021

In UK centres, until further notice, PACES will continue to run in the COVID-19 modified format with 2 mini carousels. Full details and instructional videos are available here.

International PACES

International PACES centres will continue to run the traditional 5 station carousel. However, there will be increased times between patient encounters to permit rigorous hand washing and appropriate changing of PPE. The PPE requirements will depend on infection control practices in the country where the exam is taking place.

Currently, eleven PACES centres are planning to run between February and April 2021. All candidate places have now been allocated. It is anticipated that this will double the available international PACES compared to the 2020/03 diet.

Appeals Process

We wish to remind candidates that MRCP(UK) has an appeal process for candidates who feel they have been disadvantaged in any of our exams. Details are available here.

Live Twitter chats

Live Q&A sessions about PACES have been taking place on our Twitter account on a regular basis, and we have felt this has been very successful and a very useful way for candidates and MRCP(UK) to communicate during the recent period whilst we have been restarting our exams following the first lockdown. These will continue, and for the future we will be arranging them around the dates of exams. They will take a short break over the Christmas / New Year period, and will return on Tuesday 5 January 2021.     


We are always keen on feedback. If you have specific queries relating to your exam day please contact the exams office at your College of entry.

For other general queries or suggestions please email: