Return to pre-COVID format of PACES

29 Mar 2022

We are pleased to announce that the PACES examination in the UK will revert to the pre-COVID, five station, format from the 2022/2 diet. 

This means that there will no longer be a two mini cycle format, and all stations will be run on a face-to-face basis. Candidates will still, however, be expected to have a negative lateral flow test on the day of the exam, to use the PPE provided at centres and to adhere to the local infection control guidance.  

The change back to the standard carousel will allow MRCP(UK) to increase the number of examination places offered, and the range of candidates that we are able to accommodate in the examination.  

In addition, candidates are asked to note the change in the prioritisation criteria for allocating spaces in this diet. Full details are given in the PACES UK 2022/2 Prioritisation Criteria update here.

In order to maximise the number of examination spaces, some centres will be running cycles for six (rather than the usual five) candidates. This will mean that candidates will still be assessed in the normal five stations but that there will be a sixth “rest” station during their examination, and that the total time of the examination will therefore be increased by around 30 minutes in these centres. Candidates will be informed whether they will be in a five or six candidate cycle when they receive their centre allocation. The General Medical Council has authorised introduction of the six station model following analysis conducted by MRCP(UK) on delivery of PACES during the pandemic. This demonstrated that the recent changes to the format of PACES had no impact on delivery or examination outcomes in comparison to previous trends.

Applications for the 2022/2 diet open on Monday 4 April 2022 for one week.