Written exams weekly update: 11 January

11 Jan 2021

The following information is correct at the time of publishing.

Part 1: UK

As a consequence of the latest lockdown restrictions announced by the governments of the UK, the Federation of the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians has taken the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the paper-based Part 1 examination due to take place in written centres in all four UK nations on Tuesday 12 January.

This decision does not affect those candidates who are already confirmed to sit the Part 1 examination online on 12 January.  

All candidates affected by this cancellation will be transferred to the contingency date for the examination which is planned for 30 March 2021. This will take place online for all candidates. MRCP(UK) will be in direct contact will affected candidates with further details. Unfortunately, it is not possible to move candidates to the current online examination taking place on 12 January at this late stage, as we advised in our communication before Christmas.

We recognise that this cancellation will be disruptive and will cause anxiety for many candidates but the safety of all candidates, administrators, invigilators and has been paramount in reaching this decision. The impact of the latest announcements by the UK governments has meant that we could not guarantee the running of the paper-based examination in written centres in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. To provide clarity as soon as possible and to avoid any further uncertainty for candidates as the examination date approaches, it was critical that we made this decision now.

Part 1: international

At present, the examination is set to run in international written centres on Tuesday 12 January as planned.

As for the online examination in the UK, the online examination internationally will run as planned.  

Part 2 examinations

As a consequence of the escalating pandemic and UK wide lockdown restrictions the decision has been taken to run the 2021/1 diet of the MRCP(UK) Part 2 written examination on 23 March 2021 completely online for candidates who intend to sit in the UK and those candidates in a select number of countries who need to sit the examination for their career progression. Candidates from the Republic of Ireland who had intended to sit the exam in Northern Ireland will also be able to apply to sit the examination online.

Applications for the 2021/1 diet opened on Monday 11 January and will close on Friday 22 January.  

Any candidates who have already applied to sit the exam in the UK will be transferred to the online exam. Any UK or international candidate who is unable to sit the online examination should request a reasonable adjustment here.

The Part 2 examination will continue to run in physical centres in all other countries as planned.

Specialty Certificate Exams / European Specialty Exams

All SCE / ESE exams for 2021 are currently planned to run as scheduled, in Pearson Vue centres; details for each specialty can be found here.

Contingency exams for each SCE / ESE (for candidates whose place is cancelled or who, after registration, cannot take the exam due to COVID-related reasons) are being arranged, and dates will also be put on the website for each specialty as they are finalised.

Live Twitter chats

Live Q&A sessions about the exams occur on our Twitter account on a regular basis, arranged around the time of upcoming exams. Keep an eye out on our page for dates of the next one.


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: Policy.Officer@mrcpuk.org

For all updates visit the COVID-19 hub here.