MRCPsych CASC Pass Mark
To meet the minimum standard required in the CASC exam,
candidates must meet or exceed the total borderline regression
score and achieve the passing score in a minimum of 12 stations.
Candidates must meet both criteria to be successful. The reason
candidates have to meet both criteria is to ensure that they have
demonstrated an acceptable level of performance across a broad
range of stations that reflect the breadth of core training.
Candidates who score highly in some stations cannot use this to
compensate for low performance in other stations.
The Borderline Regression Method is considered to be the most
objective way of setting the standard for practical exams. Each
CASC station is marked by an appropriately-trained examiner, who
provides two sets of scores: (1) 5 point ‘analytic’ global domain
scores ranging from 1 (Poor) to 5 (Excellent) for between three and
five domains and (2) One 6-point overall global judgement which
comprises Excellent Pass, Pass, Borderline Pass, Borderline Fail,
Fail, or Severe Fail (refer to Grade
Descriptors). The total weighted domain scores are regressed
onto their global scores to produce a linear equation for each
station. The total domain score for borderline pass candidates,
determined through this line of best fit becomes the pass mark for
that station. The pass mark for the whole exam is the average of
the station pass marks for that day.
It is important for reasons of policy and patient safety only to
pass candidates who are clearly competent. All examinations are
therefore subject to a ‘standard error of measurement’ (SEM). So,
for the CASC exam, the initial indication of a standard is raised
by an estimate of measurement error.
Passing a station is dependent on the
station score. Overall judgements for each station are used only to
set the pass mark via the regression equation e.g. an examiner can
give an overall judgement of Borderline Fail but a candidate can
still pass the station. Therefore, the secondary passing criteria
of 12 stations is based on station cut scores and not the overall
judgement of examiners.
The minimum of 12 stations has been set on the basis that: (i)
the eight single stations cover basic clinical skills (information
gathering, mental state examination, communication, etc) and a
borderline candidate should be expected to pass seven out of eight
single stations; and (ii) the 10 minute linked stations are
intended to test higher level clinical management skills (clinical
analysis, reasoning, decision making, etc) and a borderline
candidate should be expected to pass five out of eight stations.
Stations in both circuits are not all of equal difficulty. In
recognition of this, the Examinations Sub Committee has set a
minimum total number of stations to pass across the whole exam
rather than separate thresholds for single and linked stations.
In addition, any candidate who receives two or more marks that
indicate a severe fail in a station will have their overall
performance reviewed by the Examinations Sub Committee (ESC) and
may fail the examination, irrespective of their total test score or
whether they have achieved the passing score in a minimum of 12
stations. The ESC sets the final pass/fail criteria based on due
consideration and analysis after the examination, taking account of
station difficulty, candidate and examiner performance and other
relevant considerations. Examination results will need to be
ratified by the Education and Training Committee (ETC) prior to
The MRCPsych Exam Regulations and exam standard settings are
subject to change from time to time and candidates are advised to
check the Examination pages of the College website for up to date
19 June 2015