Find out more about becoming an exam panel member.
The MRCPsych Exam is a high-stakes postgraduate examination for psychiatrists and helps to ensure that psychiatry is practiced to a high standard in the United Kingdom and around the world. There are a total of four written exams each year and two clinical exams. However, we are planning to increase to six written exams from 2023.
It is essential that the MRCPsych exams reflect modern psychiatry practice and current scientific knowledge. With that in mind, we are seeking to recruit to vacancies in our written and clinical question writing panels, from subject matter experts and members interested and experienced in medical education.
The posts are voluntary, and two panel meetings and one question writing event are held per year (which will increase in 2023). A minimum of 50% of attendance and remote contribution (e.g. responding to emails and reviewing questions as required and emailing or writing new questions) is expected.
Work on exams is great for Continuing Professional Development, both in terms of updating clinical knowledge, but also in enhancing your teaching and training. You can gain up to 1 CPD point for every hour but is subject to peer group approval. Travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with College’s policy.
We are recruiting members of the College including higher trainees to all of our exam panels. The work is contained as members participate in a few panel meetings each year, as well as writing and reviewing questions. Members of the CASC Panel also help run the clinical exam.
Paper A Panel
This panel writes the questions for Paper A (Scientific and Theoretical Basis of Psychiatry) and sets the Paper A Exam. We wish to appoint experts in basic neurosciences, clinical psychopharmacology, behavioural psychology and human development.
Paper B Clinical Topics Panel
This panel writes the clinical topics questions for Paper B which comprise two thirds of the paper and sets this part of the exam. We wish to appoint experts in child and adolescent psychiatry, substance misuse/addictions, forensic psychiatry and clinical pharmacology.
Paper B Critical Review Panel
This panel writes the critical review questions for Paper B which comprise one third of the paper and sets this part of the exam.
Written Papers Quality Assurance Panel
This panel checks the quality of the written paper questions before they appear in an exam.
Written Papers Standard Setting Panel
This panel meets after an exam to agree the difficulty of each question, which in turn is used to set the pass mark for the written papers. They would also recommend poorly performing questions for removal.
This panel writes the stations for the CASC exam, oversees the running of the exam, particularly in relation to standardisation, and recruits and trains examiners.
This committee oversees the work of all the panels, agrees the final papers, and the results. It is also responsible for examination development and strategy.
To be eligible to apply to become a member of the Panel for the MRCPsych written examination, applicants must:
- be fully registered with the General Medical Council or the Irish Medical Council.
- have a licence to practice for UK/Ireland.
- be a current member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, having passed the MRCPsych examination.
- be registered and be in good standing for CPD.
- be a practising Psychiatrist (applications from higher trainees are welcome)
- not be involved in any commercial courses or have any conflicts of interest as advised by the College’s Statement of Conflict of Interests.
- be available to serve for two-year fixed term (renewable), in the first instance.
Requirements once appointed
Successful written panel applicants must:
- attend at least 50% of the Panel Meetings a year.
- attend at least one paper writing panel review meeting a year, or as applicable (not applicable to CASC, Standard Setting Panel, and ESC).
- submit a sufficient amount of MCQ and EMI questions a year, for review by the Panel (not applicable to CASC, Standard Setting Panel, and ESC).
- respond promptly, with comments, when sent draft papers to review.
- agree not to disclose any information which they may gain about the examination by virtue of their position as a Member of the Panel to anyone external to the Board.
- agree to stand down from the Panel if, during their period of appointment, their circumstances change making them unable to meet any of the expected requirements.
- agree to inform the Chief Examiner of any circumstances, such as ill health or suspension, or unsatisfactory performance in CPD which could affect their ability to be a member of the Panel or call into question the good standing of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and its examining procedure.
These eligibility criteria and requirements can be reviewed at the discretion of the panel chair.