Special notices

On this page you will find the latest updates and special notices from the Examinations team.

Message from the Chief Examiner, Dr Ian Hall

Because of the COVID pandemic, we have obtained GMC approval to run an online version of the CASC exam. You can find more details about this on the CASC guidance page. The blueprint and structure of the exam will be the same, but the stations will be using online video consultations rather than face-to-face interviews.

Paper A and Paper B this Autumn

We are moving to an online format for Paper A and Paper B, from October 2020. You can find more details about this on the Written Papers guidance page. The syllabus, blueprint and question format of the exam will remain unchanged.

Please keep checking the exams pages of the College website for the latest information, where you will also find contact details for the Exams team. You can also read our statement on the temporary change made to the CASC regulations in the section below. 

Dr Ian Hall

Chief Examiner

Message from the Chief Examiner, Dr Ian Hall: temporary variance of exam regulations

We appreciate the recent cancellations of exam diets are very disruptive for trainees preparing for exams when they have much else to contend with.  

A major concern is the effect they may have on career progression.  Having consulted widely, including with the Psychiatric Trainees Committee, with National Recruitment, and with the General Medical Council, we've decided to temporarily vary the exam regulations, and until June 2021 will waive the requirement to have passed the written papers before taking the CASC.

In line with the exams eligibility criteria and regulations, candidates would still have had to complete 24 months training in psychiatry before taking the CASC, and would need to pass all elements of the exam before being awarded Membership of the College.

Dr Ian Hall
Chief Examiner
24 April 2020

Please see our updated FAQs.

For further information, please contact: examinations@rcpsych.ac.uk

For all exams you must display to a web camera your official photo identification (ID): Passport or Driver’s Licence. 

Please note we no longer accept Hospital ID's. 

Electronic/scanned or photocopy ID will also not be accepted. Candidates who do not display appropriate ID in accordance with these Regulations will not be permitted to sit the examination. 

If you have any reason why you cannot display an original passport or driving licence at the start of your exam [or your ID document has recently expired], you must contact examinations@rcpsych.ac.uk as soon as you receive confirmation that you have been entered to sit the examination. This MUST be before the actual day of the examination.

Exemptions from the requirement to bring original photo ID will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, [for example theft on production of a police crime report]. If we grant an exemption, you must comply with the alternative requirements that we specify. If you don’t comply with these requirements, you will not be permitted to sit the examination.

CASC candidates will be expected to provide their own timing device (such as a simple analogue wristwatch or fob watch, as illustrated) should there be a physical or other examination which requires the use of one.

Digital watches/timing devices will not be permitted. All online examinations will include exam timers.

Read the full notice

ST4 recruitment is run by Health Education England’s North West Recruitment team.  Please go to their website for the latest information on eligibility criteria and application windows. 

Please note you have to have all parts of MRCPsych to enter specialty training, but can apply before you have your results.

Many thanks to all the candidates who have got in touch with us about the CASC exam this September. It is really gratifying to hear how much the College’s efforts to deliver a clinical exam during the pandemic are appreciated. We are pleased to say that nearly 98% of candidates managed to complete the examination. We are very glad that this will allow the trainees who pass to progress in their careers.

We piloted our new systems thoroughly and extensively, but nevertheless some candidates experienced technical issues and consequent delays. We acknowledge that this was a very stressful experience for everyone involved in using the new system, but particularly for candidates taking the examination.

We would like to reassure candidates that the stations were standardised with the examiners and role players on the day of the exam for the video consultation format.  In addition, the examiners collectively set the pass mark (using borderline regression) taking into account the video consultation format. It does of course remain the case that to pass the examination, candidates must achieve the passing standard, as agreed with the General Medical Council.

We were also as usual able to implement reasonable adjustments for candidates with specific conditions such as dyslexia, or for people who were pregnant.

Implementing new systems is an iterative process and feedback from all stakeholders, particularly candidates is integral to this. We are very grateful for all specific feedback we have received and we are already using this to improve our systems so that we continue to improve on the experience for candidates, role players, examiners and invigilators in forthcoming diets.

There were no significant differences in the pass rates on different days of the examination.

The pass rate for the exam was 67.7%, an improvement on previous years and we are immensely grateful to candidates for embracing the new system during the pandemic. 

Dr Ian Hall

Chief Examiner

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry