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A candidate can have six attempts at each component. A limit of
six attempts was introduced from January 2015 following
recommendation by the GMC. There are transitional arrangements for
candidates who attempted any component prior to this date.
There is a written paper validity period of 1643
days which starts on the date results are published for
the first exam component that you pass.
Yes. There are circumstances such as illness or
pregnancy where an extension may be granted. Candidate
circumstances are considered on an individual basis. If you believe
that you have special circumstances you should contact the
examinations department at the earliest opportunity and certainly
before you sit any further components of the exam. You will be
asked to provide independent evidence of your circumstances.
24 months whole time equivalent experience as
stipulated in the regulations.
If you are working part time prior to gaining 24 months
experience in psychiatry then yes this will be grounds for an
extension. Once your whole time equivalent experience equates to 24
months then no further adjustment will be made for part time
There is no longer any requirement for specific specialities.
However, competencies in specialties as defined in the
curriculum/equivalent have to be met by the time of sitting the
CASC. It is the role of your sponsor to confirm you have met these
competencies in the ARCP process or equivalent for overseas
Following any component of the exam there is statistical
analysis of the performance of the exam. This includes looking at
the performance of individual questions including how many
candidates passed the question and how well candidate performance
on the question relates to performance in the whole exam. Poorly
performing questions are then scrutinised by the exam committee.
Some questions may perform badly because the question is too hard
or obscure. In these instances the exam committee may remove the
question from the paper. The exam committee will also consider any
incidents and complaints that may have occurred during the
These quality assurance procedures are essential in order to
conduct a fair exam and are the sole reason for the delay between
the exam date and the publication of results.
No, The exam will have been of similar
difficulty to the previous diet. After each written paper a
standard setting committee meets to determine the standard (pass
mark) for the paper. The committee is made up of people with
different levels of experience in psychiatry and medicine. The
committee uses a well recognised method called the Modified Angoff
method. The committee consider for each question what proportion of
borderline candidates would select the right answer. The
proportions for each question are then summated in order to arrive
at the pass mark for the exam. A significant minority of the
questions in the paper will be “Anchor Questions” (questions used
in the last exam). Comparing the performance of candidates on
anchor questions from one diet to the next helps the committee to
set a similar standard.
No, this is not true. Historical data on
candidate performance at any one station is collected and
continually updated. In setting the clinical exam across the CASC
week this data is used to set exams of similar difficulty on each
of the days. After each CASC exam there is further analysis
comparing pass rates on the different days – so far there has not
been any significant difference in pass rates on different
Yes. Although all stations go through a
rigorous piloting process prior to being used in the exam, it is
difficult to predict how difficult candidates will find them. For
this reason only one or two new stations will be used on any one
day of the CASC and new stations will be evenly distributed across
No, this is not necessarily the case. Some
physical stations are hard (low pass rates) and some are easier.
The difficulty of these stations in a circuit will be balanced by
the other stations in the circuit so that the overall difficulty is
similar to that on other days with different stations.
This is unlikely. You need to remember that this is a skills
assessment and the circumstances of your performance will have been
somewhat different from your first attempt. You may not have asked
questions in the same way and the role players responses may have
been different (albeit still within their script). Applying a skill
in exactly the same way time after time is virtually impossible –
in sport a footballer could score from the penalty spot once in a
game. But even in the same game against the same goalkeeper there
is no guarantee that he will score with a second penalty.
No, you are responsible for ensuring you are
prepared and fit enough to sit the exam. Once you sit the exam the
committee will consider that you were prepared and fit. You can
withdraw from an exam any time before it starts and it will not be
counted as an attempt and you may be eligible for a refund of
Possibly, each case is assessed on an individual basis. You must
provide evidence of your condition/disability in a timely manner
prior to the exam. Extra time may be granted for written papers and
extra reading time may be allowed in the clinical exam (CASC),
however the length of time allowed to complete a station task will
not be adjusted.
Whilst we will make appropriate adjustments to try and minimise
the impact of your condition, the examiners will mark to a set
standard that is the same for all candidates. The examiners will
not adjust the standard to pass under any circumstances.
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To find out the examination dates see the 2018 and 2019 Examinations Calendar.
For further information see our frequently asked questions.
For further support please contact the