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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Preparing for Paper A

MRCPsych Paper A is a written paper on the scientific and theoretical basis of Psychiatry.


Length of exam and question type

Paper A is a 3 hour exam worth 200 marks. It comprises approximately:

  • two-thirds multiple choice questions (MCQ) and

  • one-third extended matching item questions (EMI).


What does it cover?

Paper A covers the following sections of the syllabus:

  1. Behavioural Science and Sociocultural Psychiatry

  2. Human Development

  3. Neuroscience

  4. Clinical Psychopharmacology

  5. Classification and Assessment in Psychiatry


Transitional arrangements

Candidates who hold a Paper 1 or Paper 2 pass are only required to sit Paper A(i) or Paper A(ii). These papers are 90 minute exams worth 100 marks.

Paper A (i) comprises of sections 1, 2 and 5 of the syllabus.

Paper A (ii) comprises sections 3 and 4.

Please refer to the regulations for transitional arrangements.


Further information



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Related links

  • Exam dates

    To find out the examination dates see the 2018 and 2019 Examinations Calendar.