Advice and Preparation Guidance for your MRCP Exams

Advice and Preparation Guidance for your MRCP Exams

Mar 18, 2022.

Are you a UK Physician preparing to take your MRCP exams? Typically taken between FY2 and CT2, MRCP is designed to test your skills, knowledge and behaviour in training, and we understand how important it is for you to feel prepared for both the written and clinical parts of the exam. Although usually undertaken within a training number, more and more locums are deciding to take the exams to further their career development.

Our latest blog focuses on what you can do to prepare, so you can feel ready, confident and focused!

Your MRCP – and beyond – timeline

A typical timeline is as follows:

The first eligible attempt at the MRCP Part 1 exam is usually between FY1 and FY2

Completion of Part 2 and PACES after working within the NHS for 2-4 years (either as a locum or in CMT/ST Training)

Speciality Certificate Examinations (SCEs) are more specialised qualifications you can undertake in the speciality you have progressed your SpR career in (locum or Speciality Training)

Specialist Registration – obtained upon completion of speciality training (CCT), or through CESR

How to prepare for your MRCP exam

The best way to prepare for the MRCP exams is by hands on working. The more medical cases you come across during your time in the NHS, the better, and utilising the knowledge of the senior clinicians around you can be invaluable. You can also stay ahead and gain as much knowledge as you can by studying up-to-date postgraduate clinical textbooks and current medical journals too.

Examination formats

Taking the time to study detailed explanations on the format of different parts of the examinations and topics will also help. Please click on the links below for more information:

MRCP Part 1 Examination format– designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the clinical sciences relevant to medical practice and of common or important disorders to a level appropriate for entry to specialist training

MRCP Part 2 written exam– building on the knowledge assessed in Part 1, this can only be taken by physicians in training who have passed Part 1

Part 2 Practical Assessment of Clinical Examinations Skills (PACES)– this exam comprises of a PACES carousel, where you will be marked at five different clinical stations, assessed by two independent examiners

Specialty Certificate Examinations – at test centres throughout the UK and internationally

Specialty Certificate Examinations – at test centres throughout the UK and internationally

Sample examination questions

Taking the time to look through sample exam questions / taking mock exams will give you valuable insight into the type of material you are likely to come across in your examinations. Click on the links below for some sample questions and to try mock exams.

Part 1

Part 2 Written

Specialty Certificate Examinations

Gaining further knowledge

The MRCP examinations follow the UK Core Medical Training Curriculum and as part of your preparation, it is particularly useful to read through this and gain as much knowledge as you can, alongside other UK national guidelines such as:

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE guidelines)

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)


Did you know that there are lots of fantastic course designed to help you prepare for your MRCP examinations? All prepared and run by the three Colleges that make up the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom, they’re delivered in a range of formats so you can choose the one(s) that suit you and your preparation style best:


MRCP Diploma Written Examinations

RCP London: 

Medical Masterclass


RCP Edinburgh: 

PACES preparation evenings

PACES Preparatory Course (January and September)

RCPS Glasgow: 

MRCP PACES Revision Modules 

RCP London: 

Medical Masterclass

Other useful information

Familiarising yourself with the relevant examination curricula can also help. Take a look at the JRCPTB – Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board – for a whole range of information on different specialties.

We hope you’ve found our blog on how to prepare for your MRCP Exam useful. Don’t forget that our Recruitment Advisors are also on hand to advise and guide you on finding the right hospital posts as part of your preparation. Contact us today for more information.