13 March 2020

In light of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and the move in the UK to the ‘delay’ phase of managing the outbreak, the College has taken the hard decision to defer all of our spring examinations.

College President, Professor Jo Martin said,

‘This is a unique situation without any clear precedent. We have consulted with College Trustees, those with clinical responsibility for College training and examinations and trainee representatives. After serious consideration, the hard decision has been taken to defer our Spring examination session. 

We think a clear decision and direction will help everyone involved in examining, sitting and organising our examinations. Increasing numbers of candidates and examiners have contacted the College expressing concern about the planned examinations. Many of the examinations were scheduled during what is predicted to be the peak infection rate for COVID-19 and our first thoughts are for candidates’ and examiners’ wellbeing and to ensure that services to patients are maintained. We are also mindful of advice on social distancing.

We expect that many other medical royal colleges and medical schools will be announcing the same action.

I understand that trainees may be worried about the disruption at this time. Where training is interrupted or learning outcomes not achieved due to a major incident response, these issues will be taken into account at the trainees’ next Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP). The College will be developing more guidance to help Heads of Schools and trainees when carrying out ARCPs in the spring, and working with external stakeholders to support them in developing similar guidance for other candidates, such as clinical scientists, as required.

The examinations will be rescheduled later in the year. We will stay in touch with candidates and examiners regarding dates and arrangements. 

We are immensely proud of our candidates and members who are all working incredibly hard to provide the best possible care to patients during this pandemic.’


We've received a number of queries with regard to this decision and we aim to cover the most frequently asked questions in this section.