Examinations news and dates

Any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam will appear below. Examination dates, where known, can be found in the relevant dates page for each session:

Autumn 2019                                       Spring 2020

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Changes to the exam application process

The College has made improvements to its online examination application process, which means there are some slight changes to the way exam applicants will apply for future examinations.

From the end of November, when applications open for the Spring 2020 examinations, there will be a change in the process for submitting sponsor forms to sit any College examination. Sponsor forms must now be uploaded as part of the online application process, rather than emailed separately to the Examinations Department. The sponsor form will be made available on the applications page, where it can be downloaded and signed before starting the application process. The completed form must then be uploaded as part of the application. All candidates for FRCPath, Certificate, Diploma, Stage A and BMS examinations must upload a completed sponsor form in order to submit the application.

Exam applicants will also now be able to pause their application partway through, using a new Save and Continue function, enabling them to fit applying into a busy working week. Applications can be resumed throughout the duration of the relevant application period. Please note: any applications that are incomplete when the application period closes will not be saved or accepted.

We are excited about the changes to our application form and hope the new streamlined process makes it easier for exam candidates to apply to their chosen examinations.

Applications for the Spring 2020 examinations will open in the last week of November and close on Wednesday 8 January 2020. Potential candidates are strongly encouraged to make their application as early on in the application window as possible, to ensure they have sufficient time to have their sponsor form signed before the closing deadline. Candidates are reminded that, as per the Examinations Regulations and Guidelines, late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

Candidate conduct

While the vast majority of candidates behave with complete integrity, following some recent incidents candidates are reminded that when they apply to sit one of the College's examinations they agree to abide by the Examinations Regulations and Guidelines.

These Regulations and Guidelines include a candidate misconduct policy. Candidate misconduct can take many forms, including memorising questions from an examination and reproducing them elsewhere (regardless of whether this is done for profit).

The College owns the copyright for its examination questions. Unauthorised reproduction of examination questions will be treated as breach of copyright and candidate misconduct.

Penalties for proven candidate misconduct can include declaring the result of an exam void, barring a candidate from applying for College examinations for a specified period, and reporting details of the misconduct to the General Medical Council, Health and Care Professional Council or equivalent regulatory body. Where the College's intellectual property has been infringed, the College also reserves the right to initiate civil proceedings, criminal prosecution or both.

Current and potential examination candidates are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with the College's Examination Regulations and Guidelines, which can he found here.

Changes to the Part 2 examination in Immunology

The FRCPath Part 2 Immunology examination comprises three parts: a practical examination, an oral examination, and a written project.

The General Medical Council has approved the following changes for candidates in a UK medical training programme:

Trainees with a CCT date on or before 30 April 2020

The examination format is unchanged. Trainees must pass the FRCPath Part 2 Immunology examination including the written option as part of the FRCPath Part 2 exam in order to be eligible for a CCT in Immunology.

Trainees with a CCT date on or after 1 May 2020

Trainees must pass the FRCPath Part 2 examination but this does not need to include the written option. Trainees will, however, need to demonstrate that they have completed all relevant Work Place Based Assessments (which will be checked at ARCP) in order to be eligible for a CCT in Immunology.

Arrangements for Clinical Scientists sitting this examination are unchanged.

Part 2 Examination in Histopathology

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering a Part 2 examination centre for Histopathology in Irbid, Jordan in Spring 2019 subject to a sufficient number of candidates wishing to sit the examination there. The examination will be offered in Cairo, Egypt in Spring 2020.

Candidates interested in sitting in Irbid in Spring 2019 should apply online and then e-mail exams@rcpath.org to register their interest in sitting there.

Changes to the Part 1 examination in Clinical Biochemistry from Autumn 2018

The Royal College of Pathologists will introduce a new format for the FRCPath Part 1 Clinical Biochemistry examination from Autumn 2018. The new examination will comprise a single paper of 125 multiple choice questions (MCQs) in single best answer format. 

Changes to the Part 1 examination in Veterinary Clinical Pathology from Spring 2019

From 2019, there will be a change in the format of the Part 1 examination in Veterinary Clinical Pathology. The examination will comprise of two three hour papers each consisting of 20 structured short answer questions: sample questions and some further guidance can be found in the documents below.

Changes to the timing of the Certificate of Higher Cervical Cytology Training

From 2018, this examination will be offered once a year in the Autumn session. 

Timing of the Molecular Pathology Examinations

The Part 1 examination in Molecular Pathology will be offered in the Autumn session only from 2018.

A Part 2 examination in Molecular Pathology will be available annually from Autumn 2017. Further information will be available on the specialty page in due course.

Changes to the Genetics Examinations

From 2018, candidates who have been successful in the Part 1 Practical examination will continue to proceed to the Part 2 Oral examination. Candidates who are successful in the written examination but not the practical examination will proceed to a new format Part 2 Oral and Practical examination in combined Genetics regardless of the written paper taken. The Part 1 written examination will be available in the Autumn session only and the Part 2 practical and oral in the Spring session only. The Part 1 examination will be offered in the combined Genetics only. The standard of the practical in Part 2 will be comparable to the practical in Part 1. 

The Part 2 oral examination in Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics will be available until Spring 2020.

The Part 2 examination will be modularised so candidates will have the option to sit their practical and oral components in separate sittings and in an order which best fits their training. Candidates will no longer need to have passed their Part 2 written option before proceeding to the Part 2 Oral/Practical or Oral examination but must have their project proposal approved prior to the closing deadline for the examination session in which they wish to sit.

Reproductive Science (formerly Clinical Embryology)

Candidates who have previously taken and passed the Part 1 Practical examination will be eligible to proceed to the Part 2 Oral examination until Autumn 2020. This will be offered in both sessions.

Candidates who have passed the Part 1 Written examination but not the Part 1 Practical examination will proceed to the new format Part 2 Oral and Practical Examination, details of which are available on the specialty page for Reproductive Science.

Candidates will no longer need to have passed their Part 2 written option before proceeding to the Part 2 Oral/Practical or Oral examination but must have their project proposal approved prior to the closing deadline for the examination session in which they wish to sit.

Changes to the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Examinations

From 2018, candidates who have been successful in the Part 1 Practical examination will continue to proceed to the Part 2 Oral examination. Candidates who are successful in either the new format written examination or the old format written examination but not the practical examination will proceed to a new format Part 2 Oral and Practical examination.

Candidates will no longer need to have passed their Part 2 written option before proceeding to the Part 2 Oral/Practical or Oral examination, however from Spring 2020 they must have their project proposal approved prior to the closing deadline for the examination session in which they wish to sit.

Confirmation of routes to FRCPath Part 2 examination in Molecular Pathology 

We have produced guidance on routes to the FRCPath Part 2 examination in Molecular Pathology. Full details can be found on the Molecular Pathology specialty information page