Examination 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:
Examination Arrangements Spring 2022
25 November 2021
In Spring 2022, the following examinations will be offered using online delivery to candidates:
- All available Part 1 specialties (please see Appendix 3 in the Regulations and Guidelines for whether your specialty is offered in the Spring)
- Certificate in Medical Genetics
- Combined Infection Certificate Examination (CICE)
- Diploma in Dermatopathology Written Examination
All Part 2 examinations, the CHAT, and practical Diploma examinations will continue to be held offline in person.
Please see the attached document for more information on the online examination platform.
Examination Arrangements Autumn 2021 - update
29 June 2021
We are planning to return all Part 2 examinations, practical Diploma examinations, the CHAT, and the CHCCT to offline delivery this Autumn 2021, subject to any Covid-19 restrictions. The Part 1 will remain online, as per our earlier update. Candidates outside the UK are welcome to apply for these exams, but will be subject to all travel restrictions or quarantine requirements in place from the UK government at the time of the exam.
Transfusion Science examinations
21 June 2021
From 2022, the Transfusion Science examinations will return to the following pattern:
- The Part 1 examination will be offered once a year in Autumn.
- The Part 2 examination will be offered once a year in Spring.
This pattern was interrupted in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Examination Arrangements Autumn 2021
17 June 2021
Changes to the FRCPath Part 2 Examination in Medical Microbiology
26 May 2021
Following approval from the GMC in May 2021, changes have been made to the FRCPath Part 2 examination in Medical Microbiology with effect from the Autumn 2021 sitting of the examination. We intend to return to running this examination in-person from Autumn 2021.
The examination will now comprise of 2 papers taken on a single day as follows:
- Paper 1: Written Paper comprising of 10 SAQs and 5 complex scenario questions
- Paper 2: OSPE comprising of 15 stations including face-to-face questions
Please see the following document for more information:
The Medical Microbiology examination page and Regulations and Guidelines will be updated to reflect these changes shortly.
Changes to the FRCPath Part 2 Clinical Biochemistry (Module 1) examination
28 April 2021
The College is pleased to officially confirm that we have received regulatory approval from the GMC for the proposed adaptations to the Part 2 Clinical Biochemistry (Module 1) examination. The College have had to make the following changes to the examination due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The OSPE portion of the examination, which previously took place in-person at an examination centre, is now being moved online to be taken via TestReach including the communication station.
- The Bench Practical examination will also take place online. The practical previously consisted of sections A (experimental planning), B (data analysis), and C (wet practical), will now consist of sections A and B only. Section C has been removed as the elements of section C which required the actual performing of an experiment could not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions. These elements have been incorporated into section A, with a 'knows-how' assessment of performing an experiment being added to section A. Additional time has been added to account for these changes.
Candidates have been notified by the College of these changes.
Spring 2021 Examination Attempts
3 March 2021
Temporary derogation regarding examination attempt numbers
In recognition of the ongoing pandemic and the challenges this presents for all candidates, the College has agreed a continuation of the temporary derogation regarding attempt numbers.
Where a candidate may be unsuccessful in their attempt at an examination in Spring 2021 this will not be counted towards their overall attempts as follows:
- For candidates on their first, second or third attempt, their attempt number would also be the same for their next sitting.
- For candidates on their fourth attempt, their attempt number would also be the same for their next sitting and they would not need to apply to Council for permission to resit.
- For candidates who have been granted permission by Council to sit the examination for a fifth or sixth attempt, they will not need to reapply for permission to resit their following attempt only.
This derogation is applicable to candidates sitting an examination in any format in the Spring 2021 examination session.
4 December 2020
Spring 2021 arrangements
12 November 2020
Histopathology Part 1 Examination - Autumn 2020 Update
Autumn 2020 Update for candidates sitting in-person examinations
30 September 2020
Autumn 2020 Examinations Update
4 September 2020
Part 2 Written Options change
2 September 2020
Candidates are required to submit their finished project no more than three years after the original proposal is accepted by the College. Under current guidance, candidates who do not submit within this time are required to apply for an extension or submit a new proposal.
In order to align arrangements for HSST and non-HSST Clinical Scientist candidates, the College guidance document for Part 2 Written Options will be updated to recommend that candidates experiencing an interruption to their training programme should submit a request to the College for the three year deadline to be paused for an appropriate length of time. Examples as to when this may be appropriate include parental leave, redeployment under Covid-19, or significant family care issues.
Autumn Examinations Q&A
21 August 2020
View the questions that were answered at the webinar held on Friday 7 August.
An obvious concern with candidates able to take the exam at home is that it will essentially be 'open book!' Is there too much reliance on probity?
Candidates will be fully live proctored via their webcam so any incidences of suspicious behaviour, such as repeated looking in a particular direction (e.g. downwards glances as if to look at a phone) or excessive toilet breaks, will be raised by the invigilator.
Can you go back to any questions as you would be able to in person exam or 1 question answered and uploaded?
Please see the previously published Online FAQ document regarding this:
Could candidates take it at work with a consultant educator monitoring the exam (or perhaps have e.g. 5 socially distanced candidates at each hospital site)
You can take the examination in your workplace but it must be taken online in isolation from other candidates.
Could the exam be open book to make it fair across the board? Would help eliminate concerns re cheating.
The examinations will not be made open book and candidates are expected to abide by the Regulations and Guidelines which includes the Candidate Misconduct Policy.
For haematology part 2 there are currently dates for October listed. January dates tbc, just checking if these are in addition to the October ones (not instead)?
Yes, this is in addition to the October ones, not instead.
For international candidates, will they be allowed to withdraw penalty free closer to the exam if local COVID restrictions prevent travel?
Yes, that is correct, if COVID restrictions prevent travel you will be allowed to withdraw penalty free - however, please note we will require evidence as to why you cannot attend the exam.
Given the low pass rate have the college put in place measures to provide guidance or support for candidates, for instance a virtual lecture series?
There are a number of revision courses and mock examinations available but these are not affiliated with the College.
Haematology part 2 exam: Are these going to have microscope-based slide assessment, short and long cases, or is it going to be digital morphology assessment?
This will remain a microscope-based slide examination.
There are still significant costs involved in setting up online examinations including software, licencing and proctoring costs which are covered by examination fees.
How many centres will be across the country for FRCPath Part 2 exam and how many candidates per centre?
We will confirm centres with candidates soon, but we can confirm there will be more centres than normal to accommodate fewer candidates per centre, so candidates can adequately social distance.
I feel we will be tested on our typing skills not haematology knowledge. Will more time be allowed to accommodate typing?
As per previous published guidance, an additional 5 minutes per hour will be given for written papers.
If a candidate at short notice cannot sit the Histopathology part 2 exam in Oct (self- isolation/COVID) could there be places left available in Jan for them?
Candidates who cannot attend the exam in October 2020 will not be able to take it in January 2021, and instead will have to wait until Spring 2021. There may be some case by case exceptions to this.
If you cannot secure a January date rather than October, will you still be able to withdraw even if it is after 3rd August?
Part 2 Histopathology candidates have already been informed of which date they have been allocated to.
Once a final decision has been made with regard to Haematology, candidates will be asked for their preference (if a January sitting is going ahead). Candidates who do not receive their preferred date and are unable to sit the exam on the date allocated will be entitled to withdraw with a refund.
Is it still acceptable to make paper notes alongside completing the exam online e.g. when planning answers to the essay questions?
This is covered in the previously published Online FAQ document (below), but no, it will not be possible for candidates to make paper-based notes whilst completing online examinations to preserve the integrity of the examination. Notes and annotations can be made on the online software. Update: candidates may now use a small, handheld whiteboard for making notes during the exam. Please see the Online FAQ below for full details.
A number of Part 2 examinations have already been modularised where it is practical to do so, such as Clinical Biochemistry, Genetics and Immunology. There are no plans to modularise any specialties which have not already taken this route.
Reasonable adjustments will be granted in line with the recommendations made in your supporting evidence. If you have been given additional time, then this will be included. Font sizes and colour backgrounds will be able to be changed within the TestReach system.
The face to face components of the OSPE will be delivered on a separate day to the written stations via video conferencing.
Part 2 Histopathology - Scotland is a single Deanery and our candidates normally have to go outside of Scotland to sit the exam. Will this be relaxed?
Yes, this will be relaxed. We would like to reduce travel as much as possible.
TestReach is fully GDPR compliant. Video footage will be temporarily stored in line with GDPR. This is strictly for the purposes of investigating incidents that may take place during an examination. For oral examinations, video footage will be temporarily stored for moderation purposes.
The dates for the FRCPath Microbiology part 2 are three days rather than two, will all candidates sit part of the exam on each of the three days?
Yes - the third day has been added to facilitate the face to face stations of the OSPE.
The delay in the exam has cost me heavily personally. What will the college do if it delays the exam again for those who should have finished and CCT’d by now.
The Autumn examinations will be going ahead as planned with the advertised changes in delivery.
The Part 1 FRCPath for Histopathology is planned to be held over multiple dates. How will the exam standards be kept regarding questions?
The Part 1 in Histopathology is being held on a single date - 30 September.
the wait between the exam and result day is very long especially for those whose exam was cancelled in spring- will it be possible to release results earlier?
Results take time to be processed, including marking and moderation, so it will not be possible to bring forward the results date.
What are the plans about the subspecialty exams - paediatric & perinatal, Neuropath and forensic pathology exams? Will they be held in the same format as histopathology?
These will be held as normal but with social distancing and enhanced hygiene practices in place.
What does an environment check involve and what criteria must the environment fulfil? If there is an issue with the environment how is this normally resolved?
The environment check ensures that candidates have no ready access to material such as text books, notes or other electronic devices. The invigilator will ask for any such material to be removed from the room or placed out of reach.
What guidance will be given to deaneries with regards to extensions to training required as a result of postponing some candidates FRCPath part 2 exam to Jan?
Candidates were offered the choice of sitting in October or January and all candidates received their first choice. As per previous guidance, all candidates were encouraged to choose their examination sitting after consultation with their Educational Supervisor.
What is the contingency of holding exams if a 2nd wave of COVID-19 prompts (a) nationwide and / or (b) local lockdown(s)?
The majority of exams are being held online and so will not be affected. We are doing what we can to avoid lockdown complications for those exams being held in person, such as minimising candidate and examiner travel where possible, and having extra examiners on standby. Arrangements for these exams will be held under ongoing review.
What is the procedure in the event of internet disruption; if they manage to get logged back in again do they lose all their previous answers?
If your internet drops out, you will be guided by on-screen instructions to reconnect to the exam. Your answers will be safe if this happens, as all data is automatically saved by the system at regular intervals and any time you move to a new question.
What options are available for candidates with severe dyslexia and slow typing speed? Is there an option to use a voice recorder?
Reasonable adjustments will be granted in line with the recommendations made in your supporting evidence.
When do you anticipate letting candidates know the location of their face to face examination as booking transport and accommodation may be difficult
We aim to give candidates 6-8 weeks' notice of examination centres.
When will Immunology FRCPath part 2 dates be confirmed? Candidates will need to book study leave- will dates be announced with less than 6 weeks’ notice?
As soon as we have confirmation from the examiners of the dates, they will be published on our website. Update: these are now available on the News and Dates page.
Candidates will be informed of this information soon.
The examinations are mapped to the current curricula for each specialty so candidates should familiarise themselves with the content of these ahead of the examination. It should be noted that some specialty curricula do reference related content (e.g. novel coronavirus).
This feature will be available for all essay papers. You will be able to create tables and use a drawing tool to create diagrams.
Will there be an extra sitting exclusively for candidates who were supposed to sit exams in the Spring? If not it disadvantages those in small specialties.
All candidates who were due to sit in Spring have been deferred to the Autumn sitting, regardless of when the usual timing of their examination is.
Will there be any changes in the format FRCPath Part 1 haematology, in particular the essays? Will it still be the long essays, or short format questions?
There will be no changes to the format of any of the examinations, only the delivery method has changed.
Will those sitting electronic exams receive a partial refund as the College are no longer paying for room bookings or invigilation?
There are still significant costs associated with running online examinations such as software, licencing and invigilation costs so the fees will remain the same.
Will trainees be able to look forward and go back to questions for SAQS to add bits later on and correct if necessary or is it a 'one way' through the exam?
The online examinations will replicate the scenario of a paper based examination so for the majority of question types you will be able to go back and forth between questions, but in some - such as OSPEs where questions are timed - you will not be able to.
Will we be able to use electronic drawing implements (i.e. e-drawing pad) for the FRCPath part 1 exams or will there be an appropriate tool to draw diagrams?
This feature will be available for all essay papers. You will be able to create tables and use a drawing tool to create diagrams within your essays.
Will we be able to withdraw with a full refund if the software does not suit how we have revised answering questions once we have had chance to trial this?
There will be no changes to the format or content of the questions and past/sample papers are available on the website under each specialty for you to familiarise yourselves with them.
Yes, candidates are permitted to use a non-programmable scientific calculator. There is also a simple calculator available in the TestReach system.
With online invigilators via webcam/mic, if doing the exam at work in a room with other candidates does each pc need a webcam/mic or is one in the room ok?
Each device requires its own webcam and microphone so that the invigilator can observe the individual candidate. Candidates are not permitted to sit the exam in a room with other candidates.
Temporary derogation of examination attempt numbers, Autumn 2020
30 July 2020
Autumn 2020 Arrangements
27 July 2020
The following documents contain information regarding the delivery methods for the Autumn examinations and some frequently asked questions to accompany the Spring 2020 deferral questions. Please read both new documents.
16 September 2019
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
9 May 2019
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.
Changes to the Part 1 examination in Clinical Biochemistry
23 October 2017
From Autumn 2018, the Royal College of Pathologists will introduce a new format for the FRCPath Part 1 Clinical Biochemistry examination. 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
1 September 2017
From Spring 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 Genetics Examinations
15 December 2016
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)
30 November 2016
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
30 November 2016
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
3 March 2016
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.