Frequently Asked Questions

Autumn Examinations Q&A

View the questions that were answered at the webinar held on Friday 7 August.

Questions and answers

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.

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 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.

How come exam fees have not been reduced?

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. 

Is there any plan to move to a modular system for FRCPATH part 2?

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.

Is there any provision for candidates with dyslexia?

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.

Microbiology is extended now to 3 days, how will orals work?

The face to face components of the OSPE will be delivered on a separate day to the written stations via video conferencing.

A question I have been asked as virology rep: Online exam compliance with GDPR

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 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 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 happens if there is an interruption to internet connection

Please see the previously published Online FAQ document for the answer to this question:

What happens if internet connection is lost during online exam

Please see the previously published Online FAQ document for the answer to this question:

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 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. 

When will they find out the time of their exam, morning vs. afternoon on 30 Sept

Candidates will be informed of this information soon.

Will the exam contain any specific questions on COVID 19 given the rapidly evolving literature

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).

Will the software allow for flow diagrams/tables in the essay questions in part one?

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.

Will you be allowed a calculator now that part 1 has more calculations in it?

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. 




Am I eligible to enter the FRCPath Part 1 exam?

Am I eligible to enter for the FRCPath Part 2 exam?

How many attempts can I have at the FRCPath/Diploma exam?

Are there exemptions from any part of the FRCPath exam?

Can I become a Fellow of the College without sitting the FRCPath exam?

Is there a time limit between taking Part 1 and Part 2?

I am registered with the GMC and I have a licence to practise, but I practise entirely outside of the UK. How will I revalidate?

Applying for an examination

Examination Applications

Do I need to send any certificates with my application?

What is the fee for my exam?

Can I pay by cheque or cash?

Can I pay with my debit or credit card?

How can I obtain a receipt for payment of an exam?

When will I know that I have been accepted to sit the exam?

Can I apply after the closing date?

Who should act as my sponsor?

How do I withdraw from the exam?

Can I withdraw from the exam and defer my entry to the next session?

Where can I sit the exam? Can I transfer to another exam centre?

My contact details have changed. What do I do?

I want to re-sit an exam, do I need to fill out another application?

How do I request an adjustment to my examination?

Part 2 Written Options

Part 2 Written Options

I have to send in a written option for my FRCPath Part 2 exam. When do I have to send it in to the College?

How many copies of my written option/portfolio do I need to send in to the College?

Preparing for the examination

Preparing for the examination

When will I find out the date and venue of my practical/oral exam?

How long is the exam and how many questions are there?

Is there a reading list for the FRCPath/Diploma exam?

Are there any past or sample papers that I can look at?

Does the College publish any books which contain sample questions for the exam?

Does the College run any courses to prepare candidates for the exam?

What identification do I have to take with me to the exam?

What is the fee for a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) application?



Will my exam result be available on the internet?

What membership category will I be eligible for?

If I do not pass can I get more feedback on my result?

Can I make an appeal against the result of my exam?

Additional Information for Overseas Candidates

Additional Information for Overseas Candidates

Where can I sit the examination?

Is the FRCPath/Diploma written exam sat overseas at the same as the written exam in the UK?

Do overseas candidates need to have passed the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) Test or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) before applying for the FRCPath exams?


Complaints about the examination

I am unhappy with the way I have been treated as a candidate. How do I complain?