Tired of Reading? Please listen to the blog
The MRCPCH Theory and Science examination is one of four steps for pediatricians towards obtaining the MRCPCH qualification.
Who is a pediatrician?
A doctor who provides medical care for children and young people under the age of 18 is a pediatrician. Pediatricians graduate with an undergraduate medical degree and then specialize in pediatrics. A pediatrician offers the following medical care services.
- Physical examinations
- Monitoring growth, behavioral and skill development
- Diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries, and infections in children
- Helps with child nutrition and fitness
- Educates about child growth and development
What is MRCPCH (UK)?
MRCPCH stands for Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The candidates have to pass four separate exams to achieve this qualification. Fellowship in MRCPCH is an integral component of pediatrician’s training in the UK. It follows the UK curriculum and is General Medical Council (GMC) approved.
What are the components of MRCPCH UK?
The four exams to achieve the MRCPCH qualification are listed below.
- Foundation of Practice – theory exam (FOP)
- Theory and Science – theory exam (TAS)
- Applied Knowledge in Practice exam – theory exam (AKP)
- MRCPCH Clinical exam
You can take the first three exams (FOP, TAS, and AKP) in any order. You can take the theory exams on computers at a test center. Usually, there are three sitting per year for the three theory exams.
You can take the theory exams in any order. Still, you will have to pass all three exams before you can sit for the MRCPCH Clinical examination.
In the MRCPCH Clinical exam, you will have to make a circuit of 12 scenarios in a hospital. Examiners will be present in each station to assess the performance of the examinees. The scenarios would include children, adolescents, and adults who act as patients and their families.
The MRCPCH exams are part of pediatric training in some countries. At the same time, it is an upskilling opportunity in some. Some people take the MRCPCH exams as a means of obtaining an internationally recognized medical specialty.
Does the MRCPCH examination require English language proficiency?
A pass in an English language test is not required to go through the MRCPCH exams. However, the Royal College recommends that the candidate is proficient in the English language equivalent to IELTS level 7.
How to get the MRCPCH exam account
An RCPCH account is required to apply for the MRCPCH or DCH (Diploma in Child Health) exams. The account can be created after filling a short registration form and providing proof of primary medical qualification.
Below is a list of parameters that are required to open an online RCPCH account.
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Your contact details
- RCPCH number (if you have previously registered for examinations)
Details not listed above would also be required, and you will notice this in the registration form.
What is the syllabus for the MRCPCH theory exams?
The below table contains all the core knowledge required for each section of the exam.
|Adolescent health/medicine||Behavioral medicine/psychiatry|
|Emergency medicine (including accidents and poisoning)||Endocrinology and growth|
|Ethics and law||Gastroenterology and hepatology|
|Genetics and dysmorphology||Haematology and oncology|
|Infection, immunology, and allergy||Metabolism and metabolic medicine|
|Nephro-urology||Neurodevelopment and neurodisability|
|Ophthalmology||Palliative care and pain medicine|
|Patient safety and clinical governance||Pharmacology|
|Respiratory medicine with ear, nose, and throat (ENT)||Safeguarding|
|Science of practice|
Question types used in MRCPCH theory exams:
Single best answer types (SBAs)
The most typical type of question in the MRCPCH theory exams is the Single Best Answer type (SBAs). SBAs are comparatively more complicated than True/False type questions that are currently not in use.
SBAs are questions with five alternative answers, among which you will have to select the best answer. In this format of questions, more than one answer may be correct. Still, only one solution can provide the best explanation. SBAs require in-depth knowledge and understanding of the topic.
Extended matching questions (EMQs)
A list of 10 possible answers has three different statements or clinical scenarios in this type of question. You will have to choose the best option from the list. Like with SBAs, all the options could be relevant, but only one can be the best answer.
Laboratory results sometimes accompany EMQs.
Handling questions with images
Many candidates feel that questions with images are complex. Follow the below hints to handle the image-based questions better.
- Read the question clearly before looking at the image.
- Take a look at the image and check if you can answer the question without reading the answer.
- Read the answer stem and figure out the best match
You will experience a confirmation bias when you know what options are available. The above approach to image-based questions can help in eliminating the confirmation bias.
The images used for the exams may be prepared from,
- Clinical photographs
- Retinal photographs
- Illustrations of investigation results
- Pathological material
The Theory and Science exams
The TAS exams test basic scientific, pharmacological, and physiological principles of clinical and evidence-based practice. The exam lasts for 2.5 hours. You can take the FOP and TAS exams on the same day if you want to.
It used to be called MRCPCH Part 1B.
The questions contain 70 SBAs and 10 EMQs. The questions require you to choose an answer for the following aspects.
- Most likely diagnosis
- Best treatment
- An organism that matches the case scenarios
The below table details the percentage of questions included in the exam from each sub-specialty for the MRCPCH Theory and Science exams.
|Percentage of questions included in the TAS exam||Subspecialties|
|28% min-40% max||Adolescent Health/Medicine|
Emergency Medicine (including accidents and poisoning)
Ethics and Law
Neurodevelopment and Neurodisability
Palliative Care and Pain Management
Patient Safety and Clinical Governance
|36% min-43% max||Cardiology|
Endocrinology and Growth
Genetics and Dysmorphology
Hematology and Oncology
Metabolism and Metabolic Medicine (including fluid management and acid-base balance)
Science of Practice
|24% min-29% max||Gastroenterology and Hepatology (including surgical abdominal conditions)|
Infection, Immunology, and Allergy
Respiratory Medicine with ENT
MRCPCH in India:
Since 2009, the MRCPCH theory exams can be taken in Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in India. But since 2012, both the theory and clinical exams can be taken in India. Candidates from Asia will not have to travel to the UK anymore to obtain the MRCPCH (UK) qualification.
How to clear the exams without difficulty?
Like any other exam, you can clear the MRCPCH TAU without difficulty if you prepare well enough. Follow the below tips to help you with the preparation.
- Make sure you prepare with complete focus.
- It would help if you revised in advance.
- Proper planning is necessary.
- Follow your plan and organize your preparation.
- Confidence is vital to succeeding in this exam.
- Do not let your personal issues cloud your mind.
How Texila American University can help you get your MRCPCH:
Texila American University (TAU) is a premier medical university in Guyana that provides world-class medical education to students from across the globe. TAU offers a 3-year fellowship program in Pediatrics and Child Health. The program aims to help the graduates clear the MRCPCH exams.
The program is well structured and clearly constructed to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for the successful completion of the MRCPCH exams.