Frequently asked questions about the RCEM examinations
+ What order should I take the exams in?
You must sit the MRCEM exams in this order and cannot move onto the next exam until you have passed the previous:
Once you have passed all 3 MRCEM exams (or equivalents, of if you passed the FRCEM Intermediate Certificate), you can apply to sit the FRCEM OSCE and FRCEM SBA in either order, so long as you meet the other FRCEM eligibility criteria (see below).
A pass in the MRCEM Primary exam will remain current. If at some future date it becomes necessary to replace it, holders of the MRCEM Primary exam will be given at least 24 months’ notice of the date from which it will be time expired.
MRCEM Part A passes from before August 2012 are deemed time expired. If your Part A pass is from before this time, you will be required to pass the MRCEM Primary exam to sit further MRCEM or FRCEM exams.
From August 2021, candidates with MRCEM after August 2012, meeting all eligibility criteria, can apply for FRCEM SBA and OSCE to gain FRCEM
As of 2020, all theory exams (MRCEM Primary, MRCEM SBA, FRCEM SBA) are delivered through Pearson VUE computer test centres. Please click here to find your nearest test centre.
In rare cases, candidates with exceptional circumstances may request to take their exam remotely via OnVUE. You will be required to provide supporting documentation of your exceptional circumstances for an OnVUE exam, and this will be reviewed by the RCEM Exams Team.
MRCEM Primary– Pearson VUE test centres
MRCEM SBA – Pearson VUE test centres
MRCEM OSCE – London, centres in India and Malaysia
FRCEM SBA – Pearson VUE test centres
FRCEM OSCE – London
The exams timetable and fees can be found on our website here. You can only apply to sit an exam when the application window for that exam has opened. The deadline for each exam application window opens at 10:00 UK time on the opening date and closes at 17:00 UK time on the closing date. After the application window has closed, we cannot accept late applications. Use this link to apply to an exam when the application window has opened.
IELTS Level 7 is the advised standard for MRCEM and FRCEM exams.
The College is committed to supporting candidates by providing fair opportunities
when undertaking examinations. Candidates may submit a request for reasonable
adjustments through the application form and should note that the responsibility for requesting adjustments and providing the necessary supporting documents lies with them. Please see the guidance here.
The results are made available approximately 6-8 weeks after the date of the examination (the date will be made available here). Exam feedback is usually sent within a week of the results release date.
If you email the RCEM Exams team (email@example.com) to request a withdrawal from the exam within the application window, we will withdraw your application and refund you in full. No reason or evidence is required for withdrawals within the application window.
If you request a withdrawal after the application window has closed, you will only be eligible for a refund if your reason for withdrawing is due to extenuating circumstances outside of your control. You must provide supporting documentary evidence that supports the reason for your request if you wish to be considered for a refund. If your reason for withdrawing cannot be supported by documentary evidence, you can instead send a letter from your educational supervisor supporting the reason for your withdrawal request. A lack of preparation or changing your mind about sitting are not considered grounds for a refund.
Withdrawal requests must be submitted prior to/on exam day if you are not able to attend. The deadline for submitting evidence for a refund is 20 working days after the exam. After this time, you will be ineligible for a refund.
No. We do not offer transfers/postponements of exam applications. If you cannot sit in the diet you have applied for, you should submit a withdrawal request. A refund will only be provided where evidence of extenuating circumstances is provided. Please see the question regarding Withdrawals for more information.
No, an attempt is only counted if you take the exam. If you are absent, you will be recorded as such and your fees will be forfeited.
Attempts at all exam components are limited as follows:
MRCEM Primary – six (6) attempts (attempts at the FRCEM Primary exam after August 2016 will count towards the number of attempts)
MRCEM SBA – six (6) attempts (attempts at the FRCEM Intermediate SAQ exam after August 2016 will count towards the number of attempts)
MRCEM OSCE – six (6) attempts (attempts prior to August 2021 are counted towards the number of available attempts. Attempts at the MRCEM Part C exam prior to August 2016 will not count towards the number of attempts)
FRCEM SBA – four (4) attempts (attempts at the FRCEM Final SAQ exam after August 2016 will count towards the number of attempts)
FRCEM OSCE – four (4) attempts (Attempts at the FRCEM Final SAQ after August 2016 will count towards maximum attempts at the FRCEM SBA. Attempts at the FRCEM Final OSCE after August 2016 will count towards maximum attempts at the FRCEM OSCE)
If you have exceeded the maximum number of attempts for an exam, either you will not be able to apply to the exam, or your application will be rejected, and you’ll be refunded.
To make an application for an additional attempt, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a link to the additional attempt form.
Additional attempt applications must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the opening of an exam application window which you wish to utilise the attempt for. Your additional attempt will be sent to the Chief Examiner for their consideration. If your additional attempt request is approved, you may apply for the next exam diet within the published application window. If your request is rejected, you will not be eligible for any further attempts at the exam.
No. The College does not offer remarks or recounting of exam results. A number of rigorous checking procedures are in place during results processing to ensure accuracy. We would advise candidates to await detailed exam feedback to understand which areas they performed well and less well in.
You can only use the MRCEM or FRCEM post-nominal if you have Membership or Fellowship of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Candidates with the FRCEM Intermediate Certificate cannot use the MRCEM post-nominal without passing the MRCEM OSCE.
Certificates are only issued for Membership or Fellowship of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
There are no plans for any future changes, but it is a possibility that the exam formats will be developed if necessary.
When reviewing the curriculum to meet the updated GMC standards, we felt it appropriate to review the whole programme of assessment, not just WBA in isolation, to ensure all exams were fit for purpose and reducing the examination burden where possible.
Doctors in in the UK training programme should refer to the advice provided by the Emergency Medicine Trainees’ Association (EMTA) “claiming back the costs of training” which is available on the EMTA website.
Where a candidate failed their first attempt at a new online format exam and it was sat between 1 July 2020 and 31 August 2021, this will not be counted towards their total number of attempts at that exam. Please click here for more information.
+ Am I eligible for the exams?
Only MRCS candidates who are on the DRE-EM training scheme may be granted exemption from the MRCEM Primary exam. If you are not a DRE-EM trainee, you will be required to pass the MRCEM Primary before applying to the MRCEM SBA.
All information regarding Pearson VUE and test centre exams can be found on the RCEM landing page of the Pearson VUE website here.
Once your application has been approved by the RCEM Exams Team, your details will be sent to Pearson VUE. Once Pearson VUE have received your details, they will contact you to book your test centre. Please be aware that this process can take several weeks so your patience is appreciated.
You will log into your Pearson VUE account with the username and password provided by Pearson VUE and will then be able to search for a seat in a test centre. You will be offered the test centres in order of proximity to your listed ‘preferred’ address on your RCEM account. You can book any available test centre space available; the start times will be between 8am and 12pm in your local time. Once you have completed the booking, Pearson VUE will send you a confirmation email.
You can find a test centre here.
At your test centre you must present one form of identification (ID) on the day of your exam. Your ID must contain a clear photograph and a signature. The first name and last name on your Pearson VUE account must exactly match those on your ID. Your middle name is not checked by Pearson VUE. We send Pearson VUE your details as they appear on your RCEM account. Once you have access to your Pearson VUE account, please check that the names match your ID and, if they do not, send email@example.com an email with your ID to update the name on your Pearson VUE account.
ID documents must be issued from the country you are testing in, otherwise only an international travel passport will be accepted.
Pearson VUE’s full ID policy can be found here.
Pearson VUE restrictions: Candidates from the following countries will be unable to test in their home country due to restrictions implemented by Pearson VUE:
*The USA has recently lifted sanctions against Sudan and therefore Sudanese candidates will have their valid passport accepted by Pearson as ID at test centres internationally, restrictions are still in place for OnVUE.
Candidates from any of the above countries will be unable to test using passports. For example, a Cuban passport will not be accepted. If you have a valid ID from the country you are testing in, Pearson VUE will permit you to take your examination and no further action will be required. The restrictions in place do not represent the College values and are in place by Pearson VUE and not the College. The College will continue exploring options and will update candidates affected by Pearson VUE restrictions when further information is available.
Approved comfort aids (test centres only).
The Pearson VUE demo test can be found here.
Click here for information about test centres.
Pearson VUE test centres are our main delivery method for theory exams. Wherever possible candidates must take the exam in a test centre. We recognise that, in certain exceptional situations, candidates may be unable to travel to a test centre. If this is the case for you and you would like to be considered for an OnVUE exam, you should email firstname.lastname@example.org detailing the nature of your request and provide supporting evidence for the reason you are unable to sit in a test centre. In countries where there are no Pearson VUE test centres, OnVUE will be considered.
OnVUE exams must start between 07:00 and 12:00 UK time.
All technical requirements and test-environment requirements can be found on Pearson VUE’s website here. Please ensure you run a system test and exam simulation before exam day to ensure you are fully prepared.
Test centres: yes, you can use the bathroom during your exam.
OnVUE: no, you cannot leave your desk or the view of your webcam during the exam. If you are sitting the MRCEM SBA or FRCEM SBA, you can leave your desk during the 1-hour break between papers.
When your reasonable adjustments are approved for an exam, we will email you to confirm what these adjustments are. If there is anything which cannot be accommodated, we will contact candidates to provide alternative options.
To allow time for the check-in procedure in a test centre/via OnVUE, please be ready when the check-in window opens 30 minutes before your exam start time. If you are late to your test centre, you will not be allowed to sit the exam and will forfeit your exam fee.
Technical issues at test centres are extremely rare, however they can and do occasionally happen. In the event of technical issues at your centre, we will work quickly with Pearson VUE to understand both the cause of the issue and the length of time needed to resolve the issue and will update you as soon as possible. If the issue at the test centre cannot be resolved in a reasonable timeframe, we will begin to move to one of our back-up options – either finding another space for you in a nearby test centre or offering at home testing via OnVUE. More information about OnVUE, including technical requirements, can be found here. If neither back-up option is available or suitable for you, you will be given a full refund.
If you’re sitting the exam in a test centre, all issues should be reported to the Test Administrator, who will log this as a case and provide the necessary technical support. If you would also like to provide feedback about these issues after your exam, please email email@example.com within a week of the exam.
If you’re taking the exam at home via OnVUE, your proctor will be able to provide support with technical issues. If you need further support, please contact Pearson VUE’s customer service. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if technical problems persist. Our Member Services team can also be reached on +44 (0)2074041999.
The FAQs below are also available as a PDF download. MRCEM OSCE FAQs and FRCEM OSCE FAQs.+ Am I eligible for the exam?
No, candidates are expected to prepare for 8-minute station. Candidates are responsible for their own time management during the station. An analogue clock will be visible in each station should candidates wish to use this for time management.
The iPads and the software used for marking is a robust and reliable method for marking. All marks are autosaved in real time, this mean that if the Wi-Fi connection was lost, the iPad was to die, etc. no marks will ever be lost. If an iPad was to fail during a station, all examiners are advised to abandon the iPad and to continue marking on the paper marksheets provided. The exams team are on standby throughout the circuit to rectify any technical issues should they arise.
There are no double stations in the MRCEM or FRCEM OSCE exams.
MRCEM OSCE: there are two rest stations.
FRCEM OSCE: there are two rest stations built into the FRCEM OSCE exam. One of these rest stations can also be used as a prep station. Candidates are expected to be familiar with the CLA journal prior to exam so this station is purely to remind and refresh candidates of the content as a copy of the journal will be available in this station.
The FRCEM OSCE will include 3 resuscitation stations. Please note, in addition to achieving the pass mark, candidates will be required to pass at least one of the resuscitation stations in order to achieve a pass overall.
Detailed information regarding the examination can be found in the FRCEM Final Examinations Regulations and Information Pack from page 9 to 12.
You are not required to bring your own stethoscope. If a station requires the use of a stethoscope, then one will be available in that station. If you would like to bring your own stethoscope you are welcome to, but this is not mandatory.
Your belongings will be left in one of the College’s meeting rooms. This room will be secured and will be made available to you at the end of your examination session. The examination team will take all communications devices (phones, smart watches, tablets, laptops, etc) during the registration window. These devices will also be held securely.
The OSCE is a professional exam and therefore smart professional attire is required. You are welcome to wear scrubs if you prefer. Toilets are available onsite should you need to change prior to your exam.
Yes, this would be acceptable.
If you can wear plain scrubs this is recommended. However, if you only have scrubs with your name on them, you will still be able to wear these. Candidates can request tape to cover their name / hospital name.
Clothing which covers the face (veil/niqab) is not permitted during the exam and candidates will be required to remove face coverings when signing in for the exam.
If this exam is oversubscribed, we will allocate spaces to candidates using our Oversubscription Criteria. We aim to review all applications and complete our allocation process approximately 3 weeks after the application window has closed.
If you are allocated a space in the upcoming exam, we will email you with instructions on how to pay for your exam and will give you a timeline in which you need to complete your payment. Please note that if your payment is not completed within that timeline, that exam space will be offered to the next candidate in order of the Oversubscription Criteria.
Date requests can only be made in special circumstances with supporting documentation. We cannot guarantee that any request will be facilitated, and allocation will be confirmed as outlined above.
If eligible, you can apply for both exams simultaneously.
No, you need a pass mark in the MRCEM SBA before you can apply for the MRCEM OSCE.
Exam centres are continually under review and plans for new centres had been impacted by COVID.
An OSCE took place in Malaysia in September 2022, and we are looking into adding centres in Oman eventually.
Candidates holding passes in FRCEM Final OSCE and SAQ will be awarded FRCEM in September 2021. A CESR application will still need Research and QI evidence.
If your visa application has been declined for an OSCE exam, please contact email@example.com with proof of this to withdraw from the exam and for consideration of a refund. We cannot transfer your application to a later diet, and you will be required to reapply to the next available diet if you cannot sit.
Please see the document “Domain Based Marking” (PDF download)
SLO 1 Complex Stable Patient
SLO 7/8 EPIC
SLO 9 Supervise & Teach
SLO 3 Resus
SLO 4 Injured Patient
SLO 5 PEM
SLO 12 Management
SLO 10/12 Management or Research
SLO 1 Complex Stable Patient
SLO 2 Answer Questions
SLO 3 Resus
SLO 4 Injured Patient
SLO 5 PEM
SLO 6 Procedural Skills
SLO 7 Complex Challenging Situations
SLO 9 Supervise & Teach