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Exam Regulations & Policies

Exam Regulations & Policies

Exam Regulations and Policies

+ MRCEM Primary

The MRCEM Primary examination is the new name for the FRCEM Primary examination from August 2021.

The MRCEM Primary examination is mapped to the RCEM Basic Sciences Curriculum (June 2010) and 2021 Emergency Medicine curriculum. All applicants for the MRCEM Primary examination are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the Basic Sciences Curriculum in preparation for sitting the examination.

The MRCEM Primary examination consists of a three hour, multiple choice question (MCQ) paper of 180, single best answer questions (SBAQ).

Please see the MRCEM Primary Regulations and Information pack (November 2023) for detailed information for this examination component.

Glossary of terms used in RCEM examinations (April 2023)

+ MRCEM SBA

The MRCEM SBA examination replaces to the FRCEM Intermediate SAQ examination from 1 August 2021.

The MRCEM SBA examination is mapped to the 2021 Emergency Medicine curriculum. All applicants for the MRCEM SBA examination are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the 2021 curriculum, paying particular attention to the SLOs assessed in this examination.

The MRCEM SBA consists of 180 single best answer (SBA) questions delivered in two 120 minute papers with 90 questions per paper.

Please see the MRCEM SBA Regulations and Information pack (November 2023) for detailed information on this examination.

Glossary of terms used in RCEM examinations (April 2023)

+ MRCEM OSCE

The MRCEM OSCE consists of an Objective Structure Clinical Examination of 16, eight minute stations. An additional one minute of reading time is provided for candidates between each OSCE station.

Please see the MRCEM OSCE Regulations and Information Pack (November 2023) for detailed information on the MRCEM OSCE examination.

Membership by Examination is awarded to candidates who pass three required examination components:

  • MRCEM Primary (or have passed FRCEM Primary between 1 August 2016 and 1 August 2021 or MRCEM Part A between 1 August 2012 and 1 August 2016 (or granted exemption))
  • MRCEM Intermediate SBA (or have passed FRCEM Intermediate SAQ between 1 August 2016 and 1 August 2021 or MRCEM Part B between 1 August 2012 and 1 August 2016)
  • MRCEM OSCE (previously called MRCEM Part C, passed after 1 August 2012)

From 1 August 2021, MRCEM achieved after 1 August 2012 is recognised for entry to HST and eligibility for FRCEM Final examinations.

+ FRCEM SBA and OSCE

From 1 August 2021, FRCEM consists of the following components:

  • FRCEM SBA, consisting of 180 single best answer (SBA) questions delivered in two 120 minute papers with 90 questions per paper
  • FRCEM OSCE, consisting of 16, 8 minute stations. An additional one minute of reading time is provided for candidates between each OSCE station.

Please see the FRCEM Regulations and Information Pack (November 2023) for detailed information for these examination components.

The FRCEM Critical Appraisal and FRCEM QIP have been withdrawn as formal examination components contributing to the award of Fellowship. The skills and knowledge tested in each of these components will be assessed within the wider programme of assessment as defined in the 2021 curriculum. Candidates who have passed the FRCEM Final SAQ (after August 2016) and FRCEM Final OSCE within a seven year window (and meet other eligibility requirements) but have not passed either the FRCEM QIP or Critical Appraisal, will be awarded Fellowship in September 2021.

Glossary of terms used in RCEM examinations (April 2023)

+ Appeals procedure

Candidates who feel that their performance in any Royal College of Emergency Medicine exam has been affected by a procedural irregularity and/or exceptional circumstances have the right to appeal in line with the Appeals Procedure. Full details are available in the Appeals Procedure for MRCEM and FRCEM Examinations (updated August 2023)’.

+ Complaints Procedure

Candidates who are dissatisfied with any aspects of the service we deliver have the right to complain in line with our Complaints Policy. All complaints will be investigated thoroughly, fairly and objectively in line with this policy. Candidates can submit written complaints by emailing Exams@rcem.ac.uk.

+ Candidate conduct and misconduct policy

By virtue of entering an examination candidates are deemed to have understood and agreed to abide by all examination regulations and policies, including the code of conduct for candidates and applicants (applicable from 1 January 2020)

Any allegations of misconduct raised by an invigilator, examiner or fellow candidate will be investigated and acted upon in accordance with the Misconduct Policy for MRCEM and FRCEM Examinations (Updated December 2023).

+ Oversubscription criteria

Oversubscription Criteria for OSCE Examinations

Places in OSCE examinations are limited and, as the number of applications sometimes exceeds the number of spaces available, we allocate candidates using Oversubscription Criteria agreed by the Examinations Sub-Committee.

MRCEM OSCE Oversubscription Criteria:

Candidates are allocated to spaces in the MRCEM OSCE examination in order of the following criteria:

  • Candidates in a GMC approved UK ST3 training post
  • Candidates in year 3 of approved Irish training programme
  • Candidates holding an employment contract with the NHS (which covers the examination date)
  • Candidates who were not allocated a place at the most recent sitting (on a first come, first served basis, if required)
  • All other candidates on a first come, first served basis

FRCEM OSCE Oversubscription Criteria:

Candidates are allocated to spaces in the FRCEM OSCE examination in order of the following criteria:

  • Candidates in approved ST6 UK training post
  • Candidates in Year 7 of approved Irish training programme
  • Candidates holding an employment contract with the NHS (which covers the examination date)
  • Candidates who were not allocated a place at the most recent sitting (on a first come, first served basis, if required)
  • All other candidates on a first come, first served basis

We are working hard to increase the number of spaces available in OSCE examinations and are pleased to confirm an extra 200 OSCE spaces will be available in 2023, more details here

+ Cancellation policy process and fees

We know that unforeseen circumstances can sometimes arise, and candidates may need to request to withdraw from their exam for various reasons.

The below outlines where charges may apply in different circumstances.

Process to withdraw

Candidates can request to withdraw from their exams at any point before their exam by emailing exams@rcem.ac.uk.

Fees and refunds

Exams fees are refundable providing the process has been followed.

An administration fee of 15% of the cost of the exam will be charged  for all 2024 exams (including those with application windows in 2023) to help cover the costs associated with processing withdrawals and refunds, unless it falls under one of the exceptions outlined below.

The exam fee, less the 15% administrative charge, will be refunded to the original payment method. Refunds can only be made to the original payment method, unless the payment card has expired, or the bank account has been closed. In such cases, refunds can only be made to accounts under the name of the candidate.

Applications cannot be transferred to future exam sittings. Candidates who withdraw from an exam will be required to submit a new application during the next relevant exam application window.

Withdrawal requests during the application window

Candidates who withdraw from their exam by emailing exams@rcem.ac.uk within the respective application window or within one week of the close of the respective application window will not be subject to any administrative charge.

Exceptional circumstances

Certain exceptional circumstances, including, but not limited to: serious illness, military deployment, bereavement, or some geopolitical events, may mean that candidates can no longer sit exams as planned.

In such cases, candidates should request to withdraw from their exam by emailing exams@rcem.ac.uk including their RCEM ID and providing any available supporting evidence, e.g. a medical certificate.

Requests to withdraw from an exam citing exceptional circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis and, if approved, will not be subject to any administrative charge.

Exceptional circumstances for which supporting evidence is not available, such as geopolitical events, will also be considered on a case-by-case basis and, if approved, will not be subject to any administrative charge.

All other circumstances

For 2024 exams, an administrative charge of 15% of the respective exam fee will be applied for candidates withdrawing from their exams in all other circumstances which fall outside of the above. The following list shows some examples where charges will still be applied. Please note this list is not exhaustive:

  • Lack of preparation
  • Change of mind
  • Social plans i.e. birthday parties, weddings, holidays
  • Clashes with other courses or exams
  • Failure to book a test centre at a Pearson VUE test centre by the test centre booking deadline (applicable for MRCEM Primary, MRCEM SBA or FRCEM SBA)
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