PASS MRCP PACES: Exam Overview

At Clinical Skills Pro we know that the MRCP PACES is the final and toughest part of the postgraduate examination series you must pass to gain entry to the prestigious Royal College of Physicians.  It is designed to test the clinical knowledge and skills of junior doctors who hope to enter higher specialist training in hospital medicine, and forms one of the hardest obstacles on the path to becoming a hospital consultant.

Aside from being a necessary career hurdle, passing the MRCP is a prestigious professional award with international recognition as a marker of clinical excellence.

Walking into the exam room for the first time can be daunting. In this we are discussing what the examiners will be looking for in your presentation on each station.


Physical examination: Demonstrate correct, thorough, systematic (or focused in Station 5 encounters), appropriate, fluent, and professional technique of physical examination


Identifying physical signs: Identify physical signs correctly, and not find physical signs that are not present.


Clinical communication skills: Elicit a clinical history relevant to the patient’s complaints, in a systematic, thorough (or focused in Station 5 encounters), fluent and professional manner.  Explain relevant clinical information in an accurate, clear, structured, comprehensive, fluent and professional manner.


Differential diagnosis: Create a sensible differential diagnosis for a patient that the candidate has personally clinically assessed.


Clinical judgement: Select or negotiate a sensible and appropriate management plan for a patient, relative or clinical situation.  Select appropriate investigations or treatments for a patient that the candidate has personally clinically assessed.  Apply clinical knowledge, including knowledge of law and ethics, to the case.


Managing patients’ concerns: Seek, detect, acknowledge and address patients’ or relatives’ concerns.
Listen to a patient or relative, confirm their understanding of the matter under discussion and demonstrate empathy.


Maintaining patient welfare: Treat a patient or relative respectfully and sensitively and in a manner that ensures their comfort, safety and dignity.

This is what the examiners are expecting of you. It is not just a case of knowing all the physical signs of the condition but being able to interact empathetically and professionally with the patient and the examiners.