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COVID-19 and exams

COVID information hub

This page contains information specific to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our examinations.

Last updated: 8.15am, 5 May

Your questions

What's happening with September bookings?

We have had to suspend bookings for the UK MRCS Part A September 2020 examination whilst we assess the capacity at which we can safely deliver the examination in the context of anticipated social distancing guidance. Whilst we will not be accepting any new bookings at this time, we are working hard to maximise our capacity for this examination and will provide updates at the earliest opportunity.

Has my examination been postponed?

For examination bookings up until the end of August, the examination will not be going ahead and you will be contacted directly about your booking. 

My examination has been postponed. What happens to my booking?

All current examination bookings will be honoured on the next available examination. Unfortunately due to the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re unable to confirm a specific date at this stage. As soon as we have confirmation of the next running examination, your place will be automatically transferred and you will be contacted directly.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding the transfer of your examination place, please contact us directly.

Will there be any additional fees for my booking to be transferred?

No. There will be no additional fees to transfer your booking to the next available examination. Please advise us if you wish for your place to be transferred to a different examination location.

How long will these measures be in place for?

Advice from NHS England is that this will need to be in place for six months, taking us through to September. In Wales, no end date has yet been given. However, we will keep this under review and provide regular updates to these pages as we know more. 

I need to pass the examination entered to continue my training. What impact will this have on my progression?

Discussions with employers, regulators and agencies involved in the delivery of training regarding promotion, competency and assessment are taking place to ensure that individual trainees are not disadvantaged. Candidates are advised to discuss this further with their educational supervisor.

When will there be more advice for trainees regarding the impact upon training?

We understand the concerns around the impact that COVID-19 will have upon training and progression. The RCS is liaising closely with the other Surgical Colleges, AoMRC, NHS England and other key stakeholders to ensure that trainees supporting the response against COVID-19 will not be adversely impacted as a result. We will work closely with ASiT and BOTA throughout this time to understand and listen to the concerns being faced. We are also in discussions with employers, regulators and the agencies involved in the delivery of surgical training regarding promotion, competency and assessment.We will provide a further statement specifically around training when we have clarification around some of these important issues.

Can I book myself onto the next exam?

If your examination has been postponed your place will be transferred to the next available diet automatically. Please do not attempt to book yourself into another examination.

Candidates who have not yet booked their examination may continue to use the examination pages as usual. Any changes to upcoming examinations will be communicated via the RCS COVID-19 information page.

Can my examination be transferred to a different location to the one I had booked previously?

Unfortunately, we’re unable to confirm whether this will be possible. We are working to ensure that all reasonable measures are taken to allow candidates to sit their examinations as soon as possible.

How will I be updated, and what do I need to do to be transferred?

We will be transferring all candidates whose examination has been postponed automatically to the next available sitting. If you have provided all necessary paperwork previously, you do not need to do anything further. Information will be updated on the RCS COVID-19 information page as regularly as necessary and any updates specific to sitting your examination will be communicated to you directly.

For how long will examinations be postponed?

Unfortunately, we’re unable to provide a date for the next available examination. However we will endeavour to identify alternative dates at the earliest opportunity and advise candidates already entered of these directly once finalised.

What steps are the other surgical colleges taking?

The four Surgical Royal Colleges are taking the same course of action regarding the delivery of examinations and other professional activities.

What if my transferred examination falls outside of the permitted time to complete my examination?

We will automatically take into account any effect the postponement may have on a candidate’s time limits to complete their examination process. Affected candidates will not be disadvantaged by the postponement of their examination attempt.

I’ve recently sat an examination. Will this situation affect me?

We are not expecting delays in releasing results for recently sat examinations. However, there may significant delays in providing your result letter. Please note that digital result letters are available via your RCS online account.

What about my RCS Diplomates ceremony?

The RCS is due to run two days of Diplomates ceremonies in July 2020. At present we are unlikely to run these sessions. If you are due to receive an award at these ceremonies we will be in contact shortly with further information. We can assure you that we will do everything we can to ensure additional ceremonies are run in the future to accommodate those who are unable to graduate in July.

How can I contact you?

Please be advised that we are receiving large numbers of enquiries and are endeavouring to respond as quickly as we can. We urge you to read our FAQs thoroughly before contacting us directly.

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