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How to Apply for MRCPsych Paper A & Paper B 2024

The journey to becoming a psychiatrist in the UK involves a series of rigorous exams, among which the MRCPsych Papers A and B stand out as significant milestones. These exams are critical steps for psychiatric trainees, assessing a broad range of knowledge essential for the practice of psychiatry. Understanding how to navigate the application process for these exams is crucial. This guide aims to demystify the process, ensuring you can apply confidently and successfully.

For the most accurate and current details, candidates should regularly consult the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ website.

Eligibility

The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) provides specific guidance and support for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) looking to take the MRCPsych exams, including Paper A and Paper B. These exams are crucial steps for psychiatrists in training, assessing the knowledge and skills essential for psychiatric practice. The eligibility criteria for IMGs for both Paper A and Paper B are designed to ensure that candidates have the necessary medical qualifications and clinical experience to undertake the examination. Here’s a summary of the key eligibility considerations for IMGs:

General Eligibility Criteria for MRCPsych Exams

  • Medical Degree: You must hold a recognized medical degree. IMGs need to ensure their qualifications are recognized by the UK or the country where they plan to practice.
  • Clinical Experience: Although specific post-graduate clinical experience is not always explicitly required for Paper A, it’s advantageous to have some psychiatric training or experience before attempting the exam. For Paper B, candidates typically need to have completed a certain amount of postgraduate training in psychiatry, though the exact requirements can vary.
  • Medical Registration: You should have a current medical registration. For IMGs, this means being registered with the medical regulatory body in your home country or the country where you received your medical degree.

Specific Advice for IMGs

  • Document Verification: IMGs are often required to provide documentary evidence of their primary medical qualification and registration with a medical regulatory body. Original or certified copies may need to be submitted for verification purposes.
  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in English is crucial for success in the MRCPsych exams. IMGs whose primary language is not English may need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency, such as scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Occupational English Test (OET).
  • Preparation Resources: The RCPsych offers various resources to help candidates prepare for the exams, including online learning materials, sample questions, and recommended reading lists. IMGs are encouraged to utilize these resources extensively.
  • Support Networks: IMGs are advised to connect with support networks, either through the RCPsych or external groups. These networks can provide valuable advice, study tips, and moral support.
  • Understanding the UK Healthcare System: Familiarity with the UK healthcare system, mental health laws, and ethical guidelines is essential for the MRCPsych exams. IMGs should take the time to study these areas, as they are often integrated into exam questions.

Understanding the Application Window

The first step in your application journey is to mark the application window on your calendar. The Royal College of Psychiatrists publishes specific dates when the application form becomes available online. It’s imperative to apply within this timeframe, as submissions past the closing date are not accepted under any circumstances.

Paper A dates:

DietDate of ExaminationApplication PeriodPublication of Results
1April 10, 2024January 29 – February 9, 2024May 10, 2024
2July 11, 2024May 6 – May 17, 2024August 16, 2024
3November 13, 2024August 27 – September 6, 2024December 18, 2024

Paper B dates:

DietDate of ExaminationApplication PeriodPublication of Results
1March 13, 2024January 8 – January 19, 2024April 19, 2024
2June 13, 2024April 8 – April 22, 2024July 19, 2024
3October 9, 2024July 29 – August 9, 2024November 15, 2024
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The Application Process

All applications must be made through the online form on the College’s website. This is the only method accepted, and it’s tailored to ensure a smooth application process. Payment for the application can only be made via card—either credit or debit. It’s important to note that the College does not accept responsibility for delays caused by computer failures, so it’s advisable to apply well before the closing date to avoid any unforeseen technical glitches.

Step-by-Step Guide to Completing Your Application

For New Candidates: If you’re a new candidate, your first step will be to register for a College web login. This is a prerequisite before you can proceed with filling out the Online Candidate Application form.

Section A – Personal Details: This section requires your contact information. It is crucial as this address will be used to mail your results. If you have previously registered with the College, your existing contact details will be displayed, but you have the option to update them.

Disability and Special Requirements: If you have a disability or special requirements, it’s essential to indicate this early on in the application. This helps the College make necessary adjustments to assist you during the exam. Supporting documents, such as a medical certificate or a report from an Educational Psychologist for candidates with dyslexia, must be emailed to the Examinations Unit.

Section B – Qualifications and Registration: For candidates registered with the GMC in the UK or the Medical Council in Ireland, documentary evidence of your qualifications is not required. However, candidates from outside these regions must provide documentary evidence of their Primary Medical Qualification and Registration. Remember, these documents need to be officially attested and submitted before the closing date.

Section C – Training: Detail your psychiatric training posts in chronological order, starting with the most recent. It’s important not to enter an end date for your current post and to save each entry before proceeding.

Section D – Written Paper Selection: Candidates with special requirements should contact the examinations department to discuss the need for extra time or other adjustments.

Section E – Summary and Declaration: The final section will generate the relevant examination fee based on your membership status. You must agree to the MRCPsych Examinations Eligibility Criteria, Regulations, and the Data Protection Statement before proceeding to payment.

Payment and Confirmation

After completing the application, you will be redirected to a secure payment screen. Once payment is made, look out for two confirmation emails—one from the Examinations Unit and another confirming payment. It’s advisable to check your junk mail folder if you don’t receive these within 24 hours of submission.

The MRCPsych exams have specific fee structures for 2024. Pre-Membership Psychiatric Trainees (PMPT) and affiliates of the College are eligible for discounted rates. For PMPT Trainees and Affiliates, the fees are £551 for Paper A, £496 for Paper B, and £1,096 for CASC. Non-PMPT Trainees and Affiliates are charged £612 for Paper A, £550 for Paper B, and £1,218 for CASC.

Payment can be made via Visa or MasterCard credit/debit cards during the application process. After completing the application, candidates will receive an automatic Netbanx receipt and an acknowledgment email. For those requiring an additional receipt, the process involves emailing the examinations department. Additionally, trainees who sat for the exams might be eligible to claim tax back, and the College provides necessary documentation for rebate purposes. For more detailed information, please visit the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ website.

Results and Privacy

The College offers the option for your exam results to be displayed on its website. However, under data protection legislation, explicit consent is required for this. Once you make a decision, it cannot be changed after the closing date, so consider your privacy preferences carefully.

Final Thoughts

Applying for the MRCPsych Papers A and B is a significant step in your psychiatric training journey. By following this detailed guide, you can navigate the application process smoothly and avoid common pitfalls. Remember, preparation is key—not just in studying for the exams but also in ensuring your application is complete, submitted on time, and in compliance with all requirements. Good luck!