MRCPCH Part 1: Composition of the exam

The MRCPCH Part I examination consist of two papers of 2.5 hours each. Each paper is composed of Multiple True-False questions (T/F), Best of Five questions (BOF) and Extended Matching Questions (EMQ).

The number of answers expected from questions of each format is respsctively:

  • 40-45 Multiple true-false questions worth 5 marks each (1 per item)
  • 17-20 Best of five questions worth 4 marks each
  • 7-9 Extended matching questions (EMQ) worth 9 marks each (3 per item)

Paper One A (Basic Child Health) focuses on community or primary care practice.

Paper One B (Extended Paediatrics) focuses on the more complex paediatric problem-solving skills that they would come across during their Hospital practice A, and on the scientific knowledge underpinning paediatrics.

Candidates are now allowed to sit the exam just after completion of their medical degree.

Before entering the MRCPCH Part 1 examination, doctors must have passed both paper A and paper B for MRCPCH part 1. If a candidate fails one of either paper A or paper B, but pass the other one, it will only be necessary to re-sit the failed paper.

Candidates will have a period of seven years within which to complete all sections of the MRCPCH, the seven-year period will commence upon successful completion of Paper One B.

Example of an MRCPCH Part 1 'Best of Five' question (T/F)

Cardiomyopathy is a feature of the following disorders:-

  1. Marfan's Syndrome
  2. Infants of diabetic mothers
  3. Glycogen storage disease type IIa (Pompe's disease)
  4. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  5. Freidreich's Ataxia.

Example of an MRCPCH Part 1 'Best of Five' question (EMQ)

  1. Atrial septal defect
  2. Ventricular septal defect
  3. Patent ductus arteriosus
  4. Coarctation of aorta
  5. Ebstein anomaly

Instructions: Match the correct physical sign/presenting symptoms with the lesion of congenital heart disease:-

  1. A 14 year old presents with headache, leg fatigue and claudication. On examination there is an absence of femoral pulses with a mid-systolic murmur heard over the back.
  2. A 17 year old presents for a health checkup with no symptoms. On examination there is a widely split fixed 2nd heart sound.
  3. A 16 year old presents with palpitations. On auscultation there is a quintuple cardiac cadence.
  4. A 7 year old presents with breathlessness. On auscultation there is a continuous murmur.
  5. A 3 year old presents with breathlessness and pedal oedema. On auscultation there is a sharp holosystolic murmur heard along the left sternal border.

Example of an MRCPCH Part 1 'Best of Five' question (BOF)

A young man has intractable epilepsy with numerous admissions to hospital with status in spite of good compliance with anti-convulsant treatment. He is being considered for a right temporal lobectomy.

Which visual field defect is he likely to develop following this surgical procedure:-

  1. Left homonymous superior quadrantanopia
  2. Right homonymous superior quadrantanopia
  3. Left homonymous inferior quadrantanopia
  4. Right homonymous inferior quadrantanopia
  5. Left homonymous hemianopia

Composition of the MRCPCH Part 1 Paper B:

A number of the questions will test basic science knowledge distributed approximately as follows:
Molecular biology2-3
Physiology, biochemistry and metabolism4-5
Epidemiology and statistics1-2
Questions on common clinical categories will be set including:
Infectious diseases and tropical medicine3-4
Immunisation and preventive medicine1-2
Respiratory medicine3-4
Psychiatry and behavioural medicine1-3
Gastroenterology and hepatology2-4
Endocrinology and growth3-4
Genitourinary and renal medicine3-4
Musculoskeletal medicine1-3
Cross specialty problems1-4
Neonatal and fetal medicine3-4
Pharmacology, therapeutics1-3
Accidents and toxicology1-2

The exact number of questions in each category will vary in each examination. The above numbers are set out as general guidelines only.