Blogs > Postgraduate Qualifications

Overview of MRCPsych

  • August 20, 2018

MRCPsych (Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) is a postnominal qualification awarded to doctors who have completed the prescribed training requirements and membership examinations mandated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

To sit MRCPsych you must be registered with the GMC or if you are an international doctor wanting to sit MRCPsych you must be registered with a recognised medical board from your home country and you should have undergone three years of training.

There are three parts to MRCPsych:

Paper A

Focuses on Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Psychology and Theory – 3-hour exam

Paper B

Will test your knowledge on current Clinical Practice and Evidence within General Adult and the various subspecialties of Psychiatry, Epidemiology, Statistics, Critical Appraisal and Psychotherapy


Consists of two circuits.

The first will comprise of 8 single stations with 4-minutes to read and 7 minutes to complete the task. 6 of these stations will be patient management focus and the other 2 will be history taking.

The other 8 single stations remain in the same format 90 seconds to read and 7 minutes to complete the task.


Paper A – You are eligible to take Paper A if you are fully registered medical practitioner

Paper B – You are eligible to take Paper B if:

  • You are on an approved training programme. The Royal College recommend that you have 12 months’ experience in psychiatry before attempting Paper B


  • You are in a post recognised by your hospital as having contracted time and funding for educational training. Your job plan must include dedicated time for academic and educational activities, such as study leave.

CASC – You are eligible to take CASC if:

You have 24 months’ experience in Psychiatry post foundation/internship experience


A pass in Papers A and B, OR you comply with transitional arrangements


You have sponsorship in place, and can demonstrate the following:

  1. If your post is within a programme of approved training, you have successfully completed the Annual Review of Competence Progression by the time you apply for CASC
  2. For all other posts, you must have successfully completed an Assessment Portfolio, showing achievement of equivalent competencies to those defined in the ARCP, to include competencies in Psychotherapy AND Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, or Learning Disability.


Location Paper A Paper A (i) Paper A (ii) Paper B CASC
PMPT Trainees and Affiliates (UK & Ireland Centres) £458 £285 £285 £412 £946
Non-PMPT Trainees and Affiliates (UK & Ireland Centres £508 £318 £318 £457 £1,051
Hong Kong, China £636 £337 £337 £636 £1,406
Singapore £636 £337 £337 £636 £1,406
Chennai, India £636 £337 £337 £636 N/A
Muscat, Oman £636 £337 £337 £636 N/A
Malta £572 N/A N/A £572 N/A

PMPT - Pre-Membership Psychiatric Trainees

Paper A

The MRCPsych Paper A is a written examination on the scientific and theoretical basis of Psychiatry.

  • Duration: Three-hours
  • Value: 200 marks
  • Comprises of approximately: 2/3 multiple-choice questions and 1/3 extended-matching item questions

Paper A comprises of the following syllabus:

  1. Behavioural Science and Sociocultural Psychiatry
  2. Human Development
  3. Neuroscience
  4. Clinical Psychopharmacology
  5. Classification and Assessment in Psychiatry

If I sat MRCPsych Paper 1 or 2 do I have to sit Paper A and B too?

Candidates who hold a Paper 1 or Paper 2 pass are only required to sit Paper A(i) or Paper A(ii). These papers are 90-minute exams worth 100 marks

Paper A (i) comprises of sections 1, 2 and 5 of the syllabus

Paper A (ii) comprises sections 3 and 4

Paper B

MRCPsych Paper B is a written paper which assesses critical review and the clinical topics in psychiatry.

  • Duration: Three-hour exam
  • Value: 200 marks
  • Comprises of approximately: 2/3 covers clinical topics, of which 30% will be General Adult Psychiatry

Paper B will follow the following sections of the syllabus:

  1. Organisation and Delivery of Psychiatric Services
  2. General Adult Psychiatry
  3. Old Age Psychiatry
  4. Psychotherapy
  5. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  6. Substance Misuse/Addictions
  7. Forensic Psychiatry
  8. Psychiatry of Learning Disability
  9. Critical Review

Do I need to take Paper B?

Candidates holding a valid pass in Paper 3 do not need to sit Paper B

The CASC (Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies)

This part of your exam tests your clinical skills in a range of clinical situations.

We advise for you to pass a GMC approved English Language Exam prior to sitting your CASC Exam as this will give you an advantage when communicating in English – IELTS or OET.

What is the format for the CASC?

The CASC exam is similar to an OSCE (Objective Structed Clinical Examination).

The exam comprises of two circuits of single stations which will test your clinical skills:

  1. The Morning Circuit will have 4 minutes to read the instructions and 7 minutes to complete the task
  2. The Afternoon circuit will have 90 seconds to read the instructions and 7 to complete the task

There will be sixteen stations in total.

5 Stations – focused on History taking, including risk assessment

5 Stations – focused on Examination, both physical and mental state, including capacity assessment

6 Stations – focused on patient management

Circuit 1 (Morning) 6 x Stations focused on Management 1 x Station focused on Examination 1 x Station focused on History Taking 4 minutes reading 7 minutes task
Circuit 2 (Afternoon)   4 x Stations focused on Examination 4 x Stations focused on History Taking 90 seconds reading time 7 minute task

Please note the UK CASC Exam is held in Sheffield.

If you are interested accessing CASC support group which share links to webinars, offer weekly study sessions on Skpe, provide example questions and doctors who have sat the exam will share their experience – email us requesting the details at [email protected].

General Advice

  • It is fundamental that a lot of preparation goes into these exams. From hearing various doctors experience, it is advised for you to start your revision at least 4 months ahead of each exam.
  • When you are considering your approach to your revision, look at the Royal College’s syllabus and organise it based on each module. We suggest for you to focus extra time on the areas that you find most difficult, but it is important to remember to revise all areas of the syllabus.
  • Try and vary your revision, use textbooks, online courses, complete past papers, practice with friends or colleagues. The more you vary your revision the easier you will find it to absorb information.
  • Our top tip – try and keep a balanced life whilst you are revising for your exams. Eat healthily, exercise, socialise with friends and family and give yourself some time off to relax.

Free Online Resources

Tricky Cyclists


Paid Online Course

SPMM Course

Free Online Course

Birmingham Course

Please note there are hundreds of other forums and Facebook Groups which allow you to ask questions and receive exam support.

If you are an international doctor who is interested in relocating to the UK and working within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] - and one of our Specialist Advisers will be in touch with you.

Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor - here you will get access to frequent blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions about relocating and to meet other IMGs!

----------------------------------------- (2018). Preparing for Paper A. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Aug. 2018]. (2018). Preparing for Paper B. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Aug. 2018]. (2018). Preparing for CASC. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Aug. 2018].


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