Skip to main content

Exam format & delivery


Exam delivery

All the European Specialty Examinations (ESE) are delivered by Pearson VUE across their network of test centres in the United Kingdom and internationally.

What to expect on exam day

Candidates must arrive at test centres at least 30 minutes before the examination is due to start. Candidates who arrive late will not be able to take the examination and will not be able to claim a refund of fees unless there were mitigating circumstances that can be supported by documentary evidence.

Pearson VUE have created a short video portrays a candidate’s experience from when they first enter and register at the test centre to the end of the examination.


On arrival at a centre candidates must provide:

  • two identification documents, one showing their name, photograph and signature (i.e. a valid passport or UK photocard driving licence), the other their name and signature (e.g. a credit card)
  • proof of identity must match examination registration details
  • the confirmation email proving that they have registered for the examination.

Candidates who do not provide identity documents which match examination registration details will be unable to sit the examination. If the names are different (e.g. one is their maiden name and the other their married name), candidates must raise this name discrepancy with MRCP(UK) at least two working days before the examination. If proof cannot be provided, the candidate will not be permitted to take the examination as Pearson VUE must be sure that the person sitting the examination is the person who registered with MRCP(UK).

Test room

Please be aware that candidates may be taking the examination in a centre where other tests are taking place; the centre may not be exclusively for ESE candidates.

Candidates will not be permitted to take anything into the test room where the examination is taking place. This includes:

  • any electronic or electrical equipment (including mobile phones and pagers)
  • paper of any kind
  • bags and coats
  • purses and wallets
  • food and drink (water)
  • non-essential medicines.

The test centres provide secure lockers for the storage of candidates’ belongings. If you need to adjust the monitor when you get to your work station in the testing room, please speak with an invigilator and they will do this for you. Wipe-clean board and pens are available for each candidate for any workings out. Candidates may leave the room temporarily but no additional time will be allowed to complete the assessment.

There is a one-hour break between papers 1 and 2. Candidates will be permitted to leave the test centre but anyone who returns late will be not be allowed into the test room.

Examination delivery and format

The examination is delivered on a computer terminal at an invigilated Pearson VUE test centre.

Before the test starts, candidates complete a brief tutorial on screen to ensure that they know how to record their answers and scroll through the questions.

Tests are downloaded to each centre on the examination day. Given that the assessment is available on a single day, the start times are staggered internationally to ensure security.

Sample questions to show the type of question that will be in the exam will be available soon.

Points to remember when taking the examination:

  • mark the answer box carefully
  • skip difficult questions (these can be electronically flagged to go back to)
  • go through those not done second time round
  • answer all questions
  • keep checking the clock (100 questions in 3 hours).

Examples of a practice test are available on the Pearson VUE website. It is recommended that candidates familiarise themselves with this demonstration tutorial.