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The MRCP(UK) Part 1 exam is designed to assess a candidate's knowledge and understanding of the clinical sciences relevant to medical practice and of common or important disorders to a level appropriate for entry to specialist training. Knowledge is an essential base for the practice of clinical reasoning and vital as a basis for learning during postgraduate training to develop understanding of disease and their treatment.

The exam is computer-based and is administered by Surpass at a test centre internationally or online via a proctoring service in the UK. It has a two-paper format. Each paper is three hours in duration and contains 100 multiple choice questions in 'best of five' format. This format, in addition to testing core knowledge and comprehension, also assesses the ability to interpret information and to solve clinical problems. There are five options - one correct answer and four alternatives to the correct answer. The four distractors are closely related to the preferred option but less correct, therefore acting as plausible alternatives. The candidate chooses the best answer from the five possible answers. Each correct answer is awarded one mark; there is no negative marking

The content of the exam is based on a blueprint. This outlines the composition of the papers, including the likely number of questions under each broad clinical topic heading. This has been updated to reflect the new terminology used in the new UK Internal Medicine curriculum, and it will be used from the 2020/1 diet of the examination. Details of the new blueprint can be found here.

SpecialtyNumber of questions*
Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics15
Clinical sciences**25
Endocrinology, diabetes and metabolic medicine14
Gastroenterology and Hepatology14
Geriatric medicine8
Infectious diseases14
Medical ophthalmology4
Palliative medicine and end of life care4
Renal medicine14
Respiratory medicine14

* This should be taken as an indication of the likely number of questions – the actual number may vary slightly.

** Clinical sciences comprise:

Cell, molecular and membrane biology2
Clinical anatomy3
Clinical biochemistry and metabolism4
Clinical physiology4
Statistics, epidemiology and evidence-based medicine5

A detailed explanation of the marking system adopted for the MRCP(UK) Part 1 Examination can be viewed in the MRCP(UK) Regulations.