Coronavirus & Exams - FAQs

FRCEM SAQ demo using sample questions (updated 6 July 2020)

Screenshots of SAQ

Questions last updated 22 July 2020

1. My Spring 2020 examination was postponed. What happens to my booking? **updated 20 May 2020**
All current examination places will be honoured on the next available examination. All written exams for the remainder of 2020 will be delivered electronically either in a Pearson Vue test centre or through online remote invigilation.   The Autumn 2020 FRCEM Final OSCE will take place in November.

We will not be able to deliver an additional MRCEM OSCE examination in 2020. 

As soon as we have confirmation of the next running examination, your place will be automatically transferred and you will be contacted directly. 

If you have any queries or concerns regarding the transfer of your examination place, please contact us directly. 

2. Will there be any additional fees for my booking to be transferred? 
No. There will be no additional fees to transfer your booking to the next available examination. Please advise us if you wish for your place to be transferred to a different examination location. 

3. Is there any compensation available to cover costs of travel to cancelled examinations? 
Unfortunately, the College is unable to cover candidates’ travel costs.   
 
4. I need to pass the examination entered to continue my training. What impact will this have on my progression? 
Please refer to information on the training pages on the RCEM website.

5. Can I book myself onto the next exam? 
If your examination has been postponed your place will be transferred to the next available diet automatically. Please do not attempt to book yourself into another examination.  

6. Can my examination be transferred to a different centre to the one I had booked previously? ** updated 20 May 2020**
Candidates will now be able to select to sit their written examination through remote online invigilation or a Pearson Vue test centre (this will be done when registering on the Pearson Vue website.  Details will be sent to candidates directly) 

7. How will I be updated, and what do I need to do to be transferred? 
We will be transferring all candidates whose examination has been postponed automatically to the next available sitting.  Any updates specific to sitting your examination will be communicated to you directly via email.  

8. What if the new examination date (that I’m automatically transferred to) doesn’t suit me? 
If you’re unable to attend the revised date or subsequent diet then we will refund your examination fee.   

9. I’ve recently sat the FRCEM Intermediate SAQ/SJP examination. Will this situation affect me? 
The Spring 2020 FRCEM Intermediate SJP examination results will be released as scheduled on 9 April 2020.  The Intermediate SAQ is marked by examiners and the results release will be delayed until 12 June 2020.  

10. Can I still submit my QIP? **updated 20 May 2020**
The QIP 3 application window will run as per the exam schedule.  The submission window will be extended (date TBC) 

11. I am due to sit the FRCEM Final SAQ in the new July sitting. Will I still be able to CCT in August?
The results release date for the July 2020 FRCEM Final SAQ is not yet confirmed, but we intend it to be before the end of August 2020.  If you pass the FRCEM Final SAQ and this is your only outstanding FRCEM component, and all other curricula requirements have been signed off, then you will be able to CCT after the examination results are released.

12. Why can’t the exams be modified to take into account how difficult it has been to revise and study during the pandemic? It seems unfair that I won’t be able to CCT in August because of it.
This issue is being discussed at a national level amongst the GMC, AoMRC and the four nation’s Statutory Education Bodies.  What has so far been clear is that the approved professional examinations required for CCT will not be waived by the GMC due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Examinations need to continue to meet the requirements for GMC approval during the pandemic and it is important for standards to be maintained during this time.

13. Will the pass mark be different this year to account for the challenges posed by COVID-19?
There will be no adjustment to the standards for any FRCEM examinations.

14. I hadn’t applied for one of the cancelled exams earlier this year - can I apply for one of the newly added sittings?
It is intended for there to be an application window opened for the FRCEM Primary, but the College will not be accepting additional applications for the FRCEM Final SAQ.

15. When will I be able to sit the FRCEM OSCE? **updated 22 July 2020**
There is a two day FRCEM OSCE planned for September, with places offered to candidates who were registered for the Spring sitting, in order of priority. It is planned for the FRCEM OSCE will run in November 2020 as per the published examination calendar.  Please note that these examinations will be remote/virtual OSCEs - further information here.

16. When will know the dates of the exam diets in 2020-21?
2021 dates are being finalised, but the examination schedule will likely follow the same pattern as previous years.

17. If I have been redeployed back into EM during the pandemic will this time count towards my future exam eligibility?
Yes, in accordance with the existing examination regulations.

18. If I fail one of the new exam sittings will I still have to pay to re-sit?
Yes.

19. The hospital and department have all switched focus to COVID-19 activities and my SPA time has been cancelled. I am not able to continue my QIP and don’t know when I will be able to re-start again. What do I do? **updated 4 June 2020**
The FRCEM Final QIP marking scheme has been updated to adjust for the impact of COVID-19 on QI activity.  Further information available here 
 
20. My region has said they would have been happy to host an exam locally with social distancing, why can’t they do that for the trainees in region due to CCT?
The College initially explored offering localised sittings just to ST6 trainees due to CCT in summer 2020, but uncertainties around ongoing and variable restrictions led us to consider alternative modes of delivery.  Being able to offer the Final FRCEM SAQ to all candidates also means that non-trainees are not excluded and disadvantaged.

21.I have heard that some of the future exams will take place online:

  1. What equipment will I need to be able to sit the exam? What if I don’t have it?
    Candidates need a computer with a webcam, microphone and a stable internet connection (2Mbps speed). If you do not have or cannot borrow this equipment you will be unable to take any online exam. Candidates who are unable to take the examination online will be able to sit the examination in a Pearson Vue test centre.
  2. Why do I still have to pay the same for my exam if I am now sitting it from home?
    There is a significant cost attached to setting up and delivering examinations online, as well as the costs the College has already incurred for the cancelled Spring FRCEM Final written examinations.
  3. I am worried that if the exams are online people will be able to cheat and it won’t be a fair exam - how will you stop people cheating if they are sitting the exam in their own home?
    The remote invigilation the College will use is much more focused than in an examination hall setting. Candidates have to satisfy a remote room check before they can start the examination and their behaviour during the examination is monitored live as well as being recorded. Any concerning behaviour is recorded and will be investigated in accordance with the College’s Misconduct Policy. The examination application locks down the candidate’s computer so they cannot navigate away from the exam screen.
  4. Can I choose not to sit the exam online? **updated 20 May 2020**
    All written examinations will be delivered electronically for the remainder of 2020, either online through remote invigilation or in a Pearson Vue test centre.
  5. What happens if the internet connection cuts out during my exam?
    The system uses a low bandwidth so connection losses are rare, often if the connection dips out there is no interruption to the exam. If the connection cuts out entirely and you’re unable to communicate with your invigilator through the online chat, the invigilator will call you (you provide your mobile number at the point of registration) to talk you through getting back on line. If you do get disconnected, your exam clock stops so you do not lose any exam time. Everything is saved ‘live’ so no work will be lost.
  6. My kids are at home and we live in a small flat, do I have to sit the exam at home? **updated 20 May 2020**
    No, candidates can sit in any location as long as it is a private room with a stable internet connection. Alternatively, candidates can sit in a Pearson Vue test centre.
  7. I usually have reasonable adjustments for exam sittings, how will these be factored into a new online format? **updated 4 June 2020**
    All reasonable adjustments will be individually considered as normal and reviewed in light of the different delivery format and agreed accordingly. Candidates requiring extra time will need to sit the examination at a Pearson Vue test centre, as unfortunately this cannot be facilitated using remote invigilation. 
  8. I have special requirements for an online exam, how will these be taken into account?
    Candidates requiring adjustments need to contact the Examinations Department so that this can be considered.
  9. I am very slow at typing and worried about sitting a SAQ online - can I be given extra time? **updated 20 May 2020**
    The examination asks for short answers and candidates should not have an issue. As with hand-written examinations, candidates will not be penalised for poor spelling, and typing removes legibility issues associated with handwriting. Any candidate requiring adjustments for a computer-based exam (i.e. extra time) will need to seek an educational psychologist assessment and then provide the report and recommendations for adjustments to the College.
  10. As the exam is online why can’t I choose the date of the exam myself? ** NEW Question 20 May 2020**
    To maintain the security of the examination, you are required to take the examination on the specified date.
  11. What happens if I log in late to take the exam? ** NEW Question 20 May 2020**
    Being late is not an option. To allow time for the check-in procedure, please be ready when the check-in window opens 30 minutes before the exam start time.
  12. If I do not attend, does this count as an attempt? ** NEW Question 20 May 2020**
    If you do not take your examination, this will not be counted as an attempt. Only those with exceptional circumstances will be offered a refund or transfer. Further information on refunds and transfers can be viewed here.
  13. Will my results be instant? ** NEW Question 20 May 2020**
    No. For SAQ examinations, Examiners are required to mark candidates’ scripts. The result dates are not currently finalised, however, once they are, the dates will be added to the exams calendar which can be viewed here.
  14. If I fail the July Final SAQ exam, will I be allowed to sit the Autumn diet? ** Answer updated 22 June 2020**
    Yes. Candidates will need to make an application for the Autumn diet before the closing date (10 July 2020) to ensure that they can be entered into the examination.  Candidates successful in the July sitting will have their Autumn fee refunded in full.
  15. If I experience technical problems on the day, who should I contact? ** NEW Question 20 May 2020**
    Your exam proctor will help you with technical issues during the exam. If you have any other issues please contact Amy Spivey (Examinations Manager (Operational)) on 02070671277.
22. If I fail one of the new exam sittings will it still count towards my maximum attempts? ** Answer updated 12 June 2020**
Where a candidate’s first attempt at a new online format examination is taken between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020 and is unsuccessful, this will not be counted towards their total number of attempts at that specific examination. Please refer to examination regulations derogation published 12 June 2020

23. Is the FRCEM Primary examination taking place in August? **NEW Question 4 June 2020**
Yes.  The Primary will run on 10 - 11 August 2020, delivered through remote invigilation (OnVUE) or at a Pearson Vue test centre. 

24. The SAQ has a planned July sitting, why has the same consideration has not been given to the addition of a July sitting for the Critical Appraisal? **NEW Question 12 June 2020**
The FRCEM Critical Appraisal examination can be sat at any point after completion of the FRCEM Intermediate Certificate, whereas the FRCEM Final SAQ can only be sat in the last year of training.  The Examinations Subcommittee considered whether an additional sitting of the Critical Appraisal should be offered in the summer and agreed not to. 

25. Will the FRCEM Final QIP (3) submission window be extended? **NEW Question 17 June 2020**
Yes - the submission window will be extended from 29 June to 14 August.  Further information will be made available to candidates who have completed an application before the closing date.

How can I contact you?
We hope that this page is useful, but if you would like to contact us you can reach us by email exams@rcem.ac.uk