UK PACES start date March 2021:

  • As a consequence of the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, the Federation of the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians has taken the difficult but necessary decision to delay the start of PACES examinations in the UK until 13 March 2021. The College examination teams are working with their host centres to reschedule dates and affected candidates will be contacted as soon as rescheduled dates have been confirmed.
  • We recognise that cancellations are disruptive and cause anxiety for many candidates but the safety of all candidates, administrators, invigilators has been paramount in reaching this decision. Unfortunately this, plus the reduced number of places per centre for this diet, due to the need to ensure appropriate social distancing, means that we have insufficient places to meet the number of applicants. The College examination offices continue to work extremely hard with our host centres to maximise capacity. However, some of our host sites do not have access to their usual exam venue or are unable to run a socially distanced double carousel format of the examination. In addition, some Trusts are unable to guarantee the availability of staff or hospital facilities for PACES exams during the pandemic.
  • Candidates who were cancelled in the 2020/3 diet and who are deferred again in this diet, should be contacted by their college of entry exam team. If this does not happen, affected candidates should contact the appropriate team themselves.
  • Due to the delayed start to the 2021/1 diet, the application period for 2021/2 will open before diet 1 is complete. Candidates are therefore advised to apply on a provisional basis whilst awaiting the release of their 2021.1 results. Payment will be deferred until a place in the 2021:2 diet is confirmed.

Higher Specialty Training

  • Candidates who are applying for specialty training posts in the UK are reminded that MRCP status will not be scored as part of the application process.

Prioritisation Criteria for PACES 2021

  • The PACES prioritisation group will continue to meet throughout 2021.

International PACES

  • The new variant of coronavirus found in the UK has led to increased travel restrictions for UK examiners travelling to international PACES centres. This will impact on delivery of PACES internationally. The MRCP team are working hard to minimise disruption but some centres may require to postpone their exams until April. Any candidates effected will be notified as soon as possible.

Live Twitter chats

  • Live Q&A sessions about the exams occur regularly on our Twitter account. Follow us for updates at @MRCPUK


  • We welcome feedback. If you have specific queries relating to your exam day please contact the exams office at your College of entry.
  • For other general queries or suggestions please email