Examination policies

Examination regulations

Candidates are required to read the regulations prior to submitting an application.

Number of permitted attempts at FRCR examinations

The GMC has set expectations for the number of attempts candidates are permitted at all Royal College examinations. From Spring 2015, no candidate will automatically be permitted more than six attempts at any examination or examination module.  In order to attempt an examination for a seventh, or further, time candidates will have to demonstrate additional educational experience. Further background information is available on the GMC’s website.

The First FRCR in Clinical Oncology examination remains at the lower limit of four attempts with no additional attempts permitted, however a change in the regulations means that - from the Spring 2014 examination - attempts do not have to be consecutive.  Further information on this regulation change can be found on the First FRCR examination page.

Candidates who will have exhausted their permitted six attempts following the Autumn 2014 examination will not be permitted to enter the examination in Spring 2015.  Under the new regulations, following six unsuccessful attempts candidates are required to take a one year break prior to the seventh attempt, within which time the candidate’s educational needs should be addressed.

These changes apply to all candidates and no special consideration can be applied due to an individual’s personal circumstances.

FAQs on the limited attempts policy are available.

Information for candidates requiring an adjustment (such as additional time)

Candidates requiring special arrangements to be put in place at their examination to compensate for disability should refer to the adjustments procedure. Requests should be made, in writing, to the examiantions office – supporting medical evidence is required for some requests.

Information for candidates withdrawing from an examination

The College accepts that occasionally candidates will not be able to attempt an examination for reasons beyond their control. From Autumn 2017, candidates affected by adverse circumstances may request a refund either before the examination or up to 15 working days afterwards.  Further information can be found in the refund policy.  

Information for unsuccessful candidates

As is standard practice in professional examinations, pass marks are set and adhered to. The passing standard attached to each module/examination has been identified by College examiners as the minimum competence level required for success. As with all assessments there are candidates who fall both above, and below, this level.

Candidates who have been unsuccessful in computer-marked College examinations may apply for their answer sheet(s) to be remarked.  Applicants pay for College staff to repeat the computerised marking procedure, and to perform a manual remark, as a further check of the accuracy of scores/results awarded. The remarking procedure provides more information on the process.  Unsuccessful candidates can also appeal against their fail result.  This allows candidates to challenge their fail result on the grounds that it is incorrect for some reason other than the marks being at fault.  Appeals are only deemed valid on procedural grounds; the appeals procedure provides more information on acceptable grounds for appeal.

Announcement of tax relief on FRCR examinations

We are delighted to announce that following discussions with HM Revenue and Customs, UK trainees who take FRCR examinations may now be able to claim tax relief on their examination fees. 

Candidate misconduct

It is a matter of fundamental importance that the RCR maintains the integrity of its examinations. By virtue of entering an examination, a candidate is deemed to have understood and agreed to abide by and respect all examination regulations and policies, including the Misconduct Policy. This new document outlines the standards of conduct expected from examination candidates, as well as the penalties for misconduct and procedures in cases of alleged misconduct.

Publication of examination results

In response to requests from trainees and in line with data protection principles, individual candidate names will be removed from results lists published online from Spring 2015. The College will publish the candidate number of successful candidates. UK training programme directors and regional advisors will receive an email stating which of their trainees have been successful. 

RCR examination cancellation policy

On very rare occasions, it may be necessary for RCR to cancel an examination. In these circumstances, RCR will refund the full examination fee of any candidate allocated to the affected examination centre(s). RCR will, however, not be responsible for any expenses (such as travel or accommodation) incurred by a candidate in the event of a cancellation.

Emergency situations

An examination could be cancelled by the RCR due to force majeure, including any of the following:

  • Adverse weather and other natural disaster (including fire, flood, earthquake, storm, or hurricane);
  • Governmental act, war, explosion or accident, civil commotion, armed hostilities, act of terrorism, revolution;
  • Blockade, embargo, lock-out or other industrial dispute;
  • Breakdown of systems or network access;
  • Act or intervention of any competent judicial or regulatory authority;
  • Any other event (including without limitation any act or omission of any third party) beyond our reasonable control that could be reasonably planned or avoided.