Appeal policy and procedure for FRCR and DDMFR exams

Last updated: January 2023

1. Definition/purpose of appeal procedure

The Royal College of Radiologists’ (RCR) appeals procedure is intended to provide a formal means for reviewing candidates’ exam results and is applicable to all exams set and run by the RCR. It is not a complaint procedure but enables candidates to challenge a fail result on specific grounds (see below). All appeals will be considered by the RCR in a fair and consistent way.

This Policy and Procedure applies to FRCR and DDMFR exams.

2. Acceptable grounds for appeal

An appeal will only be deemed valid for consideration when based on procedural irregularity in the conduct, or determination of the result, of the exam.

Candidates must complete and submit an Incident Form on the exam day, or within 48 hours following the exam via the Exam Hub , to detail any procedural irregularities they experienced.

Acceptable criteria for a procedural irregularity:

  • repeated disruption caused by a technical issue, either during a single exam or across multiple exam experiences at one exam sitting
  • an incident that is not resolved through being given extra time during the exam
  • evidence of bias
  • an incorrectly implemented approved reasonable adjustment
  • matters of equivalent or more serious nature.

3. Invalid grounds for appeal

It is important to note that appeals based on, or arising from, the following will not be upheld:

  • academic judgement of RCR examiners
  • personal circumstances (such as ill-health, personal issues) affecting performance
  • lack of candidate awareness of exam regulations and procedures
  • no Incident Form submitted by the candidate within 48 hours of the exam.

Examples of issues that are NOT a procedural irregularity:

  • failing the exam by just one or two marks
  • a candidate feels that they did better than their marks or the examiner feedback indicates
  • a candidate disagrees with their marks or examiner feedback
  • the removal of questions from the exam paper after the exam (this is a normal adjudication procedure)
  • poor internet connection or computer malfunction when taking a remote invigilated exam. Such an occurrence will only be a procedural irregularity if the technical fault lies with the remote invigilation provider. The instability of a candidate’s own internet connection or computer does not constitute a procedural irregularity
  • any incident where no evidence has been logged within 48 hours of the exam using an Incident Form
  • For Final Part B exams, scrolling and imaging concerns are not acceptable grounds for appeal, unless they cause repeated disruption, are raised with the invigilator at the time of the exam and a suitable solution was not found on the day.

Please note that, for remote invigilated exams (Part 1 and Part 2A), the RCR retains recorded footage of every candidate’s exam, so any appeal claim can be corroborated against this evidence.

4. Lodging an appeal

Once an appeal request is made, the exam candidate will then be known as the appellant.

The appeal must be submitted within 20 working days of the publication of exam results. Appeal requests must be submitted via your profile in the Exam Hub under the exam results for the relevant exam sitting.

Online form submissions will be acknowledged by the Exam Manager within 10 working days.

The formal response will advise:

  • when the Stage 1 Appeal Panel will convene
  • when the outcome of the appeal will be communicated with the appellant.

A fee of £500 must be paid to proceed. No further action will be taken until the fee is paid. If the appellant meets the criteria to go before the Appeal Panel, 10 working days before the Appeal Panel meeting, the Exam Manager will send the appellant the appeal documents to be submitted on their behalf. Appellants have two working days to notify the RCR of any inaccuracies or omissions.

5. Consideration of appeal: Stage 1

All appeals that meet the criteria will be submitted to the Stage 1 Appeals Panel.

The Panel will be constituted independently from the Examiners and will comprise:

  • Medical Director for Education and Training (Chair)
  • senior Fellow of the RCR (who has expert knowledge of the exam process)
  • RCR’s Head of Exams (or nominated deputy)
  • Exam Manager (Secretary).

Other members may be co-opted at the discretion of the Chair.

The Appeals Panel will consider all submissions that meet the criteria listed in this Appeals policy, including all appropriate supporting evidence.

Relevant documentary evidence, previously sent to the appellant for approval, will be anonymised for the Appeals Panel.

An appeal is not an opportunity for a review or remark of the exam. However, the Panel will review the appellant’s submission and follow a set, objective process which will check that no administrative, procedural, numerical, data transcription or computing errors have occurred, and that the result accurately reflects the assessment of the appellant by RCR examiners during the exam and results-awarding process.

The decision will be by majority vote of Panel members. The appellant will receive a decision within eight weeks of the result date by email. The outcome information will also be held on the appellant’s record.

6. Appeal outcomes

Following consideration of the appeal, the Panel will reach its findings. As detailed below, it is important to note that the identification of a procedural irregularity will not automatically result in a fail result being amended to a pass. Potential appeal outcomes are likely to be as follows:

  1. The appeal is deemed invalid and is not upheld.
  2. The appeal is deemed valid, in that a minor procedural irregularity did occur, but that its impact is not sufficient to justify a change in the appellant’s exam outcome.
  3. The appeal is deemed valid, in that a minor procedural irregularity did occur, but that there is uncertainty as to its impact on the appellant’s exam outcome. The attempt will be nullified, and the appellant can demonstrate their level of knowledge at a subsequent attempt at the exam.
  4. The appeal is upheld, in that a major procedural irregularity did occur affecting the appellant’s score/result. Any score previously awarded to the appellant shall be appropriately corrected and, if the appellant is shown to have attained the required standard at the exam, the appellant’s result will be changed to a pass.

In the case of 2, the appeal fee will be refunded. In cases 3 and 4, both the original exam fee and appeal fee will be refunded. Refunds will be processed within 10 working days of the decision email date.

7. Consideration of appeal: Stage 2

Should an appellant believe that the Appeal Panel at Stage 1 did not follow the published process, and wants to challenge this, they can begin the Stage 2 appeal process. The request must be submitted via the Exam Hub within five working days of the Stage 1 Appeals decision email.

Appellants must pay a fee of £500 to proceed to Stage 2. No further action will be taken until the fee is paid.

The appellant may be contacted if clarification is required. If invited to attend a virtual meeting, the appellant may designate a colleague to attend with them for additional support. (The colleague can advise, but not speak on behalf of, the appellant.)

The Stage 2 Appeal Panel will be made up of RCR staff, examiners and officers not involved in the Appeal Panel Stage 1, with the exception of the Secretary who has no voting rights. The Stage 2 Appeal Panel will comprise:

  • Vice President (Chair)
  • RCR Director
  • Lay member of RCR Council
  • Exam Manager (Secretary).

Other members may be co-opted at the discretion of the Chair.

The Stage 2 Appeal Panel will make recommendations to the Stage 1 Appeal Panel who will then review the initial decision in light of recommendations.

The appellant will receive a decision within 12 weeks of the result date. The appellants will be notified of the outcome of their appeal, with reasons.

The decision of the Stage 2 Appeals Panel is final.

8. Booking further exams

Booking an exam is an entirely separate process to the appeal process. The appeal is linked to a previous exam attempt. If an appellant wants to book a further exam while the appeal process is underway, they should book in the usual way, under the usual regulations. For more information, please read the Exam Attempts FAQs.

9. Contact

If a candidate has a question that has not been answered in this document, they should email