The Specialist Certificate Examination (SCE) in Respiratory Medicine is set at the level of a newly appointed Consultant. It is compulsory for all trainees whose specialist training began in or after August 2007. It is recommended that Respiratory trainees consider taking the SCE in their third or penultimate year of training (ST5 or ST6). There is only one diet of the exam per year so plan ahead!

  • 2016: 26th October (register 6th July – 28th September)
  • 2017: 20th September (register 28th June – 24th August)

Failure in the exam will not impede progress through training, but a CCT cannot be awarded without it. Once the trainee has gained their CCT in Respiratory Medicine, they will be eligible to use the post-nominal “MRCP (UK) (Resp Med),” provided that the SCE in Respiratory Medicine has been passed.

The SCE consists of 200 questions in 2 x 3-hour papers. The questions are in ‘best of five’ multiple choice format. This format, in addition to testing core knowledge and comprehension, also assesses the ability to interpret information and to solve clinical problems. There will be five options – one correct answer and four alternatives to the correct answer. The four distractors will be closely related to the preferred option but less correct, therefore acting as plausible alternatives.

The pass rates for previous diets are reassuring:

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 17.48.56

Information on the SCE is provided by the BTS, the JRPCTB and MRCP(UK). The cost was £861, but GOOD NEWS, it has been reduced to £665 from August 2016. A factsheet on the rationale behind the cost is published by the MRCP. Practice questions and 2 mock exams are provided on the BTS site and a mock exam is on the MRCP(UK) website.

Each SCE Examining Board is charged with setting an exam that tests the scope and depth of knowledge set out in the relevant curriculum. This means assessing knowledge of the natural history and pathogenesis of relevant disorders, and the basic scientific principles and evidence base underpinning current clinical practice, in addition to knowledge of how to diagnose and manage everyday clinical problems. The exams must also include an appropriate number of questions on less common conditions, in proportion to their prevalence. The blueprint provides information on the weighting of different subjects.

Dr John Mucklow, Associate Medical Director for the SCE advises that “knowledge necessary to pass the SCE cannot be acquired from clinical practice alone, however diligent. As at every stage of one’s continuing medical education, clinical experience has to be complemented by directed reading and private study.”

Tips on how to prepare for the exam

Advice from Dr Adam Hill and Dr Ian Coutts, Secretary and Chair respectively of the Respiratory SCE Board.

Tips from North East Thames trainees

  • The SCE is very passable, but requires reading in addition to experience from clinical work
  • Find a study-buddy and test each other on tricky areas
  • If you read all the BTS guidelines you will have a good basis to pass, but this takes time to do it properly so plan ahead (some of the guidelines are very long and very dry!). There are no BTS guidelines on some subjects so make sure you are aware of up to date resources to help revise these areas.

Some helpful resources are already on the resources page (including the clinic aide-memoires which are summaries of BTS guidelines if time is short). Other SCE specific resources that trainees have found helpful include:

Also have a look at the Respiratory Futures BTS STAG forum, particularly for posts tagged SCE. A growing resource, with contributions from trainees across the country. Why not contribute your own tips?

Thanks to Will, James, Alex and LJ for contributions.


4 thoughts on “The SCE

  1. send me some good qualityn MCQ in Respiratory medicine

    Posted by Farhat Rustam | December 4, 2015, 11:46 am


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