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DRCOG format and pass mark

Format and pass mark of the RCOG’s Diploma exam, the DRCOG


The DRCOG exam changes to a new format in April 2020.

The DRCOG exam consists of 2 written papers, each lasting 90 minutes (3 hours in total). There is no oral assessment.

The 2 papers are sat on the same day, with a 30-minute break between the papers. There will be no negative marking and a cumulative pass mark is used: you are not required to ‘pass’ both papers.

Extended matching questions (EMQs) are no longer part of the exam.

The papers comprise of the following the question format:

  • Paper 1: 60 Single best answer questions (SBAs)
  • Paper 2: 60 Single best answer questions (SBAs)


Papers 1 and 2: Single Best Answer

Each paper consists of 60 Single Best Answer (SBA) questions.
Each SBA question is worth 2 marks.
Each paper contributes 50% towards the final exam mark.


Pass mark

What is the pass mark for the DRCOG?

The DRCOG uses a pass mark that has been standard set. Standard setting is a recognition that some of the questions used in the exam are more difficult than others and a different pass mark is used for each exam, depending on the difficulty of each exam. Therefore, pass marks and pass rates fluctuate and there is no fixed level or quota.

How does standard setting work?

The system we use to standard set the DRCOG is based on the standard setting system used for the MRCOG exam. A modified Angoff method is used for the DRCOG.

A panel of carefully trained representative consultants and GPs implements the standard setting procedures for the DRCOG. The panel reviews the questions, bearing in mind the standard a competent GP trainee should achieve.

Why is standard setting used?

The aim of standard setting is to improve the fairness and validity of the exam process and to set levels of competence for exam success.

The use of standard setting bears no relationship to the percentage of candidates who will succeed in the exam, or to any other external factors.