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RCOG to transform the way it delivers exams to doctors worldwide

News 7 July 2020

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has announced its written exam provision will move from a paper-based to a computer-based format, from September 2020.

The RCOG’s Exams IT Systems project, which has been several years in the making, will provide an integrated digital solution to make the College’s exams process secure, simple and transparent. Crucially, it will help to deliver an excellent candidate experience for our trainees and other doctors working in women’s health care globally.

The RCOG membership exam (MRCOG) is internationally respected as the gold standard qualification for career progression in obstetrics and gynaecology. It is intended for trainee doctors who wish to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology. The exam is a 3-part assessment, Part 1 and Part 2 are written examinations, and Part 3 is a clinical skills exam.

In the UK, doctors must pass all three parts of the exam before they complete the final two years of their seven-year training in O&G. Membership of the College is awarded to doctors who have passed all three parts of the Membership exam.

The RCOG Diploma exam (DRCOG) is a proven way for doctors of any specialty to demonstrate knowledge of women’s health care, and is especially relevant for general practitioners (GPs).

Approximately 7,500 candidates sit the MRCOG and DRCOG written exams each year globally.

Following a robust procurement process, the RCOG has partnered with the global leader in computer-based testing, Pearson VUE, to transform how the College’s exams are delivered.

Pearson VUE provides computer-based testing for information technology, academic, government and professional testing programs around the world and delivers exams through the world's most comprehensive network of nearly 20,000 test centres as well as online testing in 180 countries. This enables candidates to take their exams close to where they reside, reducing the need to travel

This first phase of the project will see the transition of the RCOG’s MRCOG Part 1, Part 2 and DRCOG exams to computer-based testing from September 2020. While the delivery format of the exams will be changing, the content, structure, standard setting and results calculation will remain unchanged.

The next phase of the project will be launched in 2021. It will see the release of the wider platform that will automate and integrate candidate registration, exams application and booking, exam sitting, results processing and candidate communication – all in a seamless, secure platform. 

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“I’m delighted to announce this exams upgrade, which goes hand-in-hand with the major digital transformation that the College is undergoing. Not only will the new system modernise the way we deliver exams, it will enable us to expand and reach a far greater global audience of doctors as we continue to strive to improve the health of women and girls around the world.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the need for the digitisation of our current exam system into much sharper focus. Many candidates who were due to sit an exam with us in April or July had them postponed due to the pandemic as running paper-based exams in the current conditions would not be possible. By bringing forward the timeline for delivering this project, over 50% of candidates will be able to sit their exams this year if they wish, enabling them to progress to the next stage of their careers.”

Gary Gates, Senior Vice President at Pearson VUE, said:

“We are delighted that the RCOG has chosen Pearson VUE to deliver its written membership exams. Already the gold standard qualification in the field, we are confident that we can help significantly grow the programme while enhancing customer experience by ensuring that this digital transformation leads to an agile and efficient delivery of the MRCOG and DRCOG exams particularly for overseas candidates.

“We are particularly excited at the prospect of executing our full-service model for the MRCOG and DRCOG exams. Apart from exam delivery, preparing exam content for publication and organising logistics, it involves the global management of candidate applications, registrations and payments, as well as offering customer support and processing results.”

Ends

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)20 7772 6300/444 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk.

More information about the new Exams IT System, including information for candidates, is available on a dedicated section of our website.

About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.