Specialty Certificate Examinations in Acute Internal Medicine

The Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom, in association with the Specialist Societies, has developed a programme to deliver Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs) within the training structure. 


The Purpose of the SCE is to:


  • ensure that certified specialists have sufficient knowledge of their specialty to practice safely and competently as consultants
  • complement workplace-based assessments
  • provide a rigorous national assessment to establish public confidence
  • offer a challenge similar to sub-specialty certification examination in North America
  • identify those practising trainees who have acquired the necessary professional knowledge and problem-solving skills to enable them to practise independently as specialists
  • evaluate the professional competence of medical graduates during specialist training in areas such as clinical science, epidemiology and statistics


The Specialty Certificate Examination is compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) for all UK trainees whose specialist training began in or after August 2007 in Acute Internal Medicine (AIM).

The SCEs play an essential role in the overall educational experience and continuing professional development of trainees in the UK. 

They provide a professional standard against which physicians working outside the UK can measure their level of attainment. They are designed to assess a trainee’s knowledge and understanding of the clinical sciences relevant to AIM medical practice and of common or important disorders to a level appropriate for a newly appointed consultant.


The SCEs meet requirements for knowledge-based assessments that are a part of the curricula submitted to the General Medical Council (GMC) by the Specialist Advisory Committees (SACs). The SCE is a prerequisite for attainment of the CCT.



There are no restrictions on taking the SCEs, however UK trainees would usually take it during their penultimate year of higher specialist training and overseas candidates are advised to take the SCE at a similar or later point in their training/career.


Further Information

Up to date information on the SCE can be found on the MRCP website here. An example paper can be found by clicking here.


Page Last Updated 7th December 2020