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Exam Postponement FAQs - COVID-19

Is my examination cancelled?

Not cancelled – just postponed. For the next few months, there will be no examinations held by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) in the UK or internationally. We are working hard to re-schedule the exams.

Why has my examination been postponed?

In light of the UK Government’s decision to move to the DELAY phase of their effort to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus, we have taken the decision to postpone all examinations with immediate effect for the next few months.

Globally, many countries have closed their borders and are placing restrictions on gatherings – particularly of clinicians. We have a responsibility to safeguard all our staff, examiners, candidates and the wider society in which they live.

For further information please see the update from the President here.

Does this apply to all examinations?

Yes – all types and forms of examinations; written, clinical, OSCEs, cases and vivas; inter-collegiate, tri-collegiate, etc, across all Faculties and in the UK and overseas, will be postponed for the next few months.

What happens to my booking?

All bookings will be honoured. Those candidates who have had their exam postponed will have priority at the re-scheduled diet. Due to the global nature of pandemic of COVID-19 we cannot yet specify dates for these diets at this stage.

Can I book or transfer onto another examination diet?

Please do not book another examination diet. We will automatically transfer your booking to the next diet; you do not need to take any action. All current exam bookings will be honoured and your priority assured for the next diet. 

What will happen to my fee?

All examination fees paid thus far will be retained with your application and transferred without penalty - and protected from any increase - to the next available diet.

Can I cancel my booking?

If you cancel your booking, you will lose your place on the priority list. You may not receive a refund for the full amount of the fees.

Can I transfer my examination to a different location to the one I had booked previously?

At present, this is not yet possible to arrange, as we are unclear about when and where the next diets will run.

What if my transferred examination date falls outside of the permitted time to complete my examination?

The government, GMC, GDC and all the Royal Surgical Colleges are working together to ensure that any candidate who has had their exam postponed will not be disadvantaged. It is highly likely that there will be an automatic extension to a candidate’s time limit to complete their examination process.

I need to pass the examination entered to continue my training. What impact will this have on my progression?

As above - discussions with employers, regulators and agencies involved in the delivery of training regarding promotion, competency and assessment are taking place at this time to ensure no candidates are disadvantaged. Candidates are advised to discuss this further with their educational supervisor.

When will examinations re-start?

We don’t know this yet. We are definitely postponing all examination due to be held in the next few months. Firm decisions on whether those examinations scheduled from June onwards will be postponed will follow as soon as possible.

Can I still apply for examinations scheduled for later in the year now?

We very much hope that we can re-commence our examinations programme in the summer. However, we cannot take payment for examination fees until we know for certain that the exam will go ahead as scheduled. So, if you wish to book an examination place, please apply as normal via the website. You will see that the exam fee will be stated in the exam notes, but the ‘cost’ will be listed as £1. This is simply a device to enable the booking to progress and your place to be allocated. Once the exam is confirmed, you will pay the remainder of the exam fees and your application will formalised.

How will I be contacted regarding any changes?

We will contact you through your College user account on the registered email address you provided on your application.


How can I contact the College?

Rather than calling, please email us:



For any Faculty exams:


Please note:

Contacting us by email ensures we can prioritise and deal with your query or concern as efficiently as possible. Please don’t email repeatedly, as this will delay our efforts to deal with all affected candidates and to re-arrange our examinations.

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