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Exam Postponement FAQs - COVID-19

Is my examination cancelled?

Not cancelled – just postponed. Since the middle of March, there have been no examinations held by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) in the UK or internationally. We expect this to continue for the next few months, however this is subject to constant monitoring and we are working hard to re-schedule the exams for as soon as is safely possible, in line with government advice.


Why has my examination been postponed?

In light of the UK Government’s decision to place the UK in lockdown to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus, all examinations have been postponed.

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.


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.


When will examinations re-start?

All Colleges are subject to the UK government’s guidance on lockdown. No Royal Surgical College is able to guarantee that any examination will take place until restrictions are lifted and the situation becomes clearer.

Firm decisions on whether those examinations scheduled from July onwards will be postponed will follow as soon as possible. The Examinations Department is keeping this under constant review.


The lockdown restrictions are being eased in other areas of the UK before those in Scotland, will this mean examinations run by RCSEd will be further delayed?

We are working hard to reschedule all examinations for as soon as is safely possible. It is not expected that Scotland’s delayed easing of the lockdown restrictions will significantly affect the rescheduling of dates, as our examinations are held both UK wide and internationally.


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

Yes – It is our clear intention to re-commence our examinations programme in the late summer. However, we may not take full payment for examinations scheduled before September 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 in order to book your place. The fee will be stated in the exam notes, but the ‘cost’ may be listed for £1 for some examinations.  This is simply a device to enable your booking where we cannot take full payment at this time.

If you pay or have previously paid the nominal £1 fee advertised during the initial phase of COVID-19 restrictions, once the exam is confirmed we will write to you to request full payment of the remainder of the exam fees and your place will be formalised.

Examinations scheduled from September onwards can now be booked in the usual way.


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.


I was scheduled to sit an exam that was cancelled. 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 all of these diets at this stage. 


Can I book or transfer onto another examination diet?

If you are scheduled to sit a postponed examination please do not book another diet.  We will contact you to offer an automatic transfer of 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, or forthcoming diet of your choice.


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, where this is possible, yes that can be arranged, but in some cases this is not yet possible to arrange, as we are unclear about when and where the next diets will run. We will advise of possible dates and locations as soon as we are able.


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.


How can I contact the College?

Rather than calling the College, please email the college in the first instance:




For any Faculty exams:



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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