National Examinations

Examination Timetable

Certification Component 1 - Written

4 May 2017 - Venue: Birmingham and London

September 2017 - Venue and date: TBC

Cost of the written exam: £150

Register online now


Certification Component 2 - OSCE

11 May 2017 - Venue: RCGP assessment centre, London.

September 2017 - Venue and date: TBC

Cost of the OSCE: £250

Register online now



4 May 2017 - Venue: London

September 2017 - Venue and date: TBC

Cost of the recertification exam: £250

Register online now

Please note: as a condition to remain on the managed voluntary register, physician associates must recertify every six years. For more information, please click here.

Examination Information

Certification Component 1 – Written (AND Recertification Examination)

The written examination currently consists of 200 questions, which are Single Best Answer or Multiple Choice. Each question has a stem, most often in the form of a clinical scenario. This is followed by the lead-in question and five options. Candidates must pick one answer. There is no negative marking, so all questions should be answered.

The examination is divided into two papers, each of 100 questions. Candidates are allowed two hours per paper. There is a break between papers.

You can find the Examination Regulations here

Questions follow the current Written Examination Blueprint, as below:


Percentage Blueprint by system            GOAL % by Category          

Cardiovascular                                           12

Pulmonary                                                  12

Endocrine                                                   8

Eyes, Ears, Nose & Throat                           5

Gastrointestinal / Nutrition                        12

Urinary / Renal                                           6

Reproductive                                              7

Musculoskeletal                                          6

Neurology                                                  9

Psychiatry                                                  9

Dermatology                                              5

Haematology                                              3

Infectious Disease                                      3

Other (e.g. safeguarding/ consent/ethics)  3

The vast majority of the written examination content relates to those conditions listed in the Matrix of Core Clinical Conditions, found here.


Certification Component 2 - OSCE

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) currently consists of 14 stations. The OSCE blueprint covers the systems listed in the written blueprint and currently focuses on the following main tasks:

  • History Taking
  • Explanation/Planning
  • Examination
  • Procedures

Stations are marked by appropriately trained clinicians and PA/medical educators. The marking is domain-based and focuses on the following areas:

1.            Initial approach to the patient

2.            Take a history from a patient or carer

a.            Gather the clinical content of the history

b.           Employ good communication skills whilst gathering the history

3.            Perform thorough physical examinations

4.            Perform clinical procedures

5.            Utilise investigations

a.            Know which investigations are required

b.           Know how to interpret the findings of investigations

6.            Explain diagnoses, medications, investigation results etc. to a patient or carer

a.            Provide adequate and correct clinical content

b.           Employ good communication skills whilst providing information

c.            Ensure the patient or carer understands the information

7.            Make a diagnosis or develop an appropriate differential diagnosis

8.            Develop a management plan, which may include the appropriate use of               medications

9.            Overall rapport and professionalism


The OSCE content relates to those conditions listed in the Matrix of Core Clinical Conditions, found here, or in the List of Patient Presentations, found on pages 23-24 of the Competence and Curriculum Framework for the PA, 2012 version, found here.