Changes to the delivery of the PA National Exam (written)


From September 2021 the PA national certification and recertification examination (written) will be delivered online through the RCP’s new online exam platform provider, Orzone. Orzone have many years of experience in delivering bespoke online medical exams and we are delighted to be able to work with them on the PA national examinations.

Online delivery means that exam candidates will not have to travel to attend the exam but will undertake the assessment virtually in their own home or an appropriate place of their choosing.  The exam will take exactly the same format as in previous years, but with the questions displayed and answered online, rather than in pencil and paper format.

Any reasonable adjustments that are required, will be accommodated within the online platform.

Please note, the PA OSCE is not affected by any of these changes.

As you would expect with an online exam there are some requirements that candidates will need to have in place before the day of the exam, to allow them to access the online platform and to complete the exam successfully. Orzone do have a well-developed support network to help with any issues before or during the exam however our advice is to start preparations early, leaving plenty of time to troubleshoot effectively.

In terms of technical requirements, Orzone recommend the following:

  • A computer or laptop running Windows 10, or a Mac running iOS 10.13 or later (2015+ devices with an up to date OS will support this software)
  • A computer or laptop with a functioning internal camera (external cameras/webcams are not recommended but can be used if absolutely necessary)
  • A computer or laptop with full administrative rights to install the required software (if you are using a work or university based computer you should check with your IT department well in advance to see if the software can be installed)
  • A computer or laptop connected to a fully working and stable internet, ideally via a wired connection
  • Any VPN connections you may be using are disabled before installation.
  • On the day of the exam you should remove any extra screens connected to the computer and close all other programs (the software will detect if any additional programs or windows are open during your exam)

The Orzone system uses a combination of live proctoring and AI monitoring to track candidate activity during the examination. We recognise that disruption is sometimes unavoidable but the AI monitoring and live proctoring is there to differentiate between the accidental and the intentional. It is therefore important that candidates chose a room to test from that is suitable and will ensure the best possible test experience. In terms of test environment, the following is recommended:

  • A room where you will not be disturbed for the duration of the examination
  • A plain background
  • No backlight or glare on your screen (from windows or lights)

Full details of the requirements can be found here: along with frequently asked questions here:

In the week leading up to the exam you will be sent all of the relevant information required to install the software and register both yourself and the computer to the Orzone online examination portal. You will also receive an individual password and access key that allows you to download and install everything that is needed for the day of the exam. We advise that you start the installation process as soon as you receive instructions so that any issues can be resolved within the installation window.

The Orzone software WILL need to be installed on your chosen PC or laptop and whichever device you install the software on MUST be the device you use on the day of the exam.

Further details and instructions regarding the online examination and the onboarding process will be provided through the application and registration process.

In the meantime if you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us. Please note that the PA National exam application window will open on Monday 28 June 2021.