COVID-19 and Assessments update:  May exam cancellations due to COVID-19

As the number of COVID-19 cases grows daily we have made the difficult decision to cancel the scheduled PA National Examinations, both written and OSCEs, which were due to take place in May in Liverpool. We know that at this current time the uncertainties about what will happen around exams are causing considerable anxiety. The welfare of aspiring physician associates is very important to us so we wanted to provide as much notice as possible of the decision.

These examinations were due to take place on the following dates:

  • Thursday 7 May 2020 (written)
  • Wednesday 20 May 2020
  • Thursday 21 May 2020
  • Friday 22 May 2020

We have also made the decision to extend the recertification period by two exam diets for those who were intending to sit the exam in May. As the NHS will be under considerable pressure candidates who were planning on recertifying in May will not be able to register for this examination and will instead have their recertification period extended.

We are currently in discussions with stakeholders to agree a way forward for those candidates who would have sat the May exams, and hope to provide an update shortly.

The next scheduled round of National Examinations will be held in September.

The recertification exam

The recertification exam is designed to cover all core areas of practice that a physician associate is expected to maintain knowledge in, regardless of whether they are working in a specific specialty. Medicine is forever changing and physician associates have a responsibility to keep up to date. This ensures they are fit to practise and safe for patients. 

The fee for the recertification examination is £275

Payment must be received prior to the examination.

The RCP assessment unit reserves the right to review the examination fees periodically.

Sitting the recertification examination 

In order to remain on the  Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR)  physician associates have to sit the recertification examination every six years. Physician associates have three attempts to sit and pass the recertification examination.

The first opportunity will be at the beginning of their fifth year of practice after qualifying as a physician associate and they must pass the examination before the end of their sixth year.

If any physician associate fails the recertification examination on three occasions, or does not pass the examination within the above timeframe, they will be removed from the PAMVR and their employer notified. They will then have to take the national certification examination or follow the process that the statutory regulator stipulates in order to enter onto the PAMVR.

Recertification Examination Dates 2020

Assessment PeriodApplication periodExam date periodResults released
Period 3 Monday, 29 June 2020 Sunday, 12 July 2020 Thursday, 10 September 2020 Thursday, 29 October 2020