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.


Recertification examination dates 2020

Assessment period

Application period

Exam date period Results released
Assessment period 3 Monday, 29 June 2020

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Thursday, 29 October 2020

The PA national recertification examination fee is £275

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


How do I register for the national recertification examination?

All candidates must register online for the physician associate recertification examination.

The application period has now closed for the January examinations.


Where are the examinations held?

The written examination is held in a number of locations across the United Kingdom. The RCP assessment unit cannot guarantee candidates will be offered their first-choice venue, but we will offer an alternative venue where applicable. 


How do I withdraw from the examination?

Requests for withdrawal from an examination should be made in writing to [email protected]


Can I defer my registration to another assessment period?

No, exam registration cannot be deferred to a later date, and payment cannot be carried over to a future exam. Candidates unable to take the exam will need to request a withdrawal from the exam, and then re-apply for the desired sitting of the exam when the appropriate application period opens. Refunds will be provided upon receipt of the appropriate medical evidence to support a candidate’s withdrawal request.


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.