The Acute Medicine Speciality Certificate Examination (SCE)

The Acute Medicine SCE is an exam designed to test your knowledge of Acute Medicine. It is compulsory for all trainees on the Acute Medicine curriculum and optional for Acute Medicine trainees following other curricula. (Not sure what curriculum you are following? Click here.) Though some people may (incorrectly) refer to the SCE as an exit exam, you can take the exam at any stage of your training after being appointed to a substantive ST3 training post in Acute Medicine. Passing the SCE gives you the right to put MRCP (UK) (Acute Medicine) after your name. There are two papers, each consisting of 100 ‘best of five’ type questions. These may be on any subject contained within the Acute Medicine curriculum.

You are expected to display a level of knowledge equivalent to a consultant practising in Acute Medicine and this will include knowledge of relevant guidelines and scoring systems. Samples questions are available here and the MRCP website is the place to go for all the latest news about the exam, including dates, fees and how to apply. The first diet of the SCE was held on the 24th November 2010. Based SOLELY on the questions in that exam it would seem that the style and content of the questions is quite similar to MRCP Part II and that going back to your practice question books for those exams might be a good starting point.

There is, as one might expect, a skew towards more “acute” conditions that would present to the AMU and therefore we would advise focusing more on these rather than the chronic diseases which would more naturally present to a specialist outpatient clinic. In the first diet there was certainly more emphasis on poisoning and the signs and symptoms of illicit drug-use than would be expected in the average MRCP Part II paper. Another area worth focusing on would be common simple scoring systems (eg: CURB-65, ABCD2, Ranson score) so that you can calculate them and are aware of what mortality each score confers upon a patient. To further aid your revision you may also wish to refer to an excellent list of guidelines relevant to Acute Medicine compiled by Kate Akester, a Wessex Acute Medicine StR, which should help you keep up to date with the latest practice recommendations. At the current time there is only one exam sitting per year but this may increase in the future, if there is sufficient demand.