The Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) in rheumatology must be passed before you complete your training. Find out about what support we can offer and read our FAQs.

If you're a medical professional aspiring to specialize in rheumatology, navigating through the SCE exam is a crucial step in your journey. Our resources are designed to provide you with essential information about the exam structure, content, and preparation strategies. Whether you're gearing up to take the SCE for the first time or aiming to improve your performance, our tips and insights are tailored to help. 

Please get in touch with our Membership team on education@rheumatology.org.uk for any enquiries.
SCE Information

SCE Information

What is the rheumatology specialty certificate examination?

It’s an exam that tests the specialty rheumatology curriculum. It’s designed to ensure that specialists have sufficient knowledge of their specialty to practice safely and competently as consultants.

When should it be attempted?

The SCE needs to be passed prior to progression to CCT. The pass rate is about 80%, if performed at ST4/5. According to the Rheumatology ARCP Decision Aid 2014, it needs to be attempted at ST5 level, although some people will attempt prior to this. 

It takes place once a year, usually in June. Registration is at the beginning of March to the end of May. These dates are subject to change, so please do check the MRCP website for official dates.

What's the format?

There are two examinations which take place on the same day. They are both 'best of five' multiple choice format. They take place in specific centres around the UK. 

The questions are distributed across a variety of topics. Full information can be found in the MRCP website's blueprint document.

How can I prepare?

Study leave: Trusts are obliged to give study leave for the SCE day so long as they are given the mandatory 6-8 weeks of notice. If you have any issues with this, please speak to your training programme director.

Revision: everyone revises in different ways, but the following advice is based on feedback from previous candidates:
  • "Give yourself enough time - start early. Find somebody doing the exam at the same time as you so you have a study buddy"
  • "The most important thing revision wise is to look up the latest guidelines for BSR, EULAR and ACR, because those questions come up a lot in papers. Revise in the same way you did for MRCP"

Are there entry requirements?

No, but it’s a specialist assessment, designed to test rheumatology experience. For example, candidates in UK training posts would usually take it in their penultimate year of training.

Tips on how to prepare?

  • Plan ahead and start revision early
  • Read all the guidance on the RCP website
  • There is a blueprint available on the RCP website so you can see specifically which areas will be tested. Tailor your revision to this
  • Get as much experience as you can in rheumatology including clinical experience, attending conferences, reading journals or listening to podcasts
  • It’s also important to note that it’s a UK exam with content mapped to UK core medical training. Candidates, particularly those not currently practicing in the UK, should make sure they are up to date with UK national guidelines as part of their preparation including NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) and SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network)
  • Make sure you check out the new Rheumatology curriculum from 2022
  • Do lots of practice questions. There are some available free on the RCP website. Other options study PRN
  • Discuss with your educational supervisor booking some study leave to help prepare
  • Practice exam conditions, 3 hours is a long sit
  • Note 2024 dates; booking period 06 March-03 April 2024, date of exam 26 June 2024

BSR Resources

BSR Resources


Our member-exclusive webinar tells you lots about the SCE covering the blueprint, pass mark, topic performance, what happens on the day, how to prepare. Search 'SCE Webinar' on our elearning platform.

BSR Guidelines

Our guidelines provide a wealth of knowledge to help prepare you for the exam.

Spotlight series

These exclusive content packages are clinically focused covering key aspects of the curriculum. They can include webinars, case-based learning, podcasts, key journal articles and practice single best answer questions. This is the question format you’ll see in the SCE. They are free for all BSR members but also purchasable for non-members.

Useful BSR Podcasts


Search ‘Talking Rheumatology’ through your preferred podcast hosting service.

Suggested episodes to help with your revision include:-








Other resources

Other resources

What other resources are available to me?

We recommend:
  • Rheumatology Secrets, Sterling West
  • Study PRN – This study resource offers the opportunity to buy access to over 750 mock exam questions for £199 (gives access for 12 months). This is recommended if you want more questions to practice under the examination environment