The Specialist Certificate Examination (SCE) in Respiratory Medicine is a compulsory examination for all Respiratory Trainees. Most trainees consider taking the SCE during their ST5 or ST6 year. The exam is held once a year.

Passing the exam is a requirement for CCT. Once a trainee has gained their CCT in Respiratory Medicine, they will be eligible to use the post-nominal “MRCP (UK) (Resp Med)” provided that the SCE in Respiratory Medicine has been passed.

The SCE comprises two 3-hour papers, with 100 questions in each paper. There is a one-hour break between the two papers. The questions are in ‘best of five’ multiple choice format. Example questions can be found via the links below.

The exam is held at Pearson VUE (‘driving theory test’) centres across the UK. The exam is currently priced at £665; this fee is tax-deductable. The pass rate for previous diets, for UK trainees, is approximately 75%.

More information on the SCE is available from the British Thoracic Society, and MRCP(UK) including a ‘blueprint’ for the spread of questions according to subspecialty.

Advice from the BTS on preparing for the exam

  • Work hard (obviously)
  • Read the respiratory curriculum
  • Attend MDM meetings in the various specialty blocks
  • Interpret lung function tests including spirometry, flow volume loops, full pulmonary function tests, exercise physiology and arterial blood gases
  • Interpret chest radiology including chest radiography, CT scanning and PET scanning
  • Read all the Guidelines by the British Thoracic Society and guidelines from other Societies such as the European and American Thoracic Societies
  • Read the key Respiratory Journals and keep up-to-date, for example the Amercian Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Thorax, European Respiratory Journal, CHEST and many others
  • Read relevant guidelines from NICE and SIGN
  • Attend BTS Short Courses
  • In certain areas, reading books can be very helpful

Resources that trainees have found helpful include: 

Question banks

BTS e-learning modules, particularly lung cancer staging, MDR-TB

Radiology Assistant ( – very good for CT interpretation


  • Oxford Handook of Respiratory Medicine
  • Revision Notes for the Respiratory Medicine SCE (Oxford Higher Specialty Training) – 50 questions, plus brief summaries of key points for all topics
  • Oxford Specialty Handbooks in Radiology: Thoracic Imaging

(By David Lodge, Respiratory Spr – Wessex Deanery)


SCE course June 2019

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