The Savvy IMG

Can IMGs take UK specialty exams?

Table of Contents

What if my internship experience is rejected by the GMC

I get asked lots of questions on Facebook from IMGs, each week I’ll be sharing one of these questions or a theme of questions with my answers. If you have any advice you want to add for doctors with similar questions, please comment below!

1. I completed my residency in “insert specialty” in “insert country”, can I take the specialty exams there in the UK?

2. I’ve taken the UK specialty exam for “x”, can I skip core training and apply directly for specialty training?

3. Can I apply directly for a Consultant post without doing specialty training if I pass all the exams?

The answer to question number 1 is yes and no.

Yes you will be able to take the exam, but it may not achieve the results you are thinking of. Passing the exams does not mean that you are recognised as a Consultant.

A Consultant in the UK is a doctor on the GMC Specialist Register. To be accepted on the register it’s not just about passing exams. You need a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) or equivalent which is only awarded after demonstrating all the competences of that specialty. This is typically achieved by completing a training programme but there is an alternative route which can also be used. 

In the majority of cases you will have to repeat part or all of your training here if you want to reach and practice at Consultant level in the UK.

This should now help you to understand the answer to questions 2 & 3.

Again these questions demonstrate the assumption that passing exams equates to completion of training. This is probably because in some countries, like the Philippines, you can’t sit for diplomate exams until you have completed residency or specialty training. That’s not the case in the UK.

Trainees here can take the exams before completion of training but they still have to finish the programme in order to demonstrate achievement of all the competences. Passing exams will not allow you to “skip” any part of training. 

I hope that gives a full answer to the question about taking specialty exams here. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!

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Meet the Team

Hi, we’re Drs Nick & Kimberly Tan, the two IMGs behind The Savvy IMG. We write comprehensive guides, create courses, and provide one-to-one guidance to help other overseas qualified doctors on their journey to the UK.
We have scoured the official guidance to put these posts together, but we can make mistakes! If you spot anything that is incorrect, please get in touch and we’ll put it right.
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