Basic Pathological Sciences

The BPS Examination and its preparation is a worthy endeavour for any medical student or doctor. Candidates undertaking this examination will find an improved understanding and appreciation for the practice of pathology and the pathological causes of disease. Pathology touches all medical specialties, and solid knowledge in this area produces a well-rounded health practitioner, no matter your chosen career. Medicine is Pathology. 

What is the Basic Pathological Sciences (BPS) examination?

The Basic Pathological Sciences (BPS) examination is a 2.5-hour paper of 100 multiple-choice questions.The syllabus is primarily based on the first 11 chapters of Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, by Vinay Kumar, Abul K. Abbas, Jon C. Aster, 10th edition. Additionally, the syllabus contains up-to-date references which supplement the material in the text and are examinable.

Why is the Basic Pathological Sciences (BPS) examination important?

The exam ensures that all doctors undertaking the RCPA training program can demonstrate at an early stage of training that they have an adequate foundation knowledge to equip them for specific training in their chosen discipline.

The examination is not an entry requirement for the RCPA training program, nor a prerequisite for sitting the Part I examination. However, a pass (or exemption) in this examination must be achieved before proceeding to the RCPA’s discipline specific Part II examinations. The RCPA recommends candidates take the BPS examination as early as possible in training. Reasonable core knowledge in pathology is essential for a successful start in the training program and satisfactory progress.

Why sit the BPS Exam as a doctor, dentist, or student?

The BPS exam is open to registered RCPA Trainees, prevocational doctors and medical students. The exam is also available to dentists and dental students wishing to improve and solidify their pathology knowledge. Taking the BPS exam will:

  • Demonstrate the prospective Trainee has committed to a career in pathology.
  • Help doctors and students revise, reinforce, and build upon core pathology knowledge no matter their chosen specialty.
  • Be a note-worthy and valuable addition to any CV, indicating an interest and achievement in pathological sciences.

Students can take the examination for a substantially reduced fee.

Past BPS exam candidates have spoken of how preparation and sitting the exam has assisted in expanding their knowledge and confidence around the subject of basic pathology. Even candidates who do not go on to train with the RCPA comment on its value.

Honestly the most fair exam I've had the pleasure of sitting. Highly rewarding, thank you for the experience – 2021 BPS exam candidate.

A very well organised exam with clear and concise syllabus. Questions were fair and seemed to reflect the degree of knowledge required. Studying was a great refresher of old topics and a lot of new learning involved as well – 2021 BPS exam candidate.

When can I sit the examination?

The RCPA holds the BPS exam annually, usually in the first half of each year. The exam can be taken locally so there is no need for interstate travel.

For more information and to apply



BPS Registration and Information

Information on the BPS Exam including application forms and list of candidates' venues and times.

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BPS Resources

A collection of BPS Resources to support studying for the BPS exam.

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BPS Online Mock Exam

Information on BPS Online Mock Exam including costs, times and registration details.

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BPS Webinar

Information on the BPS Webinar

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