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Examination Committee

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1538 RCOG/B1
Held at: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Full title: Examination Committee
Date(s): 1929-2006
Level of description: fonds
Extent: 16 boxes, 14 volumes, 3 bundles
Name of creator(s): Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Examination Committee was established by Council in 1929 as a standing committee of the College. Its first chairman was Dr T Watts Eden and its members comprised representatives from Scotland, Ireland and the provinces, with the College president, treasurer and two honorary secretaries as ex-officio members. The Committee's function was to select candidates for Membership through an examination of applications and qualifications. Examinations were carried out by a panel selected by the Committee.

The Committee drafted the regulations for the Diploma and Membership examinations. The first membership (MRCOG) examination was held in the Summer of 1930 (see B1M/1 p.12); from this time it has been held twice yearly. The Membership examination is designed for doctors who wished to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology. In 1931 the Committee first agreed a fee should be levied on those taking the examination, although there was much wrangling over this issue. There was no formal decision to make candidates take a written examination, rather the process evolved from the initial examinations process of considering a candidates case history and qualifications. As the examination regulations evolved, the examination process became more analogous and less subjective. In 1970 it was decided to split the examination into two parts, known as the MRCOG Parts I and II (B1M/10 meeting C383); the first Part I examination was held in September 1970 and the first Part II examination the following year. The first Diploma in Obstetrics examination (DRCOG) was held on 2 March 1934 (ref: B1/3/2), primarily this examination has been intended for general practioners (GPs) who wish to include obstetrics and gynaecology as part of their service to patients. Organisation and administration of the examinations became the responsibility of the College's Examination Department.

Inspection and recognition (or otherwise) of hospitals was a regular part of the Committee's work from 1935 until 1944, when the Hospital Recognition Sub-committee was established. In 1947 this committee was recognised as a separate standing committee (see B4), removing the hospital recognition function from the Examination Committee. The process of managing the MRCOG and the DRCOG led to the establishment of the following sub-committees of the Examination Committee, to deal with specific issues:
1) Assessment
3) Part 1 MRCOG
4) Part 2 MRCOG EMQ's
5) Part 2 MRCOG essays
6) Part 2 MRCOG MCQ's
7) Part 2 MRCOG oral

By 2008 the functions of the Committee were listed as:
1) Responsible for establishing the content and recommending to the Education Board the format of College examinations.
2) Responsible for setting, marking and reviewing questions and question papers.
3) Ensuring the standard, validity and fairness of examinations and producing appropriate pass lists.
4) Overseeing the function of the Examination Department, including communication with candidates, the logistics of preparing for examinations and communications with overseas centres.
5) Recommending to the Education Board suitable individuals to become DRCOG and MRCOG examiners and suggesting suitable Members and Fellows to be Members of the various Sub-Committees of the Examination and Assessment Committee.
6) On a regular basis, reviewing relevant overseas examinations, in particular those where successful candidates gain exemption from the Part 1 MRCOG. Giving advice and help to overseas examinations and, from time to time, making recommendations with regard to suitable College representatives to be external examiners for these examinations.
7) Joint responsibility for the RCOG/London School of Tropical Medicine Diploma in Reproductive Health in Developing Countries.
8) Responsible for the examination for the Advanced Training Programme in Obstetric Ultrasound organised by the Standing Joint Committee of the RCOG/Royal College of Radiologists.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Examination Committee, 1929-2006, comprising committee minute books (1929-1988); correspondence, agenda, minutes and papers (1929-1996); examination regulations for Members and Diplomates, regulations for the admission of Fellows (1942-2001); blank and completed samples of log books for the MRCOG examination (1982-2002); samples of case notes and commentaries submitted for the MRCOG examination dating between 1940-1954; sample examination papers for the DRCOG dating between 1937-2001; sample examination papers for the MRCOG (2006); examination results for the MRCOG and DRCOG (1934-1949); assessors' reports on examinations (1943-1950); attendance book for the examiners of the diploma in obstetrics dining club (1960-1961).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As set out above in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Open, although restrictions apply for items containing personal information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

DRCOG:The College Archives holds a card index to DRCOG passes from the 1940s to late 1998. The Head of the Examination Department also has an index to DRCOG passes and failures dating back to the 1940s. A database of DRCOG holders from 1990 is maintained by the Administration Department.

MRCOG: A database of MRCOG holders is maintained by the Membership Services Department. The database does not include Fellows or Members who died before 1990. The College Archives holds card indexes of deceased and living MRCOG holders between 1929 and 1998. The indexes note the date of admission to the FRCOG or MRCOG. A bi-annual Register of Fellows and Members (living only) is compiled by the Administration Department; copies are transferred regularly to the Archives and will be found at A12/1-3.

ODTS (overseas doctors' training scheme): A database of overseas doctors who have applied to sit the MRCOG is maintained by the ODTS Administrator. Once the doctors pass the MRCOG their names are removed from this database and added to the MRCOG database maintained by the Membership Services Department, with an annotation to indicate that they are overseas doctors.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Several early catalogues were not transferred and are no longer extant.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The majority of records relating to examinations are transferred to the Archives by the Examination Department. MRCOG pass files are transferred by the Membership Services Department. Some individual items have been transferred from other departments e.g. the President's Office, the College Bookshop, the Committee Secretary.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Imported from the RCOG catalogue and edited by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Import: Oct 2008; edit: Feb 2009.

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