First BM Parts I and II

Differences from 2014/15 to 2023/24

First Examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Medicine

  • 1. The First Examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Medicine shall be under the supervision of the Medical Sciences Board.

  • 2. The subjects of the First Examination shall be:

  • Part I
    • 1. Organisation of the Body

      2. Physiology and Pharmacology

      3. Biochemistry and Medical Genetics

      4. Population Health 1: Medical Sociology

  • Part II 
    • 5. Applied Physiology and Pharmacology

      6. The Nervous System

      7. Principles of Pathology

      8. Psychology for Medicine

  • 3. The syllabus of each subject shall be as prescribed from time to time by the Medical Sciences Board by regulation.

  • 4. Subjects 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 shall each be examined in three Parts: A, B, and C. In each of these subjects, a candidate must offer Parts A, B, and C at one examination, provided that a candidate who has failed at his or her first attempt to satisfy the examiners in one Part only of a subject may offer that Part alone at a subsequent examination. In each of these subjects, a candidate must pass all three Parts, or have accumulated passes in all three Parts, in order to pass in that subject. When a candidate who at the first attempt passed only one or two Part(s) of a subject subsequently passes the remaining Part(s) of that subject, the examiners shall publish his or her name as having passed in that subject.

  • 5. A candidate must offer all four subjects in Part I at one examination, provided that a candidate who has failed at his or her first attempt in any subject or subjects may offer subject 4 or any Part or Parts of subjects 1, 2, or 3 at a subsequent examination (in accordance with clause 4 above), and provided that the Medical Sciences Board may dispense candidates who have already passed a First Public Examination in any subject from the requirement to offer all four subjects at one examination. In Part I, the examiners may publish the name of a candidate as having passed one, two, three, or four subjects, and the examiners may in addition publish the name of a candidate as having passed one or two Part(s) only of any of the subjects 1, 2, or 3. In Part II, a candidate must offer all four subjects at one examination, provided that a candidate who has failed at his or her first attempt in any subject or subjects may offer subject 8 or any Part or Parts of subjects 5, 6, or 7 at a subsequent examination (in accordance with clause 4 above). In Part II, the examiners may publish the name of a candidate as having passed one, two, three, or four subjects, and the examiners may in addition publish the name of a candidate as having passed one or two Part(s) only of any of the subjects 5, 6, or 7.

  • 6. A candidate shall be deemed to have passed the First Examination if he or she has satisfied the examiners in all the subjects of Parts I and II as specified in clause 2 above.

  • 7. A candidate who has passed Part I of the First Examination shall be deemed to have passed the First Public Examination.

  • 8. No candidate shall be admitted to the examination for Part II of the First Examination without first having passed all the subjects of Part I, save in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Medical Sciences Board following application from the candidate's society.

  • 9. No candidate may offer any subject or Part of a subject in Parts I and II of the First Examination on more than two occasions, save in exceptional circumstances. A further exceptional opportunity to offer any subject or Part of a subject for Part I of the First Examination shall require application to and approval on behalf of the Education Committee of the University, in accordance with the General Regulations for the First and Second Public Examinations. A further exceptional opportunity to offer any subject or Part of a subject for Part II of the First Examination shall require application to and approval on behalf of the Educational Policy and Standards Committee of the Medical Sciences Board, according to the procedure set out in the handbook for medical students in Years 1–3.

  • 10. The examiners may award a Distinction to candidates of special merit in either Part I or Part II of the examination, provided that all examinations for all four subjects specified for that Part in clause 2 above have been offered in their entirety and passed at one examination at the first scheduled opportunity which shall be the candidate’s first attempt, except in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Board of Examiners following application from the candidate’s society.

  • 11. The examiners may award a Pass with Merit to candidates of special merit in any of the individual subjects 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, or 7, provided that all four subjects of Part I or of Part II of the examination have been offered in their entirety at one examination. The award of Pass with Merit shall be based on performance in Part B of a subject and shall be confined to candidates who have passed Parts A and C of that subject at the same sitting which shall be the first scheduled opportunity and the candidate’s first attempt, except in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Board of Examiners following application from the candidate’s society.

  • 12. No candidate shall be admitted to the First Examination unless he or she has been through the standard selection procedures for the standard medical course (including sitting the Biomedical Admissions Test—BMAT), has met the published entry requirements for admission to the standard medical course, and his or her name has been entered on the University Register of Medical Students.

    3. A candidate shall be deemed to have passed the First Examination for the degree of Bachelor of Medicine if they have satisfied the examiners in all the subjects of Parts I and II.

Part I of the First Examination

1. The subjects of Part I of the First Examination shall be:

  • Regulations1. for Part COrganisation of subjectsthe Body

  • 2. Physiology and Pharmacology

  • 3. Biochemistry and Medical Genetics

  • 4. Population Health 1: Medical Sociology

2. The syllabus of each subject shall be as prescribed from time to time by the Medical Sciences Board.

3. Subjects 1, 2, and 3, 5,shall 6,each be examined in two assessment units: Part A and 7

  • ForPart eachB. subject,Subject 4 forms a single assessment unit. The Patient and Doctor Year 1 course forms a single assessment unit. The content and assessment format of the Directorassessment ofunits Pre-Clinicalare Studiesprovided or his or her deputy will make available to the examiners evidence (in the formSchedule ofbelow. A candidate must offer all eight assessment units in Part I at one examination, provided that the Medical Sciences Board may dispense candidates who have already passed a listFirst ofPublic names,Examination signedin byany subject from the Director or his or her deputy) showing the extentrequirement to whichoffer eachall candidateeight hasassessment a satisfactory attendance recordunits at practicalone classes in that subject and the extent to which each candidate has a satisfactory record of practical work in that subjectexamination. The examiners may request practical notebooks from any candidate; such candidates will be named inthat a listcandidate posted in the foyer of the Medical Sciences Teaching Centreattend one weekor beforemore theoral day of the first examination paper. Each notebook submitted shall be accompanied by a statement signed by the candidate indicating that the notebook is the candidate’s own workexaminations.

  • The practical course for subject 2 includes the course in elementary statistics defined in the Composite Syllabus for Part I.

  • Candidates whose attendance record and/or record of practical work is unsatisfactory will normally be required by the examiners to submit to further examination. Failure to satisfy the examiners that the candidate has a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of the practical course shall result in the candidate being failed in Part C of the relevant subject of the examination.

  • Evidence of satisfactory practical work and of attendance at a practical course is normally admissible by the examiners for a period extending no longer than to the end of the academic year following the year in which the course was pursued.

  • Candidates may be required to undergo oral examination.

  • Regulations for the Patient and Doctor Course

  • 4. The Director of Pre-ClinicalPreclinical Studies or his or hertheir deputy will make available to the examiners evidence (in the form of a list of names, signed by the Director or his or her deputy) to certify that each candidate has participated satisfactorily in the Patient and Doctor Course.

    Practical work and Medical Statistics 

    5. Candidates are expected to engage fully with the course and to participate in all compulsory teaching sessions. 

    The Director of Preclinical Studies or their deputy may request practical notebooks from any candidate in order to determine the extent to which each candidate has a satisfactory record of practical work. 

    Before the end of Trinity Term, the Director of Pre-clinical Studies will notify candidates who do not have a satisfactory record of attendance for teaching sessions where attendance is compulsory, as specified in the course handbook, and/or candidates who have not reached the required standard in Medical Statistics. An unsatisfactory record, in the absence of appropriate documentary evidence, will normally result in the candidate being required to repeat a section of the course and/or to complete remedial work by a specified deadline. A candidate will not normally be allowed to progress to the second year of the course until the Director of Pre-clinical Studies is satisfied that the period of study has been repeated and/or that the remedial work has been completed. 

    Outcomes of Part I of the First Examination 

    6. The outcomes of Part I of the First Examination are as follows:

    • a) A candidate who has satisfied the Examiners in all eight assessment units will be deemed to have passed Part I of the First Examination.

    • b) A candidate who has failed one or more assessment units but has satisfied the Examiners in four or more of the seven written or computer-based assessment units (Parts A and B of subjects 1-3, and subject 4), will be deemed to have achieved a partial pass. They will be permitted one further attempt at the units they have failed. This resit attempt shall normally be taken at the next opportunity, but may be deferred once, i.e. it must be taken at one of the next two opportunities.

    • c) A candidate who has satisfied the Examiners in fewer than four of the seven written or computer-based assessment units (Parts A and B of subjects 1-3, and subject 4), will be deemed to have failed Part I of the First Examination. They will be permitted one further attempt at all seven written or computer-based assessment units. This resit attempt shall normally be taken at the next opportunity, but may be deferred once, i.e. it must be taken at one of the next two opportunities.

    7. A candidate who has passed Part I

     of the First Examination for the degree of Bachelor of Medicine shall be deemed to have passed the First Public Examination.

    8. No candidate may offer any assessment unit for Part I of the First Examination on more than two occasions, save in exceptional circumstances. A further exceptional opportunity to offer any assessment unit for Part I of the First Examination shall require application to and approval on behalf of the Education Committee of the University, in accordance with the General Regulations for the First and Second Public Examinations. If granted, this exceptional resit attempt shall normally be taken at the next opportunity, but may be deferred once, i.e. it must be taken at one of the next two opportunities.

    9. The examiners may award a Distinction to candidates of special merit in Part I of the examination, provided that all assessment units for all four subjects specified for Part I have been offered in their entirety and passed at one examination at the first scheduled opportunity which shall be the candidate’s first attempt, except in one of the following exceptional circumstances:

    • • The candidate has been given permission by the Proctors or Education Committee to split the assessment over more than one examination session.
    • • The candidate has withdrawn from taking the examination at the first scheduled opportunity, due to ill health or other reasons as detailed and evidenced in a Notice of Mitigating Circumstances.

    10. The examiners may award a Pass with Merit to candidates of special merit in any of the individual subjects 1, 2, or 3. The award of Pass with Merit shall be based on performance in Part B of a subject and shall be confined to candidates who have offered all eight assessment units of Part I of the examination at one examination, and who have passed Part A of that subject at the same sitting which shall be the first scheduled opportunity and the candidate’s first attempt, except in one of the following exceptional circumstances:

    • • The candidate has been given permission by the Proctors or Education Committee to split the assessment over more than one examination session.
    • • The candidate has withdrawn from taking the examination at the first scheduled opportunity, due to ill health or other reasons as detailed and evidenced in a Notice of Mitigating Circumstances.

    11. In line with the General Regulations for the First Public Examination, a person admitted for Part I of the first examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Medicine within three terms of the term in which they were originally due to be examined for Part I of the first examination, shall be entitled to be examined in accordance with the regulations pertaining to the original examination, if they so wish.

    In line with the General Regulations for the First Public Examination, a person admitted for Part I of the first examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Medicine four or more terms after the term in which they were originally due to be examined for Part I of the first examination shall normally be examined in accordance with the current regulations.

    Schedule for Part I

    • 1. Organisation of the Body

    • 2. Physiology and Pharmacology

    • 3. Biochemistry and Medical Genetics

    • 4. Population Health 1: Medical Sociology

    • A Composite Syllabus (Core plus Extension) for Part I will be published annually at the start of Michaelmas Term by the Medical Sciences Board. The syllabus will make appropriate reference to related issues of clinical significance. In each subject, candidates will be expected to have a general understanding of the components specified in the syllabus, including methods of study and quantitative analysis of experimental results.

    • In subjects 1, 2, and 3 two papers will be set, Paper A and Paper B. Paper A shall be no longer than 1 hour and 25 minutes in duration, and shall be a computer-based assessment of breadth of knowledge and understanding of the Core Syllabus. Paper B shall be set to examine deeper knowledge and understanding of a choice of topics included in or closely relating to the Composite Syllabus. For Subjects 1, 2, and 3, Paper B shall be two hours in duration.

    • In subject 4, one onetake-and-a-half-hourhome paperassignment will be set, assessing knowledge and understanding of the Composite Syllabus. Candidates will submit the assignment via the approved online assessment platform.

      Part II of the First Examination

      1. No candidate shall be admitted to the examination for Part II of the First Examination without first having passed all the assessment units of Part I, save in exceptional circumstances. This shall require application to and approval on behalf of the Educational Policy and Standards Committee of the Medical Sciences Board.

      2. The subjects of Part II of the First Examination shall be:

      • 5. Applied Physiology and Pharmacology

      • 6. The Nervous System

      • 7. Principles of Pathology

      • 8. Psychology for Medicine

      3. The syllabus of each subject shall be as prescribed from time to time by the Medical Sciences Board.

      4. Subjects 5, 6, and 7 shall each be examined in two assessment units: Part A and Part B. Subject 8 forms a single assessment unit. The Patient and Doctor Year 2 course forms a single assessment unit. The content and assessment format of the assessment units are provided in the Schedule below. A candidate must offer all eleven assessments in Part II

      . The examiners may request that a candidate attend one or more oral examinations.

      Regulations for the Patient and Doctor Course

      5. The Director of Preclinical Studies or his or her deputy will make available to the examiners evidence (in the form of a list of names, signed by the Director or his or her deputy) to certify that each candidate has participated satisfactorily in the Patient and Doctor Course.

      Practical work and Medical Statistics  

      6. Candidates are expected to engage fully with the course and to participate in all compulsory teaching sessions.

      The Director of Preclinical Studies or their deputy may request practical notebooks from any candidate in order to determine the extent to which each candidate has a satisfactory record of practical work. 

      Before the First BM Part II examinations, the Director of Pre-clinical Studies will notify candidates who do not have a satisfactory record of attendance for teaching sessions where attendance is compulsory, as specified in the course handbook, and/or candidates who have not reached the required standard in Medical Statistics. An unsatisfactory record, in the absence of appropriate documentary evidence, will normally result in the candidate being required to repeat a section of the course and/or to complete remedial work by a specified deadline. A candidate will not normally be allowed to progress to the third year of the course until the Director of Pre-clinical Studies is satisfied that the period of study has been repeated and/or that the remedial work has been completed. 

      Outcomes of Part II of the First Examination

      7. The outcomes of Part II of the First Examination are as follows:

      • a) A candidate who has satisfied the Examiners in all eight assessment units will be deemed to have passed Part II of the First Examination.

      • b) A candidate who has satisfied the Examiners in one or more of the eight assessment units will be deemed to have achieved a partial pass. They will be permitted one further attempt at the unit(s) they have failed. This resit attempt shall normally be taken at the next opportunity, but may be deferred once, i.e. it must be taken at one of the next two opportunities

      8. No candidate may offer any assessment unit for Part II of the First Examination on more than two occasions, save in exceptional circumstances. A further exceptional opportunity to offer any assessment unit for Part II of the First Examination shall require application to and approval on behalf of the Educational Policy and Standards Committee of the Medical Sciences Board, according to the procedure set out in the handbook for medical students in Years 1-3. If granted, this exceptional resit attempt shall normally be taken at the next opportunity, but may be deferred once, i.e. it must be taken at one of the next two opportunities.

      9. The examiners may award a Distinction to candidates of special merit in Part II of the examination, provided that all assessment units for all four subjects specified for Part II have been offered in their entirety and passed at one examination at the first scheduled opportunity which shall be the candidate’s first attempt, except in one of the following exceptional circumstances:

      • • The candidate has been given permission by the Proctors or Education Committee to split the assessment over more than one examination session.
      • • The candidate has withdrawn from taking the examination at the first scheduled opportunity, due to ill health or other reasons as detailed and evidenced in a Notice of Mitigating Circumstances.

      10. The examiners may award a Pass with Merit to candidates of special merit in any of the individual subjects 5, 6, or 7. The award of Pass with Merit shall be based on performance in Part B of a subject and shall be confined to candidates who have offered all eight assessment units of Part II of the examination at one examination, and who have passed Part A of that subject at the same sitting which shall be the first scheduled opportunity and the candidate’s first attempt, except in one of the following exceptional circumstances:

      • • The candidate has been given permission by the Proctors or Education Committee to split the assessment over more than one examination session.
      • • The candidate has withdrawn from taking the examination at the first scheduled opportunity, due to ill health or other reasons as detailed and evidenced in a Notice of Mitigating Circumstances.

      11. A person admitted for Part II of the first examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Medicine within three terms of the term in which they were originally due to be examined for Part II of the first examination, shall be entitled to be examined in accordance with the regulations pertaining to the original examination, if they so wish.

      A person admitted for Part II of the first examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Medicine four or more terms after the term in which they were originally due to be examined for Part II of the first examination shall normally be examined in accordance with the current regulations.

      Schedule for Part II

      • 5. Applied Physiology and Pharmacology

      • 6. The Nervous System

      • 7. Principles of Pathology

      • 8. Psychology for Medicine

      • A Composite Syllabus (Core plus Extension) for Part II will be published annually at the start of Michaelmas Term by the Medical Sciences Board. The syllabus will make appropriate reference to related issues of clinical significance. In each subject, candidates will be expected to have a general understanding of the components specified in the syllabus, including methods of study and quantitative analysis of experimental results.

      • In subjects 5, 6, and 7 two papers will be set, Paper A and Paper B. Paper A shall be no longer than 1 hour and 25 minutes in duration, and shall be a computer-based assessment of breadth of knowledge and understanding of the Core Syllabus. Paper B shall be set to examine deeper knowledge and understanding of a choice of topics included in or closely relating to the Composite Syllabus. For Subjects 5, 6, and 7, Paper B shall be three hours in duration.

      • In subject 8, one one-and-a-half hour paper will be set. The paper shall consist of two sections: (1) multiple-choice questions (45 minutes), assessing breadth of knowledge and understanding of the Core Syllabus; (2) essay questions (45 minutes), examining deeper knowledge and understanding of a choice of topics included in or closely related to the Composite Syllabus.