The Diploma in Geriatric Medicine (DGM) is a credential that is awarded by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and was developed in collaboration with the British Geriatrics Society (BGS). It has two parts: an online written exam and a clinical exam.
Please note that the DGM comprises two examination components and is not a course. Any revision for this diploma will be self-directed by the candidate themselves.
If you are interested in becoming a DGM examiner, please visit the link to find out more.
The DGM is designed for individuals who want to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the healthcare of older people in community, primary and acute care settings. It is advised that applicants have at least two years’ post qualification experience, at least four months of which should be in a setting where they have interacted with a large number of older people. Involvement in the production and implementation of care plans for older people should form a large proportion of any previous experience gained.
Our candidate base to date includes statutory regulated professionals such as:
- Old age psychiatrists
- Doctors in training
- Physician Associates (in the managed voluntary register)
- Occupational therapists
- And other allied Health Professionals.
If you wish to enquire about your eligibility for the diploma, please visit the ‘Eligibility’ section on this webpage, or alternatively, we would be more than happy to discuss this by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our staff are available 9:00am – 5:00pm (GMT) on weekdays (Monday to Friday).
You can also find further information about the DGM on the BGS website, including testimonials and videos from candidates and examiners.
Examination fees and dates (2023 and 2024)
The knowledge-based assessment is held online once a year. The clinical examination is held twice a year, in Summer and Autumn, and is taken in-person at the RCP’s Examination Assessment Centre in Liverpool.
If a candidate fails the written exam, the following year will be their next available opportunity.
2023 – Part 2 Clinical Exam (set 2):
- Examination fee: £554
- Application period: 18 September 2023 – 1 October 2023
- Examination date: 7 – 8 November 2023 (9, 10 November may be added depending on application numbers though not guaranteed)
- Results release date: 6 December 2023 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.
2024 – Part 1 Online Written Exam:
- Examination fee: £305
- Application period: 8 January 2024 – Sunday 21 January 2024
- Examination date: 28 February 2024
- Results release date: 27 March 2024 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.
2024 – Part 2 Clinical Exam (set 1):
- Examination fee: £582
- Application period: Monday 1 April 2024 – Sunday 14 April 2024
- Examination date(s): 4 June – 5 June 2024 (further dates in the same week may be added dependent on application numbers)*
- Results release date: Wednesday 3 July 2024 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.
2024 – Part 2 Clinical Exam (set 2):
- Examination fee: £582
- Application period: 16 September 2024 – 29 September 2024
- Examination date(s): 5 November – 6 November 2024 (further dates in the same week may be added dependent on application numbers)*
- Results release date: 4 December 2024 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.
*Clinical exam dates may be changed/added or removed depending on capacity.
Candidates must first pass the written exam in order to be eligible to sit the clinical exam.
Should you have any specific date requests for your clinical exam, please notify us via the application form or email email@example.com. We will endeavour to allocate you to your preferred exam dates. However, this cannot be guaranteed in all cases. You can register your interest for updates on 2024 dates on the form at the end of the webpage.
How to apply
Candidates will be able to apply for the DGM exam components (written and clinical) via an application button that will go live on this webpage when the application period opens. The button on this webpage will take you through to an application form via our online exam provider, Orzone. In order to apply to sit the exam, you will need to create an account on Orzone.
Payment for the exam is to be completed as part of the application process. Should you subsequently be found not to be eligible for the exam, a full refund of the fees will be processed to your bank account or your original payment card.
The fee for the clinical exam must be paid in advance. Candidates will receive official confirmation of their registration and admission to the clinical exam once the fee has been received.
All statutorily regulated healthcare practitioners, currently registered and in good standing with the relevant regulator, and with no restrictions on their practice, are eligible to apply to take the DGM. Physician associates who are on the Managed Voluntary Register, which is held by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Faculty of Physician Associates, are also eligible to apply.
For applicants declaring a UK registration, the RCP assessment unit will check registration with the relevant UK regulator (GMC, NMC, or Health and Care Professions Council, for example), including a check for any restriction to practise. Applicants declaring registration on the Physician Associates Managed Voluntary Register will have this registration checked with the Faculty of Physician Associates, including a check for any restrictions to practise.
Applicants who hold registration with a regulator outside the UK will be required to get their educational supervisor or line manager to submit a reference form confirming the following regarding the applicant:
- Their regulatory body
- Their regulatory body registration number (or equivalent)
- That the applicant is in good standing in their professional practice
- A general reference detailing why they are supportive of an application from the named individual.
Wherever possible, the registration details of the applicant will be verified with the relevant regulator, and the RCP reserves the right to contact the referee directly if further information is required.
The RCP reserves the right to verify candidate’s eligibility with their awarding institution, and to refuse entry to the examination to candidates who do not meet the eligibility criteria set out above.
DGM Part 1: Online knowledge-based assessment
The knowledge-based component of the DGM (Part 1) will be delivered online as a 100-question ‘best-of-five’ assessment. Candidates will sit the assessment using a personal laptop or desktop from an appropriate venue of their choosing.
The online knowledge-based assessment takes place once a year in March. If you miss the application period, you will need to wait until the following year to take the exam. Unfortunately, we cannot take late applications once the application period has closed.
More details relating to the practicalities of the online knowledge-based assessment will be communicated to applicants after the application period has closed.
For any queries regarding the online examination, please check the ‘DGM online exam FAQs’ document in the Downloads section at the bottom of this webpage. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DGM Part 2: NEW Clinical based assessment
You must hold a confirmed pass in DGM Part 1 in order to sit the clinical exam. The Part 2 clinical examination will take place in Liverpool, UK and occurs twice per year in summer and autumn.
From November 2024, the format of the DGM clinical exam is changing, with the aim of better reflecting how healthcare of older people in primary and secondary care settings is now delivered across the four nations of the United Kingdom.
Part 2 is still a clinical assessment that takes place at the RCP’s bespoke assessment centre in Liverpool at The Spine Building. The clinical assessment comprises four newly named stations, each lasting 15 minutes:
1. Integrated Clinical Assessment 1
2. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA)
3. Ethical and legal principles in practice
4. Integrated Clinical Assessment 2
The exam will still draw from areas of the DGM syllabus, which remains unchanged.
More details about the stations here:
Station 1 and Station 4 – Integrated Clinical Assessment (ICA)
Each of the two integrated clinical assessment stations aims to assess the way in which you approach a clinical scenario in the care of older people in a cohesive and inclusive manner. Involving history-taking, examination, and communication with a patient.
Station 2 – Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA)
A CGA is a valuable tool and a core skill in the assessment of the frail older person. Within this station you will be tested on your ability to conduct and utilise a CGA (initial details of which are provided as part of the candidate instructions), as well as management of a patient with one or more common clinical syndromes.
Station 3 – Ethical and legal principles in practice
This station assesses your ability to undertake a complex conversation with a patient or a patient’s representative, drawing upon relevant ethical principles and legal frameworks to provide clinical guidance and support in a sensitive and professional manner. Legal frameworks are based upon those utilised across the four nations of the United Kingdom.
To help you understand how the DGM clinical exam is marked, sample marksheets will be available shortly to download at the bottom of the page. A candidate guidance document is available to download with more information.
Should you have any specific date requests for your clinical exam, please notify us via the application form or email email@example.com. We will endeavour to allocate you to your preferred exam dates. However, this cannot be guaranteed in all cases.
If you are an overseas doctor who fulfils our entry requirements, you are welcome to sit the examination. However, you should bear in mind that the examination will be held only in the UK and there will be questions related to health and social systems for older people in the UK, and to UK legislation relating to older people.
To help you understand how the DGM clinical exam is marked, sample marksheets are available to download at the bottom of the page.
How to prepare
In preparing for each exam, you need to allocate time for self-guided study. The documents at the bottom of the webpage include sample questions for the online knowledge-based assessment, and information about the four stations of the clinical exam. Some universities and private providers offer short courses to help you prepare for the DGM. BGS and RCP do not endorse any individual course, but we encourage you to prepare well, and to take advantage of our conferences and online resources.
More information about the various exam topics covered in the DGM exams may be found in our ‘DGM Regulations and Syllabus’ document at the bottom of this webpage.
Deciding if the DGM is the right qualification for you
If you're a member of the multidisciplinary team involved in the provision of care of older people and want to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of managing frailty and the chronic conditions experienced by older people, the DGM provides a recognised, well-regarded award.
You might be working in community, primary or secondary care, and you will have had at least two years’ post qualification experience, at least four months of which will be in a setting where you have interacted with a large number of older people. You’ll be familiar with developing care plans for older people.
What you will gain from the DGM
The DGM has been created specifically for healthcare professionals who are not specialist geriatricians to help demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the care of older people and in particular the management of frailty.
Guidance for candidates
Applicants should also be aware that a maximum of six attempts are permitted at each component of the DGM and are advised to consider this when planning their first application to the online knowledge-based assessment.
After six failed attempts, a candidate will be required to undertake additional educational experience for each resit and submit evidence of this. This evidence will need to be supported by a candidate’s educational supervisor, and the training programme director or equivalent. For more information, you can download the DGM additional attempt FAQs and form, which can be found at the bottom of this page.
Candidates must pass the online knowledge-based assessment before they sit the clinical examination.
- Candidates are not required to complete any documentation in order to receive their diploma and post-nominals. However, candidates are advised that they should inform the RCP of any changes in personal details to avoid loss or delay of the item
- Diplomas are automatically issued roughly within six to eight weeks after result release although timescales may vary
- Candidates who require a replacement diploma are advised to submit a request to the email address below. A £35 charge will apply, unless the individual is a fellow of any of the three royal colleges, in which case no charge will apply. A replacement diploma should be issued within two weeks of the fee being processed
- If you have any queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Candidates should receive a reply within three working days of receipt
- Please note diplomas will be retained by the RCP for one year from the date of issue, after which time they will be destroyed. Every effort will be made to contact candidates should their diploma be returned undelivered to the RCP. However, candidates are advised to contact the RCP if they are not in receipt of their diploma within one year of passing the DGM exam
- Any requests received for a re-print after one year will incur a charge of £35.