In October 1987, the new Part I of the MRCPsych examination was introduced. One aim of the College in changing the Preliminary Test, which had been introduced in 1971, was to create a more appropriate screening procedure so that those who are unsuited to psychiatry can receive career advice at an early stage in their career. To this end there has been a shift in emphasis away from the basic sciences towards clinical psychiatry. The major change in format of the examination is the removal of the essay paper and the introduction of a clinical examination. In order to qualify to enter for the new Part I examination, candidates have to submit sponsor forms signed by a consultant for whom they have worked and by their clinical tutor. The sponsors are asked to certify that the candidate has been able to attend an appropriate course of instruction and has received training in interview skills.