Preparation: adult examination

Examination structure

The examination:

  • tests knowledge and applied knowledge only
  • is paper-based
  • is composed of 90 multiple choice questions (MCQs)
  • is 3 hours in duration
  • is delivered only in English

To see details regarding the different types of MCQs used in the examination and how to complete the your examination booklet and answer sheet, check Parts B and C of our Preparation guidebook.

Examination blueprint

The examination is designed using the consensus-based European syllabus in respiratory medicine, published in Breathe.

The questions selected for the examination are mapped to the examination blueprint. This blueprint shows all topics covered in the examination and the average percentage of questions devoted to each of these topics.

All topics are linked to one of the two dimensions (axes):

  • BP 1: Disease
  • BP 2: Medical action

Most of the questions are associated to a topic from both dimensions. As part of the examination results, you will receive a letter showing your subscores for each topic. View a sample letter.

Sources for preparation

The following ERS sources are recommended for your examination preparation. This list should serve as general guidance only. Candidates should seek other sources for up-to-date information.

The examinations strive to illustrate the current best practices in respiratory medicine. Current guidelines are therefore the basis of the questions in patient management, whether in differential diagnosis, diagnostic procedures, therapy, etc.
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ERS Self-Assessment course
This course offers a ‘real-life’ clinical focus and efficient testing method. It is a 3-hour course featuring a 1 hour exam with 30 multiple-choice questions that are selected from the ERS HERMES examination question bank and a 2 hour feedback session with an ERS expert. This course is an ideal preparation for candidates wishing to sit the HERMES examination.
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ERS Handbook of Respiratory Medicine (3rd edition)
The new ERS Handbook of Respiratory Medicine (3rd edition) offers concise summaries of each of the key areas of respiratory medicine. This reference is a key resource for the examination committee and an important tool for those preparing to take the examination in adult respiratory medicine.
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ERS Handbook: Self-Assessment in Respiratory Medicine (2nd edition)
This is an invaluable tool for any practitioner of adult respiratory medicine. The 261 multiple-choice questions cover the full breadth of the specialty, using clinical vignettes that test not only readers' knowledge but their ability to apply it in daily practice. The book is the perfect revision aid.
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ERS Summer School of adult respiratory medicine 2021
The annual ERS Summer School is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of each of the major fields of respiratory medicine. The programme is designed to challenge participants and provide a learning framework including interactive sessions and MCQ discussion sessions. The next ERS Summer School will take place in 30 June to 3 July 2021. Find out more/register

Mentorship is available for those sitting the Adult Diploma examination in respiratory medicine. Registered candidates will have the opportunity to receive guidance on taking the examination and find out more about the positive impact that taking the ERS HERMES examination can have. Candidates must register and finalise their payment by 31 May, 2021 at the latest in order to obtain a mentor.
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Do you want to become a mentor for future candidates? During exam registration, tick off the box “Become a mentor”. If you pass the European Diploma category examination, we will put you on a list of available mentors for the upcoming ERS HERMES examinations.
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Examination day

Approximately two weeks before the examination date, you will receive an invitation letter with a voucher (in pdf) via email, which enables you to enter the Congress centre and examination room. It also includes your unique seat number. A seating chart will be provided as well, so you can find your seat quickly.

You are allowed to bring only the following items into the examination room:

  • MANDATORY: Printed voucher
  • MANDATORY: Identification document (passport, national ID, driver’s license)
  • Light jacket or sweater

We ask you to leave all other personal belongings (bags, smartphones, wallets, keys, food, drinks etc.) at your accommodation, or in the main Congress cloakroom A small makeshift drop-off place will be placed near the examination room and observed by an assistant, but we cannot take responsibility for the security of these items.

Pencils, erasers and a bottle of water will be provided for each candidate on-site.

Examination schedule – 04 September, 2021
11:00 Registration desk in front of the examination room opens. It is mandatory that you sign the register at the desk before examination.
12:30 Examination hall opens.
12:55 All participants to be seated. Verbal instructions are given.
13:00 Examination begins. The examination room doors close and any late participants will not be permitted to enter.
16:00 Examination ends.

Please make sure that you are on-site by 12:30 at the latest! At 13:00 the doors of the examination room will close and no one will be allowed to enter the room.

For more details and on-site regulations, see Parts F and G of our Preparation guidebook. Please be aware that by signing the register on-site, you agree to adhere to these regulations.