Demonstrate the highest levels of knowledge and skill and advance your career with an IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma
The IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Cervical Cytology enables you to demonstrate the scientific and clinical knowledge that underpins the practice of cervical cytology and the practical competence required to screen, interpret and report normal and abnormal cervical cytology results. Candidates who achieve an IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Cervical Cytology will be able to:
- undertake a role that involves the independent interpretation, evaluation and reporting of cervical cytology samples
- offer expert professional advice on patient management and follow-up
- participate in the training of biomedical scientists and specialist trainee medical staff in the reporting of normal and abnormal cervical cytology samples
On achieving an IBMS in ASD in Cervical Cytology you will be eligible to upgrade to a Fellow of the IBMS.
Who can apply for Cervical Cytology
Applicants must be a Member or Fellow of the IBMS, HCPC registered and hold the NHS CSP/City & Guilds Certificate in Cervical Cytology or the equivalent BSCC/IBMS Certificate of Competence in Cytology Screening. You must also have at least seven years post-registration experience or primary screening in cervical cytology and at least three years experience of “checking” and service management within the screening programme.
as well as:
- have a single named consultant pathologist trainer who has overall responsibility for mentoring and guiding you and monitoring your progress
- undertake your training in a laboratory with UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) registration
- undertake your training in a laboratory with IBMS post-registration training approval
Cervical Cytology qualification structure
IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Cervical Cytology is a professional vocational qualification assessed by a portfolio of evidence and examination.
The portfolio of evidence provides a record of your training and should contain evidence of regular assessments of your competence in reporting cervical cytology results by your named consultant pathologist supervisor.
Your portfolio should include:
- answers to 7 questions on cervical cytology listed in the candidate guidance
- a shadow reporting log must be submitted of at least 500 cases
- evidence of the regular case review of at least 50 cases from the shadow reporting log
- a total of ten case studies
- three audits
- a record of training programmes or courses attended
- a record of the MDT meetings attended
- appropriate reflection
Once your named consultant pathologist supervisor is satisfied that your training is complete you can submit your portfolio and if that is judged to have met the standard required go on to the written and practical examinations.
Cervical Cytology assessment
The examination of an IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma in Cervical Cytology involves three assessments:
- a portfolio assessment
- a written examination
- a practical examination
You must meet 28 standards in order to pass your portfolio assessment and progress to the written and practical examinations.
Your portfolio will be independently assessed by two members of the Conjoint Examination Board.
You will be expected to answer four out of six short-answer questions in 90 minutes covering the following areas:
- service development
- clinical aspects of cervical screening
- new developments in cervical screening
- quality assurance and audit
Practical microscopy examination
You will be expected to screen 12 slides in 72 minutes with summary clinical information and prepare full reports comparable to HMR 101/5 including appropriate management with free text comments if necessary.
In this examination candidates will be expected to review 8 cases in 120 minutes consisting of slides with summary clinical information, preparing full reports and discussion on all eight cases.
Cervical Cytology key dates
ASD in Cervical Cytology - 2024 Exam Series
Updated 10 October: The following dates for the 2024 exam series are provisional. As soon as they are confirmed by the Conjoint Board this page will be updated.
Portfolio Submission Deadline: Friday 1 March 2024
Shadow Reporting (for those wanting to re-sit their exams): Friday 1 March 2024
Written Examination: (sat in your local hospital): Tuesday 7 May
Microscopy Examinations: It is likely that these will take place at NEPSEC in Wakefield in the last week of June or in the first two weeks of July. You will only be invited to the microscopy exams if you pass the written exam paper.
Portfolio Submission Information: Candidates intending to submit their portfolio in 2024 should note that the Institute will not be accepting hard copies versions of portfolio. It could be submitted either via email(s) or by providing a link to a shared folder such as, but not limited to, One Drive, We Transfer or Google Docs. The shared folder should not require the Head of Examinations to set up an account to access the information but could require a password which should be sent with the link to the shared folder. The portfolio can also be submitted by placing it on a USB stick and sending that to the IBMS marked for my attention as the Head of Examinations.
If the portfolio is being submitted via email(s) or a link to a shared folder the email address to use is email@example.com
The North of England Pathology Screening and Education Centre (NEPSEC) are running events to support those undertaking this qualification. It is not mandatory to attend these events but they will be useful for those undertaking this qualification. Details on these training events will be published on the NEPSEC website which can be found here.
Cervical Cytology fees and how to apply
To apply for the qualification in the year in which you plan to submit your portfolio for assessment you will need to submit to the IBMS Examinations Team:
- payment of £440 along with
- a completed application form
to the IBMS Examinations Team.
Fees can be paid by:
- credit or debit card payment by phone on +44 (0)207 731 0214 or
- purchase order from your hospital Trust
Once your application has been accepted you will be sent confirmation of your candidacy and a reminder of the submission deadline for your portfolio. Please note that if you withdraw from the qualification at any point a £50 administrative fee will be applied to any refund.
Training Grant Available (New Process from August 2022)
We are pleased to inform a training grant is available to employers of candidates who work in England who are undertaking the DEP in Non-Gynaecological Cytology, ASD in Cervical Cytology or ASD in Non-Gynaecological exam. From August 2022 the process has changed to a prospective one where employers can claim £1,000 per candidate once their colleagues commences the qualification. More information on the grant that is available and how and when it can be claimed can be found here.
Cervical Cytology Resources
For information about Training sessions to support those undertaking the ASD in Cervical Cytology please see they key dates section above. You can find discipline-specific reading lists to support you in completing an IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma in Cervical Cytology on our science reading page. You can find articles and online resources to support you in completing an IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma in Cervical Cytology in our resources section.
North of England Pathology Screening and Education Centre (NEPSEC)
In 2023 NEPSEC offered courses undertaking the ASD in Cervical Cytology. As soon as details are agreed on the 2024 course these will be published on this page of the website.
Position Statement on Role Requirements and Banding for Scientists undertaking Reporting within Cellular Pathology Departments
As an aid to departments wishing to utilise the opportunities offered by the scientist reporter the Institute has described in outline the expected job content, the qualifications required for each role and the appropriate Agenda for Change (or equivalent) pay grade. The position statement can be found here.
Deferrals, withdrawals and mitigating circumstances
If you wish to defer, withdraw or highlight any mitigating circumstances please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.