Primary and Final FRCA examinations regulations

Published: 29/07/2019

Appendix 1: Structure of the Examinations

Primary FRCA Examination

There are three sections to the Primary Examination; MCQ, OSCE and SOE, questions on data interpretation may appear in any section or sub-section. All Primary questions are mapped to the Core Level Training Curriculum (Annex B). This includes ICM (Annex F). The units of training covered are set out in the examination blueprint.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

90 MCQs in three hours 60 x Multiple True/False (MTF) plus 30 x Single Best Answer (SBA) questions comprising approximately:
60 MTF questions:

  • 20 questions in pharmacology;
  • 20 questions in physiology including related biochemistry and anatomy; and
  • 20 questions in physics, clinical measurement, statistical methods and data interpretation. 30 SBA questions in any of the categories listed above.

The MCQ section must be passed before the OSCE and SOE sections can be attempted.
 

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

Up to 18 stations in approximately one hour 45 minutes (of which a maximum of 16 count towards the result) currently comprising stations covering: resuscitation, technical skills, anatomy (general procedure), history taking, physical examination, communication skills, anaesthetic equipment,  monitoring equipment, measuring equipment, anaesthetic hazards, and the interpretation of images. One or more of the stations may involve the use of a medium fidelity simulator.

Structured Oral Examination (SOE)

There are two subsections, comprising:

  • 30 minutes consisting of three questions in pharmacology and three questions in physiology and biochemistry followed by;
  • 30 minutes consisting of three questions on clinical topics including a critical incident and three questions on physics, clinical measurement, equipment and safety.

 

Final FRCA Examination

There are two sections to the Final examination; written and SOE. All Final questions are mapped to the Core Level Training Curriculum (Annex B) and the Intermediate Level Training Curriculum (Annex C). This includes annex F as an essential unit. The units of training covered are set out in the examination blueprint.

Written

There are two sub-sections to the written examination comprising:
(a) MCQ paper: 90 MCQs in three hours: 60 x Multiple True/False (MTF) plus 30 x Single Best Answer (SBA) questions in three hours, comprising approximately:
60 MTF questions:

  • 20 Advanced sciences to underpin anaesthetic practise
  • 20 General duties (essential units)
  • 17 Specialist (essential units)
  • 3 Optional units

30 SBA questions:

  • 15 General duties (essential units)
  • 15 Specialist (essential units/Optional units

(b) Consructed Response Question (CRQ) paper: 12 compulsory questions in three hours normally comprising:

  • Six questions from mandatory units: anaesthetic practice relevant to neurosurgery, neuroradiology and neuro-critical care, cardiothoracic surgery, intensive care medicine, obstetrics, paediatrics and pain medicine.
  • Six questions from the remaining part of the curriculum. This includes general duties (airway management, day surgery, critical incidents, general/urology gynaecology surgery, ENT/maxillo-facial/dental surgery, management of respiratory and cardiac arrest, non-theatre duties, orthopaedic surgery, regional anaesthesia, sedation practice, transfer medicine, trauma and stabilization practice), optional units (ophthalmic surgery, plastics and burns surgery, vascular surgery), advanced sciences (anatomy, applied clinical pharmacology, applied physiology/biochemistry, physics/clinical measurement and statistical basis of clinical trial management) and professionalism in medical practice. There will be a maximum of one question from the optional units.
Structured Oral Examination (SOE)

There are two subsections to the SOE comprising:

  • SOE1 – Clinical anaesthesia with linked applied clinical science (normally am); consisting of four clinical short cases each with linked applied clinical science questions. The sequence is normally, clinical short case 1 followed by science question 1, clinical short case 2 followed by science question 2 etc. However, in some instances the linked science question will be covered before the clinical short case (e.g. science question 1 followed by clinical short case 1 ). This SOE will be in two parts, A and B, taken consecutively, with candidates moving exam floors to sit both parts. Each part is 26 minutes in duration, comprising of two clinical short cases with linked clinical science questions, as described above, with 13 minutes devoted to each pair of questions. Followed by:
  • SOE2 – Clinical anaesthesia (normally pm); consisting of a two section clinical long case followed by two stand-alone clinical short cases taken in one sitting. This SOE is 36 minutes in duration, comprising of 10 minutes to view clinical material, 13 minutes devoted to a two section clinical long case and 13 minutes devoted to two questions on clinical anaesthesia unrelated to the clinical long case.

The SOE tests at least two topics from the general duties unit, at least four topics from four of the six essential units and may use up to one topic from optional units of the curriculum.