Primary and Final FRCA examinations regulations

Published: 26/07/2019

Section 3: Examinations

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(a) The examination for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FRCA) will be in two parts. The first part will be known as the Primary FRCA examination and the second part will be known as the Final FRCA examination.

(b) There will normally be three sittings of the Primary FRCA examination and two sittings of the Final FRCA examination in each academic year. The ETE Board may at any time decide, subject to notice, to alter the number of sittings of either or both parts in any year.

(c) The subject matter of each part of the examination is specified in the relevant parts of The CCT in Anaesthetics; Annex B: Core level training, and Annex C: Intermediate level training (available on the College website).

(d)   The nature of each examination, together with details of the marking systems used and the prizes and commendations which may be awarded are described in Appendices 1, 2 and 4 of these Regulations. 5 Royal College of Anaesthetists

(e)   All FRCA examinations are conducted in English. Where a candidate’s first language is not English, an applicant’s communication and written skills in English should be equivalent to a level which a doctor could successfully pass the PLAB test or at a level of approximately 7.5/9 across all bands of the IELTS.

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Primary FRCA

The Primary FRCA examination is divided into three sections taken on two separate days subject to Regulation 5(c):

  •  a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) paper;
  • an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE); and
  • a Structured Oral Examination (SOE).

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(a) Candidates must pass the MCQ paper before they can apply to sit the OSCE and SOE.

(b) A pass in the MCQ paper will be valid for three years to the date of the sitting applied for, after which time if the whole examination has not been passed, the MCQ must be re-taken.

(c) At the first attempt the OSCE and SOE sections must be taken together. Failure to attend at both sections, will result in that attempt being recorded as fail in both sections. If one section is failed, only that section must be retaken, subject to Regulations 5(b) and (d). If both sections are failed, then they must be retaken at the same sitting.

(d) A pass in the OSCE or SOE will be valid for three years, after which time if the whole examination has not been passed, the relevant section(s) must be re-taken.

(e) Candidates will be allowed six attempts at the MCQ, OSCE and SOE, subject to remaining eligible under Regulations 13 and 15. Candidates will be required to provide evidence of additional educational training for the sixth attempt at each component. Full details are set out in Regulation 8.

(f) Under Regulation 17(b)(i) a pass in the whole Primary FRCA Examination is valid for seven years to the date of the sitting applied, for entry to the Final FRCA Examination.

(g) A pass in the Primary FRCA Examination does not automatically entitle eligibility to apply for the Final FRCA. The eligibility for the Final FRCA Examination components are listed in Section 7.

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Final FRCA

The Final FRCA Examination is divided into two sections taken on two separate days:

  • a written section consisting of: a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) paper and a Constructed Response Question (CRQ) paper; and
  • a Structured Oral Examination (SOE).

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(a) Candidates must pass the written section before they can apply to sit the SOE.

(b) A pass in the written section will be valid for three years to the date of the sitting applied for, after which time, if the whole examination has not been passed, the written section must be re-taken.

(c) Candidates will be allowed six attempts at each section subject to remaining eligible under Regulation 17. Candidates will be required to provide evidence of additional educational training for the sixth attempt at each component. Full details are set out at regulation 8.

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Additional Educational Training

In addition to remaining eligible under Regulations 13, 15 or 17 as applicable, at the sixth attempt at any component of the Primary or Final FRCA, a candidate must provide evidence of additional educational experience/training as follows:

(a) Prior to application for further attempts after the fifth attempt a candidate must: Discuss their final attempt and suitability for anaesthetic training with their college tutor or equivalent. Their college tutor or equivalent must support a further attempt in writing through the submission of the ‘Additional Educational Training form; AET Form1’ at Appendix 8. The form must be submitted to the Director of Education, Training and Examinations at least three months in advance of the date of the next intended sitting.

(i) If a candidate has not already attended a guidance interview for this component then they must attend a guidance interview in accordance with Section 11 of the Regulations, a second guidance interview can also be arranged if required.

(ii) Re-application must be made after a period of additional training which has been discussed and agreed by the college tutor or supervising anaesthetic consultant after consultation with the in-house anaesthetic training team. A full training programme is mandatory and is set out on the form as follows:

(a) Attendance/planned attendance at a recognised FRCA course either locally or nationally.

(b) Details of examination practice for the relevant component (e.g. OSCE, SOE practice, or MCQ practice etc).

(c) Evidence of modules undertaken or planned to be taken in e-Learning Anaesthesia (e-LA), if applicable to the relevant examination component since failing at the fifth attempt.

(d) Details of further clinical exposure and training as discussed with a college tutor appropriate to the relevant examination component.

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Attempts under previous Regulations

All attempts at Primary and Final examinations taken under previous regulations count in full against attempts allowed under the current Regulations.