Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists

The FRCA examinations are an integral part of the College's programme of assessments.

The FRCA examinations test the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes as defined by the anaesthetic training curriculum.

Our examinations remain internationally recognised for their fairness and high standards. They have evolved to reflect contemporary best educational and assessment practice and developments in anaesthesia, intensive care and pain medicine.

Prioritisation of Applications for clinical examinations during academic year 20/21 

Updated 04 February 2021

We will endeavour to examine as many candidates as possible during academic year 20/21, however, we now have reduced capacity when delivering the clinical examinations online this year.  This means that eligibility criteria will be applied to all FRCA examinations for a temporary period to support those in most need of an examination place - please refer to the examination regulations prioritisation of applications for details of the policy.  The College has also made derogations to the training programme and amendments to the ST3 person specification to support progression, details of the statements/information can be found at:

Curriculum derogations - https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/training-careers/training-anaesthesia/training-news/anaesthetic-training-update  

ST3 person spec changes - https://anro.wm.hee.nhs.uk/st3

We are taking steps to increase the number of exam places available.  For example, an additional week (limited spaces only) was added to the Primary OSCE/SOE in November 2020 and January 2021, and an additional diet of Final SOE is scheduled in February 2021. We are very grateful to our examiners for volunteering for these additional sessions, which will help us to increase the numbers of candidates we can assess within the year, and reduce interruption to training or career progression. 

If you feel you have exceptional circumstances that would prioritise you for a place on a certain exam diet, please submit a letter of support from your Head of School.  Applicants who are not in training can gain this support from their Regional Adviser, which can be accessed directly via a College Tutor or via your supervisor responsible for the management of your training. Supporting letters detailing your circumstances must be supplied at the time of booking. All submissions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are not offered a place on an exam diet you applied for, please contact your College Tutor who will be available to answer any questions you may have, and who will provide you with the required support going forward.

Before applying, please do ensure that you are able to sit the examination. Late withdrawals from the examination mean that other candidates may miss out on a place because we cannot book them on at short notice.  We recognise that some circumstances may be outside of your control. 

New guidance on number of attempts at FRCA and FFICM examinations (applicable from August 2020)

In accordance with General Medical Council guidelines on managing examinations during the pandemic, any candidate’s first sitting of an examination in a new online format (online written with remote proctoring or online face-to-face clinical) will not have that attempt counted towards the overall total six attempts if they do not receive a pass.

This temporary change applies to all FRCA and FFICM examinations between August 2020 and 31 July 2021.


  • if a candidate fails the first attempt of an online proctored MCQ exam, the attempt will not be counted. Subsequent sittings of the same exam will then count towards the total overall number of attempts.
  • if a candidate sits the online face-to-face Primary OSCE and SOE and fails one component, the passed component will be held and the failed component will not count as an attempt. Any subsequent resit will count as an attempt.

The FRCA examinations

The FRCA examinations provide anaesthetists in training with the opportunity to demonstrate the required outcomes of the curriculum and determine satisfactory progression at each critical progression point within their training programme. The FRCA examinations are also open to anaesthetic doctors who are not in an approved training programme (conditions apply).

As an exams candidate, you will sit the FRCA in two parts:

Each examination tests different outcomes and competencies using validated assessment methods to test a broad-spectrum of knowledge, understanding, skills, behaviours and attitudes. The exams are approved by the General Medical Council (GMC) for UK postgraduate medical training and follow the UK curricula and guidelines.

On successful completion of both Primary and Final FRCA examinations, you would become a fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists by examination and can use the letters FRCA after your name.

Fellowship is also a valued professional distinction for the many international students who come to the UK to sit the FRCA exams.