Final FRCA SOE

About the SOE

The Final FRCA Structured Oral Examination (SOE) assesses a candidate’s clinical knowledge, understanding, and decision-making abilities in clinical anaesthesia, and the applied clinical science underpinning it. It is the last component of the FRCA examination and successful candidates are awarded the Fellowship by Examination of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. 

Due to COVID-19, the Final SOE will be delivered online. More information on this delivery method is provided in taking the OSCE/SOE online - guidance

The Final SOE assesses clinical anaesthesia and is aligned to the intermediate level curriculum. At least two topics are taken from the general duties unit, at least four from the six essential units and up to one topic from optional units of the curriculum.

Structure of the Final SOE

The Final SOE comprises two parts, SOE 1 and SOE 2:

SOE 1 contains two parts, part A and B, which are taken consecutively. Each part is 26 minutes long and comprises two clinical short cases, each with a linked clinical science question. The clinical science question may come before or after the clinical short case. Candidates have 13 minutes to complete each short case and linked question. it is followed by the SOE 2.

SOE 2 comprises a two-section clinical long case followed by two clinical short cases, unrelated to the clinical long case. This SOE is 36 minutes long, with 10 minutes to view clinical material, 13 minutes for the two-section clinical long case, and 13 minutes to answer the two clinical short cases.

How it is marked

The SOE is marked by two examiners, marking independently. 

There are twelve questions in total. 2 marks are given for a pass, 1 mark for a borderline performance, and 0 marks for a fail. Each examiner can award a total of 24 marks across the 12 questions, with a maximum score of 48 marks. 

The pass mark is determined using standard setting methods approved by the GMC.

Candidates are awarded a pass or a fail. 

A quick eligibility check is set out below. You must be:

Final FRCA SOE - maximum six attempts
Registered with the GMC (UK) AND

Either:

  • currently registered as a UK trainee in Anaesthesia, or registered as a trainee in Anaesthesia with the College of Anaesthetists, Ireland OR
  • currently sponsored under the RCoA IP and employed as an anaesthetist in a NHS post for six months.  Appraisal required OR
  • currently registered with the their respective College; a former UK trainee UK or Ireland and left training no more than five years. Or Specialty/SAS grade who left training more than five years and has RA support  OR
  • currently registered with the College; a former trainee (more than five years) or a non-UK anaesthetic trainee who has been employed in a UK NHS post as an anaesthetist for 12 months.  Appraisal required, AND
Passed the Primary FRCA examination or exemption qualification and the Final Written examination AND

Awarded the Core Level Training Certificate (Not IP, former trainee (more than five years) or non-UK trainee)

Has not exceeded the maximum numbers allowed.  Will have submitted an Additional Educational Training form (AET1) at least three months prior to applying at the sixth attempt.  Paragraph 8, Appendix 8 of the Examinations Regulations refer.

The full eligibility for this exam is listed at Section 7 Paragraph 17 of the Examination Regulations.

Final FRCA SOE Examinations Calendar – August 2020 to July 2021

Application opening date

Monday, 7 September 2020

Monday, 30 November 2020

Monday, 15 March 2021

Application closing date

Friday 9 October 2020

Monday, 4  January 2020

Thursday, 29 Apr 2021

Examination date

(week commencing)

Monday, 7 December 2020 Monday, 22 February 2021 Monday, 14 June 2021

Examination fees

£580

£605

£605

Apply and pay online.                                                                                                                

The online application process will be open for each exam from 0900 on the exam opening date to 1700 on the exam closing date (see dates and fees in the section above).  Applications are not accepted outside the application window. Confirmation of exam bookings will be communicated with candidates once the booking window has closed.

COVID and Exams - prioritisation of applications for academic year 20/21

Due to reduced capacity from virtualisation of the SOE exam, section 4 of the Regulations, 'Prioritisation of Applications' will be applied, which gives priority to UK graduate trainees. Within this group, priority for the December sitting of the SOE will be given to candidates who failed the SOE in December 2019 and candidates who passed the Written exam in March 2020.  UK graduate trainees who pass the Written exam in September 2020 will be prioritised for the additional sitting of the SOE in February 2021. 
 

Reasonable adjustments: Any applicant who has a physical or mental disability, specific learning difficulty (SpLD) or on-going or fluctuating medical condition may be entitled to reasonable adjustments. When applying online, check the ‘I have a disability’ and ‘I require exam adjustment’ boxes . For more information on reasonable adjustments, please refer to the Examination Regulations.

Withdrawals: withdrawals before the closing date may receive the full fee paid. Candidates withdrawing after the closing date may be entitled to a full refund, providing the request is made within 14 days of receipt of the application. For withdrawals greater than 14 days, the refund is subject to an admin fee.  A candidate who withdraws in any other circumstance within 7 working days of an exam date, including non-issue of entry visas or failure to appear for an examination, will not be entitled to any refund of fee. Exceptional circumstances will be considered on receipt of written evidence. Fees cannot be deferred from one exam to another. 

Tax deductibility.  The College and faculties are aware that trainees who sit examinations as part of a training programme can claim tax relief on their exam fees. Whilst in a training programme trainees can also claim tax relief on membership fees.  Please visit HMRC for further information on how to claim.        

The pass/fail results for the December 2020 Final SOE exam will be released at 2pm on Thursday 17 December 2020 by email. 

The official results letter will follow by post 7-14 days after results are released to the address provided on booking. This will include a breakdown of performance on the exam. Please contact the College at exams@rcoa.ac.uk if you need to update your address.

No results will be given or confirmed by telephone.

Feedback

All candidates who pass or fail FRCA exams will receive the same feedback which will be set out on their 'results letter' this is despatched to all candidates using first class post within seven working days of the release of the pass/fail list.  A full list of the type of feedback provided for each exam component is set out in the Primary and Final FRCA examinations regulations - feedback policy.

Additionally, candidates who have been unsuccessful in the SOEs, may request examiner comments on their performance.  Examiner comments are not available for the Final Written examinations. Requests should be emailed to exams@rcoa.ac.uk

Guidance interviews

A candidate who has failed any of the following examination components more than once may request a guidance interview.  Guidance is limited to one interview per examination component.

Guidance is not provided for the Final MCQ. Candidates seeking advice on the Final MCQ should contact their college tutor.

Candidates are not required to attend guidance interviews up to the fifth attempt for each examination component but at the sixth attempt, guidance interviews are mandatory. 

Please note that no special consideration will be given in respect of refunds following guidance interviews.

Interviews are usually arranged locally but where this is not possible or if local trainers and examiners are not available, interviews can be arranged at the College.  To arrange a guidance interview, please contact the Examinations Department exams@rcoa.ac.uk.

 

Candidate resources are a consolidation of the various example questions, videos, courses and guides, any of which may guide a candidate in their preparation for the various FRCA examination components.