Final FRCA Written

Final FRCA Written – next sitting

Countdown to closing date for applications:
Closing date: 
15 January 2019, 17:00

Next exam date: 12 March 2019

Future dates: 

The Final Written examination is a stand-alone exam, applied for separately from the Final SOE examination. The aim of the MCQ is to test factual knowledge. The SAQ aims to test higher thinking including judgement, ability to prioritise and summarise, and capability to present an argument clearly and succinctly in writing.


Online application and payment for examinations
We are now able to accept online bookings for FRCA exams; to do so, simply click here, register, and follow the instructions. 


Please be aware that your eligibility is based on information that you must provide to the college in advance of an applicationand so, if we have not received copies of certain documents you will be unable to complete an online application.  These documents include: Initial Assessments of Competency (IACs) and Core Level Training Certificates (CLTCs) or their equivalents, such as MTI supervisor’s reports, NHS appraisals or ICM Stage 1 certificates.  The documents that should be submitted in advance are outlined in the exam regulations.

If you need to submit your certificates, or have any other query, then please don’t hesitate to contact us on

For further information about on-line applications please visit the FAQ page

Structure of the Final Written

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
90 MCQ Examinations (60 x Multiple True False and 30 Single Best Answers in three hours)

Short Answer Questions (SAQs)
12 compulsory questions in three hours normally comprising of:

  • 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 curriculumThis 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.

When and where

  • The Written exam is held twice a year in September and March
  • The SAQ paper normally runs from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and the MCQ from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm.
  • The exam is held at a number of venues across the UK.  Currently; London, Birmingham, Manchesther, Sheffield,
    Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Number of attempts
A maximum of six attempts, you must submit an AET FORM1 at least three months before the sixth attempt.

A pass in the Final Written is valid for three years measured to the published start date of the examination being applied for.

Results and Statistics

Details of results and statistics for all FRCA exams can be found here.

Guidance for unsuccessful candidates
Guidance interviews are offered after more than one failure on request.

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

Final Written - maximum six attempts - pass valid  three years
Registered with the GMC (UK)  AND
  • 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 an NHS post for six months, NHS appraisal required OR
  • Currently registered with the their respective College and is 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; is a former trainee (more than five years) or a non-UK anaesthetic trainee who has been employed in the UK NHS as an anaesthetists for at least 12 months. NHS appraisal required. AND
Have passed the Primary FRCA examination  or exemption qualification within last seven years  AND
Have been awarded the Core Level Training Certificate (Not IP, former trainee (more than five years) or non-UK trainee)

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

The Chairman of the SAQ Core Group releases a report of the SAQ exam around two months after the exam date, see related links below for the latest report. Further reports and SAQ papers can be found on the examination Publications page.

FRCA Final Witten Candidate Advice
Advice on how to complete both the MCQ and SAQ sections of the FRCA Final written can now be found in the related downloads section below.

FRCA SAQ Example Questions
Example questions are available below, see related downloads.

FRCA Short Answer Example Questions
Example quetsions are available below, see related downloads

Changes to the Final Written

From September 2019 the College will introduce Constructed Response Questions (CRQs) to replace SAQs.  The first exam using CRQs will be September 2019, where the exam paper will consist of 6 x CRQs and 6 x SAQs.  CRQs have been tested using pilot exams which were run at the January and July 2018 Final FRCA master courses.  The Chair's report along with the questions/answers used are available on related downloads below.

Related downloads: