About the OSCE

The Primary FRCA Objective Structure Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a summative assessment of a candidate’s clinical and communication skills together with applied technical knowledge of anaesthetic equipment, clinical monitoring and measurement.  The OSCE is taken together with the SOE and is aligned to the core level training curriculum. 

Due to COVID-19, the Primary OSCE/SOE will be delivered online. More information on this delivery method is provided in Taking the OSCE/SOE online - guidance. Please also refer to the OSCE and Primary/Final SOE in Practique VIDEO GUIDE and the Candidate Guide for taking the Primary OSCE/SOE exam in Practique.

A successful candidate in the OSCE will have demonstrated the clinical skills and applied technical knowledge required of a competent core level anaesthetic trainee across multiple clinical scenarios.

The OSCE is the only component of the examination where the candidate is tested in a simulated clinical environment including communication with simulated patients. The OSCE complements the Primary SOE and the candidate is required to pass both parts before they can be awarded the FRCA Primary. These components, together with a portfolio of workplace-based assessments are required for a core level trainee to progress to intermediate level anaesthetic training.

In the academic year 2020-2021, the Primary FRCA OSCE will comprise fourteen exam stations in a circuit taken in a virtual environment on a platform designed specifically for online clinical exams.  Candidates must complete each station in succession. For example, if there are 14 stations, a candidate starting at station one will rotate through the circuit, finishing at station 14. Candidates are allowed time to move between stations and read the relevant online resource available for each virtual station. After one minute a bell will sound and candidates will connect to the examiner in the station, each station takes five minutes. In the virtual station,  an examiner may ask questions on a subject, a candidate may be required to interact with a patient, played by an actor.

How it is marked

Each station is marked out of 20 with the pass mark (the Angoff score) for each station/question being determined by the examiners before the examination using modified Angoff referencing. The Angoff score for each of the 14 live stations are summed to obtain the pass mark for the whole examination.

Primary OSCE SOE – maximum six attempts – component pass valid for three years
Registered with the GMC or other National Medical Council


  • Currently registered with the College as a UK trainee in Anaesthesia or ACCS or registered with the Faculty as a trainee in ICM, OR
  • An Anaesthetist who is registered with the College in a recognised membership category (not affiliated) (see Related Information) OR
  • Has previously successfully applied for Temporary Examination Eligibility (TEE) AND
Passed the Primary FRCA MCQ in the last three years

Awarded the Initial Assessment of Competence in Anaesthesia or recognised equivalent.

Has not exceeded the number of attempts allowed for each component (six).  Has submitted an Additional Educational Training form (AET1 form).  Paragraph 8, Appendix 8 of the Primary and Final FRCA examinations regulations provides full details and a copy of the AET1 form.

The full eligibility for this exam is listed at Section 6 Paragraph 15 of the Examination Regulations.


All FRCA examinations are conducted in English. Where a candidate’s first language is not English, the College recommends that an applicant’s communication and written skills in English are at least equivalent to the level at which a doctor could successfully pass the PLAB (Professional Linguistics Assessment Board) tests or at a level where they would expect to gain an average score of approximately 7.5/9 across all bands of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). However we do not require you to provide us with a certificate proving competency in English.

Primary OSCE/SOE Examinations Calendar; August 2020 to July 2021

Application opening date

23 August

25 October 2021

31 January

Application closing date

Wednesday, 29 September 

8 December 2021

16 March

Examination date
(week commencing)

Monday, 8 November 

24 January 2022

16 May

Examination fees











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.

Prioritisation of applications 2021-2022

Due to reduced capacity from the temporary virtualisation of the OSCE, section 4 of the Regulations, Prioritisation of Applications will be applied to examination bookings. Please read our prioritisation policy before booking your exam.   

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. To apply for reasonable adjustments, you should check the ‘I have a disability’ and ‘I require exam adjustment’ boxes. You must do this at the time of booking your exam. Applicants requiring reasonable adjustments should book as early as possible to ensure that there is sufficient time to put in place any specific requirements.  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. 

Results from the November 2021 Primary OSCE/SOE exam will be released by email by 2pm on Monday 22 November 2021. 

No results will be given or confirmed by telephone.


All candidates who pass or fail FRCA exams will receive the same feedback, which will be sent out with  the result letters.
Full details of the type of feedback provided for each exam component is set out in the Primary and Final FRCA examinations regulations - appendix 9 - feedback policy.

There are no mandatory requirements for candidates to attend Guidance Interviews up to the fifth attempt for each component.  At the sixth attempt candidates must have attended a Guidance Interview.

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

  • Primary OSCE/SOE

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

Interviews are arranged locally wherever possible although interviews can be arranged virtually if local trainers and examiners are not available. To arrange a guidance interview, please contact the exams office,

For a more detailed look at each individual station please visit Primary OSCE Video Resources.