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.
FRCA Primaryexaminations (FRCR Part 1)
The Primary examination is the first part of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthesia (FRCA) examination and comprises three separate summative examinations.
To achieve an overall pass in the FRCA Primary, a candidate must pass all three components.
A pass in the Primary FRCA is valid for seven years as part eligibility towards the Final FRCA examinations.
The Primary FRCA examination consists of three components:
These components form part of a variety of assessment tools designed to support anaesthetic trainees demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to meet the standard expected at completion of training.
The purpose of the Primary FRCA examinations is to assess a candidate’s competency across a range of disciplines through examinations that act in a mutually complementary way.
All Primary examination content is aligned to the core level anaesthetic training curriculum.
Questions used in each exam component are checked and verified by FRCA examiners and mapped to the relevant competencies set out in the core level curriculum.
Successful completion of all three Primary examination components is required to complete core level training and proceed to the intermediate level of the anaesthetic training curriculum.
Preparing for the FRCA Primaryexaminations
Always practice as many MCQs as you can. Reading is important but practice is essential.
There are many questions in the public domain.
Mock exams can be found on e-Learning Anaesthesia (e-LA), the FRCA guide to the Primary and there are a number of MCQs examples on the website.
Most candidates prepare well for the MCQ and practice hundreds of question.
This will help considerably to improve the chance of success.
It is important that the same meticulous preparation goes into the oral exam.
If you attend tor the day poorly prepared and with little knowledge of what is required you will not do yourself justice.
The SOEs require certain skills, practice answering questions under exam conditions allowing five minutes for each question, ensure you answer concepts in depth showing clear thinking and understanding, try and practice with tutors and educational supervisors, they will have knowledge of the process and will be able to guide you.
The earlier candidates start preparing the more confident and competent they will appear on the day
For the OSCE try to practice the key aspects of performance for each station, watch the OSCE videos and try to attend at least one full practice session of OSCE.
It is hard work and tiring to complete 16 to 18 stations in a row and prior experience of this will help.
The Primary OSCE assesses a candidate’s competence in one or more areas of clinical competence such as history taking, communication, physical examination skills across 16 – 19 exam cubicles (stations) laid out in a circuit.
Candidates complete the examination by moving from station to station.
TEE allows practising anaesthetists overseas to satisfy the membership requirement and become eligible to take the Primary FRCA examinations.
FRCA Final examinations
The FRCA Final examination comprises two exam components: the Final FRCA Written examination and the Structured Oral Examination (SOE).
Candidates must pass the Primary FRCA or have a recognised exemption before applying to the Final FRCA.
Candidates must pass the written component before applying for the Final SOE. The written component is valid for three years during which time candidates can prepare for the SOE.
Final examinations are aligned to the core and intermediate levels of the UK anaesthetic training curriculum.
The questions used in the examinations are tagged to the FRCA Primary and Final examinations syllabuses.
Passing the Final examination allows candidates to progress to high level training.
Successful completion means that candidates become Fellows of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and can use the letters FRCA after their name.
Preparing for the FRCA Final exams
Candidates who have prepared thoroughly and have adequate experience of anaesthesia, intensive care medicine and pain management, together with a solid knowledge of basic sciences, will have the best chance of performing well.
Most of the questions relate to subject areas covered in the intermediate curriculum, however, candidates are reminded that the Final exam may also include questions related to the core level curriculum (including basic sciences) and professionalism in medical practice.
Therefore, candidates will need a broad knowledge of the core and intermediate level curriculums to pass the examination.
Candidates are also expected to be familiar with recent important reports and guidelines.
On successful completion of the Structured Oral Examination (SOE), candidates are awarded the fellowship by examination of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and may use the letters FRCA after their name.