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The MRCS examination is an intercollegiate examination run jointly with the other Colleges of Surgeons in Great Britain and Ireland.

Award of the Diploma of Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons indicates that a candidate has enhanced his or her knowledge, understanding, experience and clinical competence well beyond primary qualification level.

Intercollegiate MRCS Part A

The Intercollegiate MRCS Part A exam is designed to test the knowledge of a surgical trainee to a level which should have been achieved two to three years after qualification. The exam is intercollegiate, meaning that it is common to all Colleges (The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, The Royal College of Surgeons of England and The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland).

Exam Benefits

Pass the Intercollegiate MRCS Part A exam at RCSEd to progress onto Intercollegiate MRCS Part B (OSCE) for higher levels of specialist surgical training.

Exam Format

The Intercollegiate MRCS Part A is a five-hour multiple choice question (MCQ) exam consisting of two papers which are taken on the same day.

The papers sat at each of the Colleges at any particular sitting are identical and are held simultaneously

The exam uses single best answer MCQs and the papers cover generic surgical sciences and applied knowledge, including the core knowledge required in all nine specialities as follows:

  • Paper 1: Applied Basic Science
  • Paper 2: Principles of Surgery in General

The marks for both papers are then combined to give a total mark for Part A.

The exam consists of two papers and both are multiple choice question (M= CQ) papers where you must select whichever answer you believe to be the mos= t accurate. Overall, the exam will last five hours. The first paper will be= sat in the morning and will take three hours, and the second paper is two = hours and will be sat on the afternoon of the same day.

The exam will cover your applied knowledge of surgical practice and gene= ric surgical sciences. Paper one will cover applied basic sciences, and pap= er two will cover principles of surgery in general.

The syllabus for MRCS can be broken down into ten modules as follows:

Module 1Basic science knowledge relevant to surgical practice
Module 2Common surgical conditions
Module 3Basic surgical skills
Module 4The assessment and management of the surgical patient
Module 5Perioperative care of the surgical patient
Module 6Assessment and early treatment of the patient with trauma
Module 7Surgical care of the Paediatric patient
Module 8Management of the dying patient
Module 9Organ and tissue transplantation
Module 10Professional behavior and leadership skills

To achieve a pass in Intercollegiate MRCS Part A, the candidate will be required to demonstrate a minimum level of competence in each of the two papers. This is in addition to achieving, or exceeding, the pass mark set for the combined total mark for Part A.

Further details

Intercollegiate MRCS Part B – OSCE

The Intercollegiate MRCS Part B (OSCE) integrates basic surgical scientific knowledge and its application to clinical surgery. Its purpose is to build on the test of knowledge in Part A and assess how this is applied in clinically appropriate contexts. This is done through a series of stations reflecting elements of day-to-day clinical practice.

Membership of the College

By choosing to sit your MRCS Part B exam at RCSEd, you will be joining our membership network of approximately 25,000 professionals in over 100 countries worldwide. As well as joining a College renowned for its friendliness and approachability, the College offers a wide range of membership services to support you through every step in your career and professional development.

Exam Benefits

Pass both parts of the MRCS exam to prove that you possesses the correct knowledge, skills and attributes to complete basic training and to progress to higher levels of specialist surgical training.

Exam Format

The Intercollegiate MRCS Part B is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The exam consists of twenty stations, each lasting ten minutes. There are eighteen examining stations and two preparation stations. Candidates are given a one-minute reading time in which there are clearly defined instructions, briefly outlining the scenario and describing the task.

The stations are divided into two broad components:

  1. Applied Knowledge – consisting of anatomy, surgical pathology, applied surgical science and critical care
  2. Applied Skills – consisting of communication skills in giving and receiving information, history taking and clinical & procedural skills

Candidates must pass both the knowledge and skills components to pass Part B.

MRCS Part B Format

It is important to note, the MRCS Part B, also known as the Objective St= ructured Clinial Examination (OSCE) will normally consist of 18 examined st= ations each of 9 minutes=E2=80=99 duration. These 18 stations will be divid= ed into four broad content areas, as seen below:

Applied Knowledge
160 marks
1. Anatomy and Surgical Pathology5 Stations
2. Applied Surgical Science and Critical Care3 Stations
Applied Skills
200 marks
3. Clinical and Procedural Skills6 Stations
4. Communication Skills4 Stations

Each station is marked out of 20 marks.
In addition to the four broad content areas examined in the OSCE and lis= ted in the chartr above, there are an additional four areas that are assess= ed, which encompass Good Medical Practice of a competent surgeon. They are = as follows:
1. Clinical knowledge and its application: the clinical= knowledge specified in the syllabus; the ability to understand, synthesise= and apply knowledge in a clinical context.

2. Clinical and technical skill: the capacity to apply = sound clinical knowledge, skill and awareness to a full investigation of pr= oblems to reach a provisional diagnosisthe ability to perform ma= nual tasks related to surgery which demands manual dexterity, hand/eye coor= dination and visual/spatial awareness.

3. Communication: the ability to assimilate information= , identify what is important and convey it to others clearly using a variet= y of methods; the capacity to adjust behaviour and language (written/spoken= ) as appropriate to the needs of differing situations; the ability actively= and clearly to engage patient/carer/colleague(s) in open dialogue.

4. Professionalism: the demonstration of effective judg= ement and decision making skills; the consideration of all appropriate fact= s before reaching a decision; the capacity to make the best use of informat= ion and think beyond the obvious; being alert to symptoms and signs suggest= ing conditions that might progress or destabilise; being aware of own stren= gths/limitations and knowing when to ask for help; the ability to accommoda= te new or changing information and use it to manage a clinical problem, to = anticipate and plan in advance, to prioritise conflicting demands and build= contingencies, to demonstrate effective time management; being aware of th= e need to put patient safety first.

Further details



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