Further Information on Exam Changes

September 2012
With effect from 1 September 2012 the Final FRCA examination components will be open to any doctor practising
anaesthesia in the NHS

With effect from September 2011 the Primary FRCA MCQ examination will be open to any ‘anaesthetist’ in the world, in order to meet the need for applicants to have passed the Primary exam as part of the essential entry criteria to ST3.  Therefore any Anaesthetist working in the NHS will be eligible to sit the Primary FRCA examinations following the amended regulations to be introduced in August 2011. 

Council approved the following additional eligibility requirements for the Final examinations in respect of non-UK trainee applicants practising anaesthesia in the NHS:

  • Doctors working in the NHS who have never been in a UK training post must have been employed as an anaesthetist in an NHS post for at least 12 months immediately prior to the date of the exam applied for
  • Doctors working in the NHS who have never been in a UK training post must be registered with the GMC. All applicants should be registered with the College in an appropriate membership category.  Those unable to meet membership requirements should apply via Temporary Examination Eligibility
  • Doctors working as an anaesthetist in the NHS who have never been in a UK anaesthetic training post must supply at least one satisfactory appraisal from a UK hospital at a standard equivalent to that of a Deanery ARCP

September 2011
Changes to the Primary Exam

The Primary components of the FRCA will be open to any anaesthetists, rules regarding eligibility to the Final FRCA exams will not be affected by this change.

Changes to the Primary MCQ
The number of multiple true/false (MTF) questions will be reduced from 90 to 60.

  • The MTF questions will continue to comprise of three subsections:
    • Pharmacology
    • Physiology and biochemistry, and
    • Physics, clinical measurement and data interpretation
  • 30 single best answer questions (SBA) will be added to the paper
  • The SBA questions will reflect topics from all three subsections listed above
  • Mark allocation for SBAs will be four marks for each correctly answered question. The marks allocation for MTFs will remain at five marks per question

20 May 2011
Validity of a pass in the Primary MCQ
At its meeting on 20th May 2011 Council agreed that with immediate effect the validity of a pass in the Primary FRCA MCQ examination is to be extended from two years to three years and that this change to the regulations, be retrospectively applied to all Primary MCQ passes from 1st September 2009. This will ensure that all candidates who presently hold a pass in the MCQ can take advantage of the three year validity. Council made this decision for a number of reasons: The Specialty Training rules automatically allow remedial training for candidates who do not pass their Primary exams within the two year Core Training period; if a candidate passes the SOE or OSCE but fails the other component then the validity of the pass in the successful component is two years. However, to take advantage of this two year validity the candidate would have to re-sit the MCQ; the Primary examination is now open to overseas candidates who have far more limited opportunity to attend the Primary OSCE/SOE examination which, as for former trainees is only available to them on a capacity only basis (see Section 4 of the current examination regulations).

March 2011
Final Written – SAQ examination

All questions will be marked out of 20 in accordance with the marking guides for each question,these are agreed at the appropriate Standard Setting Day. The Board of Examiners will no longer award 10% of the marks for each question for clarity, judgement and the ability to prioritise. Marks will no longer be deducted for serious errors.

September 2010
Final MCQ

Guidance

  • No mandatory requirement for candidates to attend guidance interview
  • A candidate who repeatedly fails a component of the exam may request an interview
  • Interviews limited to one per examination part, i.e. Primary or Final
  • Special consideration is no longer given in respect of refunds following guidance interviews. Non request/attendance of a guidance interview do not affect eligibility towards examinations

September 2009
Primary Examination

MCQ

  • The number of attempts were limited to five. (previously unlimited)
  • The validity of a pass in the MCQ was reduced from three to two years
  • Closed marking was abolished and examination became pass/fail
  • Example SBA Questions for Primary FRCA

OSCE and/or SOE

  • Closed marking was abolished and both examinations became pass/fail
  • At the first attempt the OSCE and SOE must be taken at the same sitting. If a candidate passes either the OSCE or the SOE but fails the other component then they can re-take the failed component, without having to retake the one that was passed. If they fail both components then they must keep taking them together until they have passed either one or both
  • A pass in either the OSCE or the SOE is valid for two years

SOE only

  • SOE 1 and SOE 2 were merged into a single SOE examination conducted as two sessions, each with two examiners,the number and content of the questions are unchanged
  • The answer to each question is given a numerical score by each examiner (Fail = 0; Borderline = 1; Pass = 2)
  • Each examiner independently score every answer
  • The candidate’s overall score is the total marks awarded by all the examiners for all the questions. Maximum score 48; Pass mark 37

Final Examination
Written Examinations

  • The MCQ and Short Answer Questions (SAQ) examination marks are added together to give a single result. Both papers carry equal weight
  • The pass marks for each part of the examination are calculated in the current way
  • The pass mark for the combined examination are the sum of the pass marks of the two papers
  • The written examination became stand-alone from the SOE examination, it is pass/fail and must be passed before applying to sit the SOE
  • A pass in the written examination is valid for two years

Final SOE

  • SOE 1 and SOE 2 was merged into a single SOE examination conducted in two sessions, each with two examiners, and with the number and content of the questions unchanged
  • The answer to each question is given a numerical score by each examiner
  • Each examiner independently mark every answer
  • The candidate’s overall score is the total marks awarded by all the examiners for all the questions. Maximum score 40; Pass mark 32

October 2008
Primary OSCE

  • The pass mark for the OSCE exam became the sum of the pass marks for each of the 16 stations
  • Optical marking was introduced

September 2008
Primary and Final MCQs

Negative marking was removed from the Primary and Final FRCA MCQ Examinations.

January 2007
Primary FRCA MCQ

Became a stand-alone examination and held three times per year (September, February and June). 

 

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