FAQs


Eligibility

Is this exam open to doctors who have never held an approved training programme in the UK?
From September 2011 the College will accept applications for the Primary exam from Non-UK Trainee applicants.  Please click here for further information.

Are ACCS trainees eligible?
Only ACCS trainees allocated to anaesthesia as their chosen speciality are eligible for the Primary FRCA OSCE/SOE examination. ACCS trainees allocated to Emergency Medicine or General (Internal) Medicine (Acute) are not eligible to sit this exam. Foundation Trainees are not eligible to sit this exam.

Do I need to have been in a training programme for a certain length of time?
No. There is no criterion for the amount of time you have been in a training programme.

I am no longer in a training post – can I still take the examination?
Yes, the Primary exams are open to 'any anaesthetist' subject to certain eligibility and registration requirements.

Do I need to have passed the Primary MCQ exam?
Yes. You will need to have passed the Primary MCQ examination within THREE years before the published starting date of the sitting you are applying for. A pass in the CARCSI Primary MCQ does not give exemption.

What competency based certificates do I require?
You will need to have been awarded the Initial Assessment of Competency in Anaesthesia (or overseas equivalent). With the exception that a doctor practising anaesthesia in the UK in a non-UK training post who has not been awarded the IAC, may submit a satisfactory NHS appraisal at a standard equivalent to an ARCP. if sponsored under IP has the written support of the CT.

Do I need to be registered with the College?
All Exam applicants must be registered with the College in an approved membership category (not affiliated) or through Temporary Examination Eligibility (TEE). With the exception of Irish trainees, who must be registered with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Are there any limits on the number of attempts?
Yes. You are allowed six attempts at the Primary FRCA OSCE and/or SOE examination.  An AET FORM1 must be submitted at least three months before applying for the final (sixth) attempt.


Application

Where can I find the application windows and exam dates for the Primary OSCE/SOE Examinations?
Dates of all FRCA examinations, including opening and closing dates for applications, can be found on the appropriate examinations calendar. Return to the examinations homepage, the examinations calendar link is listed on the left of the page.

If I miss the closing date is there any system for submitting a late application?
No. The closing date is final. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is delivered. For this reason we advocate that applicants allow sufficient time for delivery and if an acknowledgement is not received to check whether delivery has taken place.

If I get my application to the College by 5.00 pm on the closing date am I guaranteed a place on the exam?
No. An application means the submission of a correctly completed application form with a correctly attached fee. Therefore, if the application form is incomplete or incorrect or there is a problem with the clearance of the fee, which cannot be resolved by 5pm on the closing date, then the application will be rejected.

Where do I get an application form?
Applications are available for downloading from the website. Return to the Examinations Homepage, the application forms link is listed on the left of the page.

The next attempt will be my sixth attempt.  Where do I get an AET FORM1 from?

An AET FORM1 is available at Appendix 8 of the Primary and Final FRCA Examinations Regulations.  A word version of the form can be found on the Examinations Regulations page, related downloads.

Does my College Tutor or Supervising Consultant need to sign my form?
No.  As from June 2013 the CT or supervising consultant no longer needs to sign your application form.  However, you must have your CT/supervisong consultant's full support to sit the exam. 

I am in an approved training post, what documents do I need to include with my application?
A copy of your Initial Assessment of Competency in Anaesthesia signed as a true copy of the original by your College Tutor.

I am NOT in an approved training post what documents do I need to include with my application?

  • A certified photocopy of your current or previous registration with the GMC or Irish Medical Council (not applicable to TEE applicants and SAS Doctors).
  • A copy of your Initial Assessment of Competency in Anaesthesia or overseas equivalent. or a satisfactory NHS appriasal if not in a UK training programme but working in the UK.
  • Proof of being in a current approved training post (Irish trainees only). All documents should be photocopies and signed by a consultant as a true record of the original.

I have already sent the documents requested in a previous application. Do I have to supply them again?
Initial Assessment of Competency Certificates are recorded on the College database, so these only need to be submitted once.  Appraisals and other documentation are not recorded and therefore must be sent with each application..

How will I know that you have received my application?
On receipt of your application we will normally send an ‘acknowledgement email’ to the email address on your application form. If you have not received an acknowledgement within two weeks of dispatching your form, then you should contact the examinations department. Receipt of an acknowledgement does not necessarily mean that you have been entered into the exam. If there is a problem with your form or fee then you will be contacted by us and will not be entered into the exam until the problem has been resolved.

What are the fees for the current academic year?
You can find the current fees here.

How do I pay?
Payment should be made by cheque or postal order and made payable to 'The Royal College of Anaesthetists'. Applicants should ensure they have sufficient funds to meet the fee, if a cheque does not clear then the application will be rejected. The College does not accept payment by credit card or bank transfers for examinations.

Can I sit this exam or any FRCA exam overseas?
No. The FRCA examinations are to support the UK training programmes for anaesthetists, therefore there is no requirement to hold examinations outside the UK.

Are there any waiting lists for this exam?
Yes. There are presently three waiting lists:

  1. Former UK trainees.
  2. Trainees currently in approved training posts in the Republic of Ireland.
  3. Former trainees in the Republic of Ireland.
  4. All other eligible categories not listed above.

If you fit into any of these categories, your application will be held on the appropriate waiting list until after the closing date. Waiting list applicants will be accepted, following waiting list order, if the College has the capacity to examine them. All waiting list applicants will be informed whether they have been accepted onto the exam or not, as soon as possible after the closing date. Cheques will not be cashed until applicants have been allocated a place on the exam.

I have received an acknowledgement. Should I phone to check I have been accepted for the exam?
No. The College will book you onto the examination automatically, once your application details and fee have been verified. If there is a problem with your form or examination fee then we will contact you to resolve any issues. Please note that if issues cannot be resolved before the closing date then applications will be returned. If you are subject to waiting lists we will contact you after the closing date. 


Disability and Pregnancy

Are there any regulations for accommodating disabilities?
Yes. These are listed at Appendix 3 of the current Primary and Final FRCA Examinations Regulations. Please note there are no special arrangements for Dyslexic candidates sitting SOE or OSCE exams. All other requests for special consideration for dealing with disabilities will be considered on an individual basis. A request must include a written statement of support from your occupational health department, confirming that your difficulties warrant special examination arrangements.

I am expecting a baby around the exam date should I inform the College?
Yes. Prospective candidates should notify the Examinations Department as soon as possible of the fact of their pregnancy and the expected week of confinement. Such details should, where possible, be attached to your application form. Full details are set out in the Primary and Final FRCA Examinations Regulations.


Exam Centres and Day Preference

Where can I sit this exam?
The Primary OSCE/SOE examination is only held at the Royal College of Anaesthetists, Churchill House, 35 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4SG.

Can I indicate a preference for a particular day during the exam week?
Yes, you can tick your preferred day or list in order of preference at Section C of the application form. Please note that preferences cannot be guaranteed and the exam may not always run from Monday to Friday inclusive.

Can I change my preference day(s)?
Yes, providing you notify the College prior to the closing date. Allocations are made shortly after the closing date, and it is not possible to move candidates once candidate schedules have been made. 


Withdrawal

If I withdraw from an examination are the fees refunded?
If you withdraw from the examination before the closing date, you are entitled to a refund of the examination fee less an administrative charge. If you withdraw from the examination after the closing date, you are not entitled to any refund although a discretionary exception may be made in cases of personal illness, bereavement etc. You should write to the Examinations Manager if you fall into this category and you will require a supporting letter from your CT. Success in examinations of a sister College will not attract a refund of the fee.  Advice from examiners at guidance interviews, not to sit the forthcoming exam, does not warrant a refund.

I want to withdraw, what do I do?
You should contact the College exams department immediately. Firstly by phone then follow up in writing either by letter or email. You should keep your College Tutor informed of your decision and reasons for withdrawing.

Can I transfer my fee or defer to the next examination?
No. Each examination is managed and accounted for separately and will follow the regulations in force on the opening date. Therefore the College cannot defer applications or hold fees from other exams.

Does withdrawing from an examination count as an attempt?
No an attempt is where a candidate enters the examination building and commences documentation. Withdrawal or full absence will not count as an attempt. 


Before the Exam

Does the College provide reading lists or recommended books for the examinations?
No. We recommend that candidates discuss their reading with their College Tutor.

Does the College provide resources for candidates?
Yes.  The College provides a number of resources to assist a candidate in preparing for all exam components.  The Resources for Candidates pages give further details.  Resources include; eLA, Primary and Final master courses, example questions, various video series and The Guide to the FRCA Examination: The Primary which has examples of questions.  You can order a copy via this link by completing and returning the order form or contacting the Finance Department directly.

When will the admission documents be sent out?
As soon as possible after the closing date, please note that it will take around seven working days, due to candidate allocating and scheduling.

What identification will I need to take to the examination?
This should be in the form of a passport or photo driving licence. Hospital ID is not acceptable. Where the name on the photographic identity being used is not identical to that given on your application form, due to marriage etc, then the original marriage certificate or solicitor’s letter, as appropriate, must also be produced. The College should be informed in advance of attendance where this is the case. (020 7092 1521) 


After the Exam

When and where will the results be published?
We will let you know if you have passed or failed the Primary overall and your result in each component, from 2.00 pm on the day following your examination, a list will be published on the Results page, quoting candidate number and CRN, no names will be used. Formal result letters will be sent, by post, to all candidates within seven working days after the final day of the examination week.

If I pass the Primary FRCA exam when can I apply for the Final FRCA examinations?
UK trainees normally enter for the Final exam during years 3 or 4 of specialist training, although time in training is not part of the eligibility criteria. All applicants will need to have been awarded the Basic Level Training Certificate, SHO certificate or Irish equivalent. The Final FRCA examinations are not open to doctors 


Feedback, Recalculations, Reviews and Appeals

If I fail this exam can I get a further breakdown than the one supplied in my results letter?
Yes. On written application to the exams department, either by email, exams@rcoa.ac.uk, or in writing to the College address.

I want to make a representation/appeal with regard to the conduct of the examination. How can I do this?
The College is committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for its examinations. If you feel dissatisfied with any part of the examination process then we would like to know, so that we can review the situation and make changes where necessary. To ensure that requests for reviews or appeals are dealt with formally and consistently, you must follow the format set out in the College Representations, Reviews and Appeals Regulations.

I want the results awarded to me to be reviewed. Do the Appeal Regulations allow for this?
No. The Representations, Reviews and Appeals Regulations state that: 'No review… may be made of matters which relate solely to academic assessment.' 


Changes to the Exam

I am intending to apply for this exam at a later date. Are there any expected changes to the present FRCA Primary OSCE/SOE format and regulations?
Yes. in November 2013 the number of attempts allowed at the Primary OSCE and/or SOE will increase to six.  Conditions will apply before application for the sixth attempt. From 1st August 2014 the validity of a pass in the OSCE or SOE will be three years as part eligibility towards completing the Primary examinaiton.

I have sat the Primary OSCE/SOE before have there been any recent changes to the present exam?
Yes. In January 2008 questions on data interpretation were removed from the OSCE and introduced into the MCQ. In October 2008 the pass mark for the OSCE exam became the sum of the pass marks for each of the 16 stations. In September 2009, The OSCE and the SOE examinations stopped using closed marking and both examinations became pass/fail. At the first attempt the OSCE and SOE must be taken at the same sitting. If you pass either the OSCE or the SOE but fail the other component then you can re-take the failed component, without having to retake the one you passed. If you fail both components then you must keep taking them together until you have passed either one or both. A pass in either the OSCE or the SOE is valid for three years (from 1st August 2014).

Primary OCSE/SOE Links
Primary OSCE/SOE Home Page
Exam Structure
Dates Fees and Applications
Results Allocations and Statistics

 

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