Final FRCA Written examination

About the Written

The Final FRCA Written examination assesses factual knowledge and the ability to make judgements and prioritise information. It forms a gateway to the Final FRCA SOE, which assesses application of this knowledge. 

The Final FRCA written examination is delivered online with remote invigilation by our supplier, TestReach. Please refer to our detailed guidance on sitting your examination online.

The exam is mapped to the intermediate level of the UK anaesthetic training curriculum and informed by important developments in anaesthesia. It is approved by the General Medical Council for meeting the required standards of assessment for this level of training.

This exam has two parts, which are sat on different days - the Final FRCA Constructed Response Question (CRQ) examination and the Final FRCA Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) examination.

Structure of the Final Written examination

The Final FRCA CRQ 

A three hour examination with a structured format in which candidates provide a written response to 12 constructed response questions.

The CRQ examination assesses the mandatory areas of the UK training curriculum. These areas may appear as stand-alone questions or as part of a question, for example pain management within a perioperative case.

In addition to specific knowledge-based competences, examination material may be developed from guidance or recommendations published by healthcare organisations such as the RCoA, AAGBI, NCEPOD, NICE, SIGN, NPSA, CEMACH. 

CRQ questions are designed to assess a candidate's ability to think critically and prioritise information. This is assessed in the way the questions are answered and marked.

Candidates must attempt all 12 questions. 

  • Candidates should take care in the way they answer the questions. Marks for each question element are clearly stated and there is a line per question element in which to place your answer. For example, if a question element requires 5 answers, there will be 5 lines numbered from 1 to 5. You should write each answer on each line. If you need to change an answer, clearly cross it out and write the new answer on the same line. 
  • Candidates should read the question instructions carefully and only give the information that is asked. For example, where a CRQ question asks for a specific number of responses e.g. 'List 4 factors contributing to X',  only the first distinct answer per line will be awarded marks. Any additional answers on that same line will not be considered.  

The Final FRCA MCQ

The format of this examination will change in September 2023. 

From September 2023, the Final FRCA MCQ exam will comprise at least 90 Single Best Answer (SBA) questions in three hours.  Please refer to ‘planned changes to the examination’ for more information. 

The whole syllabus is tested in the Final FRCA. Those parts tested by the MCQ are detailed in the document entitled 'CCT in Anaesthetics, Annex C, Intermediate Level Training'.

Relevant key capabilities from the 2021 curriculum will also be referenced. 

MCQ questions will be divided approximately between the following categories:

The 60 SBA questions are divided into:  

  • 30 questions on the essential general duties units.
  • 30 questions on specialist topics taken from both essential and optional units.

Each SBA question has a stem or vignette, a lead in question and five plausible options.  Candidates must decide which of the five options is the correct or best answer.

The 30 MTF questions will comprise:

  • 10 questions on advanced sciences to underpin anaesthetic practice.
  • 10 questions on the essential general duties units.
  • 10 questions on specialist topics including both essential and optional units.

Each MTF question has a question stem and five options. Candidates must decide which of these options are true and which are false.

Candidates are reminded that MCQ questions may be selected from any of the curriculum codes highlighted as being tested in the Final MCQ. Candidates should refer to the 'Blueprint of the Final FRCA examination within the document 'CCT in Anaesthetics, Annex C, Intermediate Level Training'. for more information.

How it is marked   

One mark will be awarded for each correct answer in the MTF section of the paper and four marks will be awarded for each correct answer in the SBA section. Negative marking is not used. The marks for each section of the MCQ are combined to produce the total mark. With 30 MTF and 60 SBA questions, the maximum mark obtainable for the MCQ paper is 390 marks. 

The pass mark is provisionally set by examiners using a modified Angoff method. This mark is then reduced by one Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) to give the pass mark. The core group reserve the right to remove questions from the overall marks where error or ambiguity is found. Candidates will not be disadvantaged where this occurs.

A quick eligibility check is set out below. You must:

Final Written - maximum six attempts - valid  for three years
Registered with the GMC (UK)  AND
  • currently registered as a UK trainee in Anaesthesia, or registered as a trainee in Anaesthesia with the College of Anaesthetists, Ireland, OR
  • currently sponsored under the RCoA IP MTI scheme and employed as an anaesthetist in an NHS post for six months, NHS appraisal required OR
  • currently registered with the their respective College and is a former UK trainee UK or Ireland and left training no more than five years. OR Specialty/SAS grade who left training more than five years and has RA support. OR
  • currently registered with the College; is a former trainee (more than five years) or a non-UK anaesthetic trainee who has been employed in the UK NHS as an anaesthetists for at least 12 months immediately preceding the exam date applied for. NHS appraisal required. AND

To be eligible to sit the Final FRCA, candidates no longer need to be in receipt of the UK Core Level Training Certificate (CLTC) or Stage 1 certificate. Candidates must have passed the Primary FRCA examination, exempting qualification or NHS appraisal for non-UK trainee or sponsored under MTI.  AND

Has not exceeded the number of attempts allowed (six) If failed at the fifth attempt must have submitted an Additional Educational Training form (AET1) at least three months before the exam applied for.  Paragraph 8, Appendix 8 of the Examination Regulations refers.

The full eligibility for this exam is listed at Section 7 Paragraph 17 of the Examination Regulations.

Final Written Examinations Calendar; 2023 - 2024

Application opening date

Monday, 28
November 2022

Monday, 5
June 2023

Application closing date

Monday, 9
January 2023

Monday, 17 July 2023

Examination date

28 February 2023 -


Thursday, 2 March 
2023 -

12 September
2023 -


Friday, 15 September
2023 - 

Examination fees





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.

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 Final written exam sat on 28 February and the 2 March 2023 will be released by email by 5pm on Monday 17 April 2023. 

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.
A full list 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.

Candidates sitting the Final FRCA Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) exams are provided with a comprehensive breakdown of their question performance against the areas of the curriculum tested in the exam. This allows trainees and trainers to identify shortfalls of knowledge in the relevant areas of the syllabus, so that focussed preparation can be put in place prior to the next attempt. Where a pass result is achieved, it will provide trainees with important information on which to base further continuing professional development. 

Around 14 days after the publication of the pass/fail list, the chair of the CRQ exam will release a comprehensive report summarising question performance and areas of the exam not answered well by candidates.

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

  • Final CRQ
  • Final SOE

Guidance is not provided for the Final MCQ. Candidates seeking advice on the MCQ component should contact their college tutor.

Candidates are not required to attend guidance interviews up to the fifth attempt for each examination component but at the sixth attempt, guidance interviews are mandatory. 

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

Interviews are usually arranged locally but where this is not possible or if local trainers and examiners are not available, interviews can be arranged at the College.  To arrange a guidance interview, please contact the examinations department  

The MCQ paper

SBAs are used in UK undergraduate and postgraduate medical assessments, and are widely used by medical colleges, faculties and the GMC. Over the last 3 years, the MCQ examination has been  increasing the number of Single Best Answer (SBA) questions, whilst reducing the number of Multiple True False (MTF) questions. This change does not affect the exam blueprint for the MCQ and the College will continue to test the same areas of the curriculum across the exam overall.

From September 2023, papers will no longer contain MTF questions. The paper will comprise at least 90 Single Best Answer questions to be answered in 3 hours.

With the release of the examination reviews, further changes in line with the recommendations in these reports are anticipated. More information on these changes will be available from February 2023. 

Candidate resources are a consolidation of the various example questions, courses and guides, any of which may guide a candidate in their preparation for the various FRCA examination components.