Primary FRCA OSCE

About the OSCE

The Primary FRCA Objective Structure Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a summative assessment of a candidate’s clinical and communication skills together with applied technical knowledge of anaesthetic equipment, clinical monitoring and measurement.  The OSCE is taken together with the SOE and is aligned to the core level training curriculum. 

Due to COVID-19, the Primary OSCE will be delivered online. More information on this delivery method is provided in taking the OSCE/SOE online - guidance

A successful candidate in the OSCE will have demonstrated the clinical skills and applied technical knowledge required of a competent core level anaesthetic trainee across multiple clinical scenarios.

The OSCE is the only component of the examination where the candidate is tested in a simulated clinical environment including communication with simulated patients. The OSCE complements the Primary SOE and the candidate is required to pass both parts before they can be awarded the FRCA Primary. These components, together with a portfolio of workplace-based assessments are required for a core level trainee to progress to intermediate level anaesthetic training.

In the academic year 2020-2021, the Primary FRCA OSCE will comprise fourteen exam stations in a circuit taken in a virtual environment on a platform designed specifically for online clinical exams.  Candidates must complete each station in succession. For example, if there are 14 stations, a candidate starting at station one will rotate through the circuit, finishing at station 14. Candidates are allowed time to move between stations and read the relevant online resource available for each virtual station. After one minute a bell will sound and candidates will connect to the examiner in the station, each station takes five minutes. In the virtual station,  an examiner may ask questions on a subject, a candidate may be required to interact with a patient, played by an actor.

How it is marked

Each station is marked out of 20 with the pass mark (the Angoff score) for each station/question being determined by the examiners before the examination using modified Angoff referencing. The Angoff score for each of the 14 live stations are summed to obtain the pass mark for the whole examination.

Further information on the types of question scenarios that are used in an OSCE circuit are set out on the interactive diagram below.

Primary OSCE SOE – maximum six attempts – component pass valid for three years
Registered with the GMC or other National Medical Council

Either:

  • Currently registered with the College as a UK trainee in Anaesthesia or ACCS or registered with the Faculty as a trainee in ICM, OR
  • An Anaesthetist who is registered with the College in a recognised membership category (not affiliated) (see Related Information) OR
  • Has previously successfully applied for Temporary Examination Eligibility (TEE) AND
Passed the Primary FRCA MCQ in the last three years

Awarded the Initial Assessment of Competence in Anaesthesia or recognised equivalent.

Has not exceeded the number of attempts allowed for each component (six).  Has submitted an Additional Educational Training form (AET1 form).  Paragraph 8, Appendix 8 of the Primary and Final FRCA examinations regulations provides full details and a copy of the AET1 form.

The full eligibility for this exam is listed at Section 6 Paragraph 15 of the Examination Regulations.

Language

All FRCA examinations are conducted in English. Where a candidate’s first language is not English, the College recommends that an applicant’s communication and written skills in English are at least equivalent to the level at which a doctor could successfully pass the PLAB (Professional Linguistics Assessment Board) tests or at a level where they would expect to gain an average score of approximately 7.5/9 across all bands of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). However we do not require you to provide us with a certificate proving competency in English.

Primary OSCE/SOE Examinations Calendar; August 2020 to July 2021

Application opening date

Friday, 28 August 2020

Monday, 19 October 2020

Monday, 1 February 2021

Application closing date

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Thursday, 7 December 2020

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Examination date
(week commencing)

Monday, 2 November 2020

Monday, 25 January 2021

Monday, 17 May 2021

Examination fees

Both
OSCE
SOE

 

 

£615
£335
£305

 

 

£645
£350

£320

 

£645
£350

£320

Apply and pay online.                                                                                                

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. Confirmation of exam bookings will be communicated with candidates once the booking window has closed.

COVID and Exams - prioritisation of applications for academic year 20/21

Due to reduced capacity from virtualisation of the OSCE and SOE exams, section 4 of the Regulations, 'Prioritisation of Applications' will be applied, which gives priority to UK graduate trainees. Within this group, priority for the November sitting of the OSCE/SOE will be given to candidates who failed the OSCE/SOE in January 2020 and candidates who passed the MCQ exam in March 2020.  UK graduate trainees who pass the MCQ exam in August 2020 will be prioritised for the OSCE/SOE sitting in January 2021. 

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. When applying online, check the ‘I have a disability’ and ‘I require exam adjustment’ boxes . 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. 

The pass/fail results for the November 2020 Primary OSCE/SOE exam will be released at 2pm on Friday 27 November 2020 by email. 

The official results letter will follow by post 7-14 days after results are released to the address provided on booking. This will include a breakdown of performance on the exam. Please contact the College at exams@rcoa.ac.uk if you need to update your address.                                

No results will be given or confirmed by telephone.

Feedback

All candidates who pass or fail FRCA exams will receive the same feedback, which will be set out on their results letter and dispatched to all candidates by post within seven to fourteen days of the release of the pass/fail email. Full details 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.
 

Guidance
There are no mandatory requirements for candidates to attend Guidance Interviews up to the fifth attempt for each component.  At the sixth attempt candidates must have attended a Guidance Interview.

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

  • Primary OSCE/SOE

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

Interviews are arranged locally wherever possible although interviews can be arranged virtually if local trainers and examiners are not available. To arrange a guidance interview, please contact the exams office, exams@rcoa.ac.uk.

For a more detailed look at each individual station please visit Primary OSCE Video Resources.