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. 

The Primary FRCA Structured Oral Examination (SOE) and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is delivered in person at the College.  

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.

Structure of the Primary OSCE

The Primary FRCA OSCE will comprise up to 16 live exam stations in a circuit.  Candidates must complete each station in succession. For example, if there are 16 stations, a candidate starting at station one will rotate through the circuit, finishing at station 16.

Before each station, you will read the guidance displayed outside of the cubicle. You have one minute to read this guidance after which a bell will sound and you will enter the station.   Each station takes five minutes. In the station,  an examiner may ask questions on a subject or you may be required to interact with a patient, played by an actor. A bell will sound at the end of the 5 minutes and you will move to the next station. 

If there is a rest station in the circuit, you will be seated in the station and be provided ear defenders to wear. The floor leads will indicate to you when it is time to move to the next station. 

You may have a water bottle with you when moving around the circuit but you are not permitted note paper or any other resources or electronic devices. 

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 live stations are summed to obtain the pass mark for the whole examination.

OSCE Infographic

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


  • 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.


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; 2023-2024

Application opening date

Monday, 14 August 2023

Monday, 16 October 2023

Monday, 5 February 2024

Application closing date

Thursday 28 September 2023

Sunday, 10 December 2023 Wednesday, 20 March 2024

Examination date
(week commencing)

Monday, 6 November 2023

Monday, 22 January 2024 Monday, 13 May 2024

Examination fees






Note that the Royal College of Anaesthetists has returned to face-to-face format for the OSCE and SOE components of the FRCA exam.  

Apply and pay online

For those candidates who were added to the examination waiting list for the Primary OSCE & SOE in May 2023, and did not secure a place or were not offered a place due to prioritisation, please refer to our email sent to you on Friday, 11 August before booking to sit the examination in November. If you did not receive an email, please call the examinations department on +44 (0)20 7092 1520.

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.

Prioritisation: Prioritisation of Applications will be applied to examination bookings. Please read our prioritisation policy before booking your exam.   

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, please complete the relevant section on the online examination application form. 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 November 2023 Primary OSCE/SOE exam will be released by email by 5pm on Tuesday 28 November 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.
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.

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,

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