About the examination
The intercollegiate membership examination of surgeons is a two-step exam conducted for surgical trainees to become members of The Royal College of Surgeons.
The syllabus and format of the examination is common to all the four colleges i.e.
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Royal College of Surgeons of England
Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
Candidates can take any part of the examination through any college, but may do so only with one college at each sitting.
After successful completion of Part A, candidates can take Part B from the same College as Part A or any other college.
The candidate will gain eligibility for election of membership of the college at which they have applied and passed Part B.
Candidate must hold a Primary Medical Degree that is accepted by the General Medical Council UK.
In case you are not registered with the GMC, first time applicants can submit their Primary Medical Degree certificate to the Royal College.
Application forms can be found on individual college websites.
Components of the Examination
1. PART A- Multiple Choice Questions.
Held thrice a year i.e., January, April and September.
📌 It is a 5-hour exam and divided further into two parts, both of which must be taken on the same day.
✓ 3 hours- Applied Basic Sciences. (180 marks)
✓ 2 hours- Principles of Surgery General. (120 marks)
🧪 To pass the examination, candidate must attain pass marks in each of the paper in addition to achieving the pass mark set for the combined total marks for Part A.
🧪 Number of attempts: 6
🗣 Results: Announced on the College website and a written confirmation of the results is emailed at a later date.
2. Part B – Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
OSCE normally consists of 18 examination stations, each of 9 minutes duration.
The stations are divided into: ➢ Broad Content Areas (BCA)
📍 Anatomy and Surgical Pathology (5 stations)
📍 Applied surgical science and critical care (3 stations)
These two BCAs are collectively known as “Applied Knowledge” -8 stations
➢ Clinical and Procedural Skills (6 stations)
➢ Communication Skills (4 stations)
These two BCAs are collectively known as “Applied Skills”- 10 stations.
Each station is marked out of a total of 20 marks.
Additionally, the candidate is given a separate overall global rating for the station as follows:
Passing criteria: Candidate must obtain a pass mark in two aggregated BCA- Knowledge and Skills.
No. of attempts: 4
Results: Candidates will receive an email specifying the date of release of the result.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” – J.R.R. Tolkien
As daunting as the MRCS examination feels, it is a highly doable exam at any stage of your surgical career before you enter specialty training. It is highly recommended to plan your schedule way ahead, understand what your weak points are and work on them. Whether it’s to begin your surgical career in the UK or to add to your resume in your home countries, it’s never too late to begin.