The MRCS Part A constitutes the initial part of the exam that leads to the Membership Examination of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (MRCS). It is a written exam which evaluates the knowledge, skills, clinical competence and experience expected from surgical trainees towards the end of their core surgical training.
An Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Part B forms the second part of the membership examination. Read on to gain valuable information regarding the MRCS Part A exam.
MRCS Part A is a five-hour multiple choice exam. It consists of two papers, which must be taken on the same day (one AM and one PM). It tests generic surgical sciences, applied knowledge, and core knowledge necessary in all nine speciality areas.
Paper 1 – Applied Basic Sciences
Timing: Before Noon
Duration: Three hours, divided into two 90-minute sections with a 10-minute comfort break in between.
Number of questions: 180
Paper 2 – Principles of Surgery in General
Timing: After Noon
Duration: Two hours
Number of questions: 120
To pass MRCS Part A exam, you must display a minimum level of competence in each of the individual parts. In addition, you should meet or exceed the combined pass mark for the two papers. A total of six attempts are allowed for passing the exam.
Candidates sitting the MRCS Part A should display knowledge of both applied basic science and principles of surgery in general to a level that a surgical trainee should have achieved two or three years after qualification.
The MRCS Part A exam focusses to assessing your knowledge and skills across a wide range of conditions, not just the area of surgery in which you wish to train. This makes sure that you have the core basic knowledge and skills which are required for successful higher training. It is worth noting that MRCS only tests knowledge at the level expected of all trainees completing core training irrespective of their chosen specialty.
You must hold a primary medical qualification which is accepted by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for full or provisional registration or by the Medical Council in Ireland for full or temporary registration. This is mandatory to be eligible for the MRCS exam.
Candidates who qualified outside of the UK or Ireland must hold a primary medical qualification which is accepted by the Councils of the colleges.
Hope you found this information helpful. All the best for your MRCS Part A exam!!