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Intercollegiate MRCS Exam

Within this section you can find information on MRCS exam dates, fees and venues. You can apply online to sit the IMRCS by registering as a new candidate/log in.

MRCS exam overview

Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) is an intercollegiate exam for surgical trainees who wish to become a member of one of the four surgical royal colleges in the UK and Ireland.

Award of this postgraduate diploma indicates that you have the necessary knowledge, experience and clinical competence to complete core training and progress to specialty training. 

The MRCS exam is comprised of two parts:

  • Part A: a written paper using multiple choice questions (MCQ)
  • Part B: an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE)

For full MRCS details please visit the intercollegiate exam website

MRCS courses and revision days

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) offers regular courses and revision days to help you prepare for the MRCS exam.

Part A

Eligibility 

Full details on candidate eligibility can be found on the intercollegiate MRCS exam website. An overview is provided below.

To be eligible to sit the MRCS exam, you must hold a medical degree that is acceptable to the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for full or provisional registration or to the Medical Council in Ireland for full or temporary registration.

First time applicants whose names do not appear on the registers of the GMC or Medical Council (Ireland) must submit their original certificate (or an authenticated copy) of a medical degree acceptable to the councils of the four colleges. The RCS can be contacted at MRCS&DOHNS@rcseng.ac.uk

Format

Part A is a four-hour MCQ exam consisting of two papers, each of two hours duration, taken on the same day.

The papers cover generic surgical sciences and applied knowledge, including the core knowledge required in all nine specialties as follows:

  • Paper 1: applied basic sciences
  • Paper 2: principles of surgery in general

To achieve a pass in Part A, you will be required to demonstrate a minimum level of competence in each paper in addition to achieving or exceeding the pass mark set for the combined total mark for Part A.

Candidates may attempt to pass Part A of the MRCS exam six times.

Syllabus

The MRCS exam will only test knowledge at the level expected of all trainees completing core training irrespective of their chosen specialty.

The syllabus is divided into 10 modules:

  • Module 1: basic science knowledge relevant to surgical practice
  • Module 2: common surgical conditions
  • Module 3: basic surgical skills
  • Module 4: the assessment and management of the surgical patient
  • Module 5: perioperative care of the surgical patient
  • Module 6: assessment and early treatment of the patient with trauma
  • Module 7: surgical care of the paediatric patient
  • Module 8: management of the dying patient
  • Module 9: organ and tissue transplantation
  • Module 10: professional behaviour and leadership skills

For detailed information on the MRCS syllabus please visit the intercollegiate exam website.  

Part B

Eligibility 

Part B consists of an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE). The OSCE consists of 18 examined stations each of 9 minutes’ duration. 

These stations will examine the following broad content areas:

  • applied knowledge: consisting of anatomy, surgical pathology, applied surgical science and critical care.
  • applied skills: consisting of communication skills in giving and receiving information, history taking and clinical & procedural skills.

Syllabus

In addition to the four broad content areas examined in the OSCE (anatomy, surgical pathology, applied surgical science, critical care), four domains have been identified which encompass the knowledge, skills, competencies and professional characteristics of the competent surgeon. These domains map to the GMC’s Good Medical Practice and are assessed in the OSCE:

  • clinical knowledge and its application
  • clinical and technical skill
  • communication
  • professionalism

For detailed information on the MRCS syllabus please visit the intercollegiate exam website.