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Intercollegiate MRCS Part A

Exam overview

The Intercollegiate MRCS Part A is a five-hour MCQ exam consisting of two papers taken on the same day. The AM paper is three hours and the PM paper is two hours in duration. Currently, the examination is delivered as an online assessment and there is no option of delivering this as a face-to-face exam. If the option does become available, we will confirm this with the applicants.

A single booking option is available based on the location in which you intend to sit the examination.

First 4: We want to help you through your first four years of training. Save up to £512 when you take your MRCS Part B with us.

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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.

Full details on candidate eligibility can be found on the intercollegiate MRCS exam website.

Application for admission to the exam must reach us no later than 5pm on the closing date.

Exam format

Part A is a five-hour MCQ exam consisting of two papers, an AM paper of three hours and a PM paper of two hours duration, taken on the same day. Currently the examination will be delivered remotely. The applied basic sciences paper is divided into two 90-minutes sections to allow for a 10 minute comfort break. 

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.


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

The exam uses both single best answer MCQs and extended matching MCQs designed to test knowledge of both applied basic science and principles of surgery in general to a level that a surgical trainee should have achieved two to three years after qualification.

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.

Booking options

There are currently no dates available for this exam

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, candidates required to provide their Primary Medical Qualification should send these documents via email. Please send scanned copies of your original documents to MRCS&

Due to administrative processes, candidates should be advised that they will NOT be permitted to transfer to a later exam. Candidates will only be eligible for a refund of exam fees as per the standard MRCS Regulations.

Upcoming Exam Dates

Title Applications and fees due Exam date Exam location
Closed 14 September 2021
Online - Remote Examination
January 2022
IMRCS Part A TBC April 2022 TBC
IMRCS Part A TBC September 2022 TBC

Contact the exams department



For general exam queries please call 020 7405 3474

Our main switchboard is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.