Your Guide to the MRCS
The Membership Examination of the Surgical Royal Colleges of Great Britain, or MRCS, is designed for surgical trainees in the generality part of specialty training. The MRCS is a crucial milestone in your surgical career; it determines whether you possess the correct knowledge, skills and attributes to complete basic training and to progress to higher levels of specialist surgical training. The MRCS examination is intercollegiate, meaning that it is common to all Colleges. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh offers the examination at a variety of locations throughout the UK. The examination is made up of two parts, A and B.
Part A of the MRCS is a written examination, divided into two papers, each of two hours’ duration. Both papers are taken on the same day and examine generic surgical sciences and applied knowledge, using multiple-choice Single Best Answer and Extended Matching Questions. The marks for both papers are combined to give a total mark for Part A, but as a candidate you are expected to demonstrate a minimum level of knowledge in each of the two papers in addition to achieving the set pass mark for the combined papers.
The Part B Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) integrates basic surgical scientific knowledge and its application to clinical surgery. Its purpose is to build on the test of knowledge in Part A and assess how you are able to integrate knowledge and apply it in clinically appropriate contexts. This is done through a series of stations reflecting elements of day-to-day clinical practice. It is worth giving some thought to which College you wish to ultimately become a member of, as the College where you pass Part B will be the College which offers you membership. We hope that you will consider The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh for your examinations and membership throughout your surgical career.
Where can I sit the MRCS?
The MRCS Part A is held in January, April and September of each year, and The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh holds it throughout the UK, in Belfast, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield. The MRCS Part B is held in February, May and October of each year at the College in central Edinburgh, only a 10 minute walk from the railway station or a short 20 minute journey from the airport. In addition to Edinburgh, Part B is also rotated around three other locations in the UK: Coventry, Manchester and Sheffield. Please visit the website for dates and venues at www.rcsed.ac.uk.
When should I sit the MRCS?
To be eligible to sit the MRCS, you must have completed an undergraduate medical degree from an institution acceptable to the College. As a guideline, it is recommended that Part A should be taken in Specialty/Core Training Year 1 (ST/CT1), and Part B in Specialty/Core Training Year 2 (ST/CT2). For more details, please read the MRCS examination regulations at www.rcsed.ac.uk.
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