The  FFICM examinations are an integral part of the assessment of the CCT in ICM.  They are mandatory for all those entering the new ICM CCT programme.

Full details are available on the FICM website here

FFICM Primary examination

A pass in the primary examination of one of the other relevant Colleges - MRCP(UK), MCEM and FRCA Primary will be considered acceptable as an entry requirement for training in ICM.  In the future there will be ICM core posts for recruitment and it will therefore be necessary to run an FFICM Primary.

This Primary examination is planned to consist of multiple choice questions testing factual knowledge in the areas of science as related to clinical practice including: anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, physics, clinical measurement and data interpretation.  The examination will be over three hours and will comprise a total of 90 questions as a combination of possible formats including any or all can be correct or incorrect, single best answer and the extended answer format. It is envisaged that the examination will be taken at any stage of training before entry to higher specialist training in ICM.

A useful comparator for the intended FFICM primary is the Part One examination, run by the College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM) of Australia and New Zealand.

FFICM Final examination

The second part examination can be taken at any point during Stage 2 of the new training programme.  Eligibility to sit the second part FFICM examination is either a pass in the FICM Primary examination or a pass in the primary examination of one of the complementary specialty colleges. The examination  comprise three sections: MCQ, OSCE and the structured oral examination (SOE).  The MCQ must be passed before candidates can apply for the OSCE/SOE.

The MCQ [Multiple Choice Question] section of the examination tests factual knowledge in the areas of science applied to clinical practice including resuscitation and initial management of the acutely ill patient; diagnosis, assessment, investigation, monitoring and data interpretation; disease management; therapeutic interventions and organ support; perioperative care; comfort and recovery; end of life care; paediatric care; transport; patient safety and health systems management.   The first sitting of the MCQ exam took place in January 2013 and the exam consisted of 90 Multiple True False questions (MTF). In it's current iteration, the exam consists of 50 multiple true/false (MTF) questions and 50 single best answer (SBA) questions which are attempted over 3 hours. As of autumn 2021, this was undertaken remotely using the Testreach platform used by the RCoA.

The next FFICM MCQ sitting will be: January 11th 2022. Application window is currently open and closes November 25th at 5pm.

June 2022 will see the exam change again, to consist solely of SBAs made up of two question types:

  • 80 'short' questions, with a short stem and 1 mark for the correct response
  • 50 'long' questions, with a longer stem where 2 marks are awarded for each correct response.

The exam will continue to be undertaken over 3 hours.

The objective of the OSCE [Objective Structured Clinical Examination] section tests knowledge and skills essential to the safe practice of intensive care. Each individual section is marked separately, and does not influence the marks in any other section. The OSCE  consists of 13, seven minute stations with a one minute reading time between stations.  All stations must be attempted, there are no 'killer stations' and negative marking is not used. There are 12 'live' stations (marks count towards the final mark) and one station used for validating new questions (the test station). Neither the examiners nor the candidates are made aware of the test station, therefore all 13 stations must be approached equally.  The examination draws questions from four different areas: Data, Equipment, Professionalism and Resuscitation.  Questions are selected to ensure a wide area of the curriculum.  Each station is marked out of 20 with the pass mark for each station being determined by the Examiners before the examination, using the Angoff Referencing method. The pass marks for each of the 12 'live stations' are summed to obtain the pass mark for the whole examination.

The objective of the SOE [Structured Oral Examination] section tests knowledge in clinical science as applied to the practice of intensive care medicine. The SOE consists of eight, seven minute stations with a two minute waiting period between each station.  A different question is asked in each station and each question is marked independently by two examiners. Questions are selected across all domains to ensure as wide a coverage of the curriculum as possible.

The examiners will use a three point grading system with marks allocated as follows:

Pass = 2,  Borderline = 1,  Fail = 0.

There are eight questions with two examiners marking each question, 8x2x2 = 32 marks available in total.  The pass mark is set using methods approved by the GMC and is in the range of 75% - 80% which is in line with all other Medical Colleges and Faculties.

FFICM examination chairman's report, March 2021

Useful resources for both parts:

  • FFICM example MCQs
  • FFICM OSCE/SOE examples
  • Crit-IQ have also now produced an online module aimed at those preparing for the written exam. It has 150 MCQ questions and can be found here, although it is a subscription service. 
  • BJA Education articles with ICM focus, including corresponding MCQs. (Please note, that access to the MCQs requires a BJA Education subscription although many of the articles themselves are free).
  • ICM Case Summaries - compendium of clinical cases with discussion related to recent evidence and guidelines.
  • On Examination - online question bank, appears to use some of their FRCA resource so includes questions on basic sciences which may be helpful for the non-anaesthetist.
  • Life in the fast lane - an absolutely invaluable compendium of all things critical care, including potted summaries of pathophysiology, biochemistry, toxicology, radiology, ECGs and much more.
  • The Bottom Line - critical appraisal of recent trials in critical care
  • Deranged physiology - Australian resource with particular focus on physiology and basic sciences with a critical care focus.
  • Critical Care Reviews - a wonderful free resource run by Rob Mac Sweeney in Belfast, an up to day compendium of the latest publications in critical care. 

FFICM Courses (details correct as of October 2021)

Thursday, 14 November, 2019
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