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Usually taken following successful Outcome 1 and curriculum checklist satisfaction at ST6 ARCP.

The exam is regulated by the Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations (JCIE).

Can be booked via



FRCS Section 1


Candidates have a maximum of 4 attempts from a two year period following their 1st attempt. This section must be passed to gain eligibility to proceed to FRCS Section 2 (vivas).


Paper 1 – Single Best Items/SBAs (2 hour paper)

Paper 2 – Extended Matching Items/EMIs (2 hour 30 minutes)


The exams can be taken at dedicated centres around the UK, usually local driving test centres.


Recommended reading list/on line questions banks:


  • Companion Series (particularly Emergency surgery and declared sub-specialty books)
  • ATLS Manual
  • Bailey and Love’s Short Practice for Surgery
  • FRCS General Surgery: 500 SBAs and EMIs
  • (£35 for 4 month subscription)
  • (£72 for 3 month subscription)


Overall pass mark varies each year but is approximately 70% for NTN trainees and 40% for non-NTN trainees.



FRCS Section 2


Only taken following success at FRCS Section 1. Takes place over two days.


Clinical Vivas:     General Surgery Clinical – 2 x 10 minute cases & 1 x 20 minute case & Special Interest Clinical 2 x 10 minute cases & 1 x 20 minute case


Orals Vivas:     4 x 30 minute oral examinations


  • General Surgery Principles & Clinical Practice (6x 5 minute cases)
  • Special Interest Clinical Practice (6x 5  minute cases)
  • Special Interest Basic Principles and Academic station (3x Base questions with 15 minute review of paper. Candidates have 30 minutes to read paper prior to starting this station)
  • Emergency Surgery/Trauma/Critical Care (6x 5 minute cases)


Recommended reading list/on line questions banks:


  • Cracking the Intercollegiate Exam in General Surgery
  • Surgical Critical Care Vivas/Applied Surgical Physiology Vivas
  • Landmark Papers in General Surgery
  • An Introduction to the Symptoms and Signs of Surgical Disease


Courses include:


  •      Alpine Course
  •      Whipps Cross
  •      Going for gold
  •      PELICAN course


Ensure to attend regular update meetings and conferences on your chosen sub-specialty. Pre-conference courses often have viva sessions for trainees coming up to FRCS examinations. 


Attend/setup journal clubs and sign up to surgical journals, in particular BJS and Annals of Surgery, in order to practice critiquing papers for the academic viva station. 


Ensure to get your consultants to viva you as much as possible during your daily clinical commitments. Arrange viva sessions and attend clinics with consultants of other specialties to get a breadth of knowledge in all general surgical sub-specialties. 


East of England teaching days include invaluable viva sessions from consultants based on sub-specialty themes. 




Monday, 1 July, 2019
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Monday, 1 July, 2019