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 – SBAs (2 hour paper – 110 questions)

Paper 2 – EMQs (2 hour 30 minutes – 130 questions)

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
  • 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 in February 2016 was 76% for NTN trainees and 41% 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


Emergency Surgery/Trauma/Critical Care

  • General Surgery Principles and Clinical Practice (anatomy,physiology, pathology)
  • Special Interest Surgery – Clinical Practice (clinical topic discussion)
  • Special Interest Surgery –  Basic principles (anatomy,physiology,pathology, 15mins)

                                                         Academic Foundation (critiquing paper, 15mins)   


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

  • Ensure to attend regular update meetings on your chosen sub-specialty
  • Attend /setup journal clubs, sign up to a surgical journal – all to practice critiquing papers for the academic viva

Ensure to get your consultants to viva you as much as possible during your daily clinical commitments. Arrange viva sessions 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.