How soon is too soon to start preparing for the Primary FRCA exam?
At the start of your anaesthetic career there are many demands on your time. Getting to grips with the speciality and taking your first steps, achieving your IAC (Initial Assessment of Competency) is your primary goal.
Complimenting your learning for the IAC with revising for the MCQ part of the primary can be mutually beneficial to both processes and should be considered.
The first sitting you might consider is in the March of the first year of anaesthetic training. If you feel this is too early, then you should expect to be ready for your first attempt by the September at the beginning of the second year.
Use the link to get the up to date information regarding dates and times of upcoming exams.
If you are considering taking an overseas exam, DON’T.
If you already hold an overseas exam (including Irish), read the college position statement carefully. Salient points:
- Irish Primary taken after April 2015 is no longer an exemption from the UK Final.
- Irish Primary taken before April 2015 is still valid for UK Final
- Irish Primary taken after June 2015 is not Valid for BLTC
- Irish Primary taken before June 2015 is Valid for BLTC, but you must gain an ST3 number by end of December 2016
- Irish Final taken after June 2015 is not valid for gaining ILTC
- Irish Final taken before June 2015 is valid for gaining ILTC if you were already in the ST training program
- Overseas exams taken within the context of an overseas training program are still valid for application to ST3
Burton Primary FRCA OSCE Course
Queens Hospital in Burton run an OSCE Course before each of the 3 exams each year. First preference is given to the trainees from the Stoke School of Anaesthesia. Any vacant places are offered to other trainees in the West Midlands.
Details are on the Courses section of the Web site
Final FRCA Exam Preparation Programme
Dr Arif Hasan at UHNM organises an Exam Preparation programme for the Final FRCA in conjunction with Syma Sunny and Venu Mehta.
SAQ writers club
MCQ/SAQ study day
Jounal Club (relevent to Final FRCA)
SOE study day
Further Details are on the Courses section of the Web site
Royal College Exam Resources
The Royal College has a great section on their website called Resources for Candidates. It is essential viewing for prospective exam candidates. This includes links to the Exam Syllabus, e-Learning Anaesthesia and ‘The Candidate’ Newsletter.
There is also areas dedicated to either the Primary or Final FRCA. Within these areas are the ‘Run Through’ Videos. These are a great resource to help you familiarise yourselves with the style of exam questions and format.
In addition to the above there is also a series of OSCE ‘spotlight’ videos. There are seven videos in this spotlight series: History, Communication, Physical examination, Technical Skills, Interactive Resuscitation, Equipment check and a demonstration of a station that uses a touch screen computer, ‘the unmanned station’.
Trainee Exam Guides
Passing the Primary
- Arihant Jain’s Primary FRCA guide Jan 2016
- Prabjoyt Kler’s Primary FRCA guide Jan 2016
- Helen Pooley’s Primary FRCA guide Jan 2017
Passing the Final
Reports by the authors of above exam guides are their own and any references made to specific study materials or resources are based on personal experience of usage of such materials. Under no circumstances have any of the authors been endorsed or compensated by copyright holders of mentioned resources or materials