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Anna1988
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#1
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#1
Hi guys,

Just wondering if some anaesthetic trainees can shed some light on the timing for the FRCA exams. I understand it's flexible and deanery dependent as long as primary is done by the end of core training and final done by the end of ST4.

But wondering when most trainees tend to take each part and allowing roughly how many months to study for each? Also anyone doing dual ITU/Anaesthetics, how do the ITU exams fit into the whole thing timewise. And for those of you who've done the exams, did you find it very difficult to fit in studying with work and on calls and so on or did you find the rota was manageable?

Thanks!
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Helenia
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#2
Report 3 years ago
#2
(Original post by Anna1988)
Hi guys,

Just wondering if some anaesthetic trainees can shed some light on the timing for the FRCA exams. I understand it's flexible and deanery dependent as long as primary is done by the end of core training and final done by the end of ST4.

But wondering when most trainees tend to take each part and allowing roughly how many months to study for each? Also anyone doing dual ITU/Anaesthetics, how do the ITU exams fit into the whole thing timewise. And for those of you who've done the exams, did you find it very difficult to fit in studying with work and on calls and so on or did you find the rota was manageable?

Thanks!
I did my Primary MCQ in June of CT1, OSCE/SOE in November CT2; Final written in March of ST3 and Final SOE in June ST3. I passed them all first time so no resits.

They've changed the timings of the Primary exams now though, so Primary MCQ is March/Sept/Nov, and the OSCE/SOE is May/Nov/Jan. I know a few CT1s who've done the MCQ in March and passed, but it's quite a lot of pressure to put yourself under to complete your initial assessment of competence, start proper on-calls and get the exam started as well. However, it does theoretically give you extra attempts before the ST3 application deadline, I suppose.

For the Final, I was in a teaching hospital which very much expected you to be tackling the exam in ST3, and put on a lot of teaching to help, but also quite a lot of pressure. The time limit has also now been extended so you have until the middle of ST5 to complete the Final SOE, so there's a little more flexibility.

I'm not sure I could say how long I was properly studying for each part - we have departmental teaching and for the Primary I went on a one day a week course for 18 weeks, so it all built up quite gradually, I just increased the amount of time I spent working in the evenings, and more time reading exam books/doing viva practice in theatres. It's hard, there's no getting around that, and viva practice is quite mentally draining. It does feel like you have little to think about outside work and study. But most people will get through it eventually and most departments are pretty supportive.
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Anna1988
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#3
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#3
(Original post by Helenia)
I did my Primary MCQ in June of CT1, OSCE/SOE in November CT2; Final written in March of ST3 and Final SOE in June ST3. I passed them all first time so no resits.

They've changed the timings of the Primary exams now though, so Primary MCQ is March/Sept/Nov, and the OSCE/SOE is May/Nov/Jan. I know a few CT1s who've done the MCQ in March and passed, but it's quite a lot of pressure to put yourself under to complete your initial assessment of competence, start proper on-calls and get the exam started as well. However, it does theoretically give you extra attempts before the ST3 application deadline, I suppose.

For the Final, I was in a teaching hospital which very much expected you to be tackling the exam in ST3, and put on a lot of teaching to help, but also quite a lot of pressure. The time limit has also now been extended so you have until the middle of ST5 to complete the Final SOE, so there's a little more flexibility.

I'm not sure I could say how long I was properly studying for each part - we have departmental teaching and for the Primary I went on a one day a week course for 18 weeks, so it all built up quite gradually, I just increased the amount of time I spent working in the evenings, and more time reading exam books/doing viva practice in theatres. It's hard, there's no getting around that, and viva practice is quite mentally draining. It does feel like you have little to think about outside work and study. But most people will get through it eventually and most departments are pretty supportive.
Do people tend to take a CT3 year if they need to do resits? Is that even a possible option before entering ST3?
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Helenia
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Anna1988)
Do people tend to take a CT3 year if they need to do resits? Is that even a possible option before entering ST3?
There's time within the core training years for a couple of resits, so it doesn't necessarily extend training time, but if it's not finished by the end of CT2 they can't sign off your core training so will usually extend it by 6 months - you may or may not stay at the same hospital for this time. A further 6 months extension is sometimes granted in special circumstances. ST3 (and CT1, for that matter) has entries in Feb and Aug so you don't necessarily need a whole year extra.
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Anna1988
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Helenia)
There's time within the core training years for a couple of resits, so it doesn't necessarily extend training time, but if it's not finished by the end of CT2 they can't sign off your core training so will usually extend it by 6 months - you may or may not stay at the same hospital for this time. A further 6 months extension is sometimes granted in special circumstances. ST3 (and CT1, for that matter) has entries in Feb and Aug so you don't necessarily need a whole year extra.
Thanks very much for the info Helenia.

Do you have any tips on methods/approaches to the exam prep that you felt worked for you? I was thinking of dividing it into physics, physiology, pharmacology and equipment and tackling them separately per study session.
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Helenia
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Anna1988)
Thanks very much for the info Helenia.

Do you have any tips on methods/approaches to the exam prep that you felt worked for you? I was thinking of dividing it into physics, physiology, pharmacology and equipment and tackling them separately per study session.
Those are the main topics (though there's a lot of crossover between physics and equipment so often people do them together) - plus clinical of course.

I strongly recommend getting the up-to-date version of the RCoA guide to the exam, you can buy it from their website and it has useful information plus sample MCQs which often crop up in the exam. Also e-LfH has lots of resources and questions which are also from the question bank.
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Anna1988
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Helenia)
Those are the main topics (though there's a lot of crossover between physics and equipment so often people do them together) - plus clinical of course.

I strongly recommend getting the up-to-date version of the RCoA guide to the exam, you can buy it from their website and it has useful information plus sample MCQs which often crop up in the exam. Also e-LfH has lots of resources and questions which are also from the question bank.
Thank you! That’s all very helpful :-)
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lyra1987
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#8
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#8
Sorry to hi-jack the thread, but Helenia can you remember how many points you can get for prizes and publications for speciality applications?
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Helenia
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#9
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#9
(Original post by lyra1987)
Sorry to hi-jack the thread, but Helenia can you remember how many points you can get for prizes and publications for speciality applications?
CT1 criteria

ST3 criteria. Seems like they've got rid of the section which gave you points for how soon you passed the Primary during core training.

Bear in mind that this is only ~25% of the overall marks available during the application process though.
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lyra1987
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#10
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#10
Thank you very much. I was clearly looking in the wrong place. The closest I got was the criteria for core med.
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