The FRCA Examination

To become a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists by examination, you must pass the Primary and the Final Examinations.  Those who pass both examinations may use the letters FRCA (Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists) after their name, as long as they are a Fellow or Member of the College 

The Examinations are set and supervised by the RCoA through a Board of Examiners, who are senior consultants and experts in their fields. The College is committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for its Examinations.  In order to maintain this position, the FRCA examiners and the Examinations Directorate rigorously quality assures all its processes and actively engages in research and ongoing development work to ensure the pre-eminence of the FRCA. 

Cost of Training and Examinations

The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCOA), Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPMRCoA) and Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) ensure that trainees, members and fellows are provided with an appropriate breakdown of costs of supporting trainees and in the provision of the examinations that form part of the relevant training programmes (see related downloads).  

The Primary FRCA

The Primary FRCA Examinations are open to UK trainees in:

  • Anaesthesia
  • ACCS/ICM (conditions apply) and UK Foundation Programmes (MCQ only)
  • Irish trainees in anaesthesia
  • Any Anaesthetist (conditions apply)

The Primary FRCA is in two sections (taken separately):

  1. Multiple Choice Question Examination (MCQ)
  2. The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and Structure Oral Examination (SOE)

You must pass the Primary FRCA MCQ before you can apply for the OSCE/SOE.  Them MCQ has a three year validity. You must pass the Primary FRCA overall, or a recognised exemption, qualification, before you can apply for the Final FRCA.  A pass in the Primary FRCA is valid for seven years as part eligibility towards the Final FRCA. Exempting qualifications also have a seven year validity.

The Final FRCA

The Final FRCA Examinations are open to:

  • UK trainees in anaesthesia, this includes applicants on a dual ICM/Anaesthsia training programme.
  • Irish trainees in anaesthesia. 
  • Former UK and Irish trainees in anaesthesia (conditions apply). 
  • Anaesthetic doctors currently sponsored under the RCoA IP. (MTI) scheme, other conditions apply 
  • Specialty/SAS doctors (conditions apply).
  • Anaesthetic doctors who have not been in UK training but have worked for one continuous year in the UK NHS immediately prior to the exam applied for (conditions apply).

The Final FRCA is in two sections (taken separately):

  • Final Written exam consisting of; Multiple Choice Question exam (MCQ) and a Constructed Response Question/Short Answer Question ( CRQ/SAQ) exam (September 2019).
  • The Structure Oral Examination (SOE)

You must pass the Primary FRCA, or a recognised exemption, qualification before you can apply for the Final FRCA. You must pass the Final Written component before you apply for the SOE. The Final Written has a three year validity.

Further information and a list of recognised exemptions from the Primary are listed at Section 7 Paragraph 19 of the Examination Regulations.  Eligibility, structure and marking are listed against exam components see further information below.

The Exam Syllabus

The Syllabus for both exams are linked to the Training Curriculum.

Preparing for examinations

The College runs a number of preparation courses for FRCA Examinations. Please click here to go to the Events Calendar.

The College has a number of resources available to candidates such as example questions, exam run through and SOE videos and publishes an official guide to each part of the examination. All these resources and others as they become available, can be found on the Resources for candidates pages.

e-Learning Anaesthesia
The RCoA works in partnership with e-LA to provide MCQ questions which are an accurate reflection of the scope and standard included in the FRCA examinations. The questions included may have been used previously or adapted from those that are currently in the question bank. However, candidates are reminded that live exam questions are constantly under review and small modifications may change the character of the question and thus the answers. Therefore, there is little to be gained from simply memorising the answers to the questions included in e-LA. The practice questions provided are a valuable part of exam preparation but should be used in conjunction with other forms of research and studies.

Independent resources

There are numerous independent resources available to assist candidates with exam preparation, many of which use in their title or advertising literature the post nominals FRCA. We wish to make it clear that these are independent resources and are not affiliated with the RCoA and consequently the College accepts no liability for the accuracy of any examination related content which they contain.

FRCA Examinations statistics, results and research reports

The examinations pages has a dedicated page where exam pass/fail lists are published, exam statistics, chair's annual reviews and research reports are posted.  This page is updated regularly.