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Final Step of Membership: MRCS OSCE

Once you pass your MRCS Part B OSCE, your life invariably changes in a few ways:

- You are no longer Dr. XYZ, you are Mr. XYZ or Miss XYZ

- You are fully eligible to apply for GMC registration to work and practice in the UK after proving your English competency

- You are now a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, one of the most prestigious institutions acknowledging surgeons

Here are some facts about the MRCS OSCE:

- There are both International and UK centres to give this exam

- The exam is held 3 times a year, October, February, and May

- There are 17-18 stations, and each station is 10 minutes long

- There will be 2 rest stations

Now that you have passed your MRCS Part A with flying colours, how should you prepare to pass the MRCS OSCE? Here are some top tips:

A. Collect your study materials:

- We have all heard that one is only as good as their tools. Be careful when selecting your study materials for preparation, there are countless books in the market which take weeks to read and add little to no value in your exam preparation.

- As the exam is an OSCE, you will not benefit at all from reading a book cover to cover, its much better to revise notes which have been prepared by those who have already passed the exam and understand the question pattern.

Essential resources:

1. Dr. Tourkey’s Notes

2. Dr. Singh’s Notes (very similar to Dr. Tourkey’s Notes but in more detail and with less photos and diagrams)

3. Pass the MRCS - Online Subscription (

4. Dr. Exam’s Examination Book and Video

5. Past Papers from previous years

6. McMinn and Abrahams Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy

7. Get Through MRCS by Simon Overstall

8. Clinical and Procedural Skills for MRCS Part B by Stuart Enoch

Additional Resources:

1. Surgical Critical Care: For the MRCS OSCE by Mazyar Kanani and Simon Lammy

2. RCS Basic Surgical Skills book

3. RCS CCRISP Handbook

4. ATLS Student Course Manual

5. Reda MRCS Part B Notes

B. Organise your study time:

- It takes an average of 2-6 months to prepare for the MRCS OSCE depending on how much time you can commit to your preparation. During this time, you should allocate your time to :

- Go through the stations of each topic at least twice

- Give one or two mocks to ensure you can think on your feet as you will need to in the exam

C. Form a study group:

- Whether it is one study partner who will give the exam in the same session as you or a large group of candidates, this might be one of the most important elements for your preparation.

- Make a point of going through stations for at least 5-6 hours a week, including those topics you feel confident about. The exam questions and model answers can be found in Dr. Tourkey’s Notes and in Pass the MRCS.

- Practice until the answers become second nature to you and you can smoothly answer a station without wasting valuable minutes hesitating and thinking. Your acting skills will be useful in this exam, and a great actor always rehearses well.

Common Questions:

Do I have to do a course to pass the exam?

Courses help you find your study group and organise your preparation time. They are useful but not mandatory.

Should I give a paid mock to make sure I am ready for the test?

Mock exams are very helpful in building your confidence for the actual exam and understanding the OSCE format. If you are not experienced in giving OSCE exams, a mock will be very helpful for you.

Do I have to memorise the notes in detail?

You will be given 10 minutes for each station, so if you are studying an answer which will take you longer than 10 minutes to say, it is too much information. Be sure to understand what you are reading, but this exam is not a test of how well you can memorise, it tests how you manage patients as a surgical registrar.

Which centre is the best for passing the exam?

The MRCS is an intercollegiate exam, your chances of passing the exam in each centre is identical. Do not waste time trying to cherry pick your centre, the examiners have the same marking sheet proforma around the world.

Can an examiner fail me on purpose?

Each RCS examiner has to give a solid reason as to why you pass or fail a station. It is not possible to fail a candidate who did everything right, the same way it is not possible to pass a candidate if they did wrong.

Will I fail if I fail one station in the exam?

No, but it is important to not let one bad station impact your performance in the other stations. It is important to be resilient in this exam. You would probably not mistreat your next patient if you had not managed another patient ideally.

Best wishes for your exam and please feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments!

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