The intercollegiate Membership examination of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (MRCS) tests the knowledge, experience and clinical competence expected of trainees at the end of their core surgical training.

The MRCS examination has two parts: Part A (written paper) and Part B Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). 

You are strongly advised to read the guidance notes below before sitting the MRCS exam. They cover the following key topics:

  • topics and skills that may be examined
  • entry requirements
  • Part A format, duration and sample questions
  • Part B format and duration
  • candidate registration and conduct
  • marking and results

Syllabus and recommended reading

MRCS content guide

This document provides a full breakdown of the MRCS syllabus and the recommended reading required for the examination. The document also provides essential information on the format of both Part A (MCQ) and Part B (OSCE), sample questions and our standard-setting process.


MRCS Part A standard setting process

This document provides information to candidates as to how the standard setting for the MRCS Part A examination is carried out:

MRCS Part A standard setting process


Remote exam delivery - Candidate Resources

From September 2020, the MRCS Part A will be delivered remotely using the Examplify system provided by ExamSoft. Below are some resources to aid candidates in preparing to take the exam on their own device:

This resource provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the remote delivery of the MRCS Part A

Frequently Asked Questions

This resource provides candidates with guidance on the remote delivery MRCS Part A and detailed instructions for what to do in advance and on the day of the exam

MRCS Part A Online Candidate Guide

This resource shows candidates some Dos and Don'ts for preparing and setting up on the day of the exam

Candidate Set-up Guide

This resource provides candidates with guidance on how to ensure their exam room is adequately lit for the exam

Camera + Lighting Guide


Candidate guidance

 MRCS Part A MCQ candidate guidance notes

From 1 January 2017, the Part A exam will be a 5-hour MCQ examination consisting of a three-hour paper (Applied Basic Sciences) followed by a two-hour paper (Principles of Surgery in General) - both taken on the same day.

This document provides candidates with information about the exam proceedings itself including registration, admittance to the exam hall, malpractice and the results-release process.

 MRCS Part B OSCE candidate guidance notes and instructions 

 MRCS OSCE Candidate Briefing

The MRCS Part B normally consists of 18 stations assessing the knowledge and skills of the candidate and will last approximately 3.5 hours.

These documents provide candidates with information relating to the MRCS Part B exam including the format of the exam, assessment domains, the marking and standard setting process, malpractice regulations, release of results, and how the exam will be run on the day. 


Privacy policy notice

From September 2020, the MRCS Part A will be delivered remotely using Examplify, a computer-based exam system provided by ExamSoft. Please read the Privacy Policy below for details of how personal data collected in the system will be used:

ICBSE Surgical Exams Privacy Policy Notice