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 (MCQ) standard setting process

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

MRCS Part A standard setting process


MRCS Part B (OSCE) standard setting process

This document provides information to candidates as to how the standard setting for the MRCS Part B (OSCE) examination is carried out:

MRCS Part B standard setting process


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.

From May 2022, the Part A exam will be delivered in partnership with Pearson Vue at their network of computer-based test centres. Further information can be found on the relevant section of this website that describes the processes involved in delivering the exam with Pearson Vue.

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

MRCS Part B OSCE candidate guidance notes and instructions 

MRCS OSCE Candidate Briefing

From October 2021, the MRCS Part B will consist of 17 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, misconduct regulations, release of results, and how the exam will be run on the day.