Report on Intercollegiate Specialty Examination Board meeting 5 July 2018

I attended the Intercollegiate Specialty Examination in Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery Board Meeting on the 5th of July 2018.

The following matters were discussed which I would like to bring to the attention of BOTA members.

Both Sections of the exam test higher order thinking. Higher order thinking is representative of critical thinking and problem solving. Its particular value is that it is applicable in novel situations; a critical skill for any Consultant.

Basic Sciences are very difficult to test in higher order thinking. It is most apparent in the application of Basic Science principles and concepts to ‘everyday’ clinical scenarios. Candidates should consider that this may be the focus of a clinical question that is coming up in the Basic Science Viva.

FRCS Section 1 (written exam):

  • Extended Matching Questions appear to be less favoured by exam takers, question writers as well as psychometricians (those who measure the validity, reliability, and fairness of an exam). The Board encourages the conversion to Single Best Answer Questions and this will continue to be put forward to the Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations.
  • When picking a Pearson Vue Examination Centre, if multiple options are available to you, it would behoove you to get information about the ‘lay of the land’. Speak to senior trainees who have sat the written and even consider going to the centre yourself. Find out about traffic, parking, food/drink availability, toilet facilities, locker facilities, what other examinations take place, sources of excess distraction (such as other establishments within the building), etc.
  • During the examination, if you have a problem with a specific test centre, raise an incident report on the day with the test centre. If you wait for the anonymous exam feedback, unless you mention the specific test centre, it will not be possible to identify where the incident took place.

FRCS Section 2 (clinical & viva):

  • Increased examiner and candidate guidance will be provided at respective briefings about Short Cases. The candidate can expect a short introduction about the patient either written or verbal. The candidate may be asked to take a brief history and then perform a focused The candidate should listen to the examiner’s instructions and follow them. He/She should also listen to the examiner’s questions and answer them directly and specifically. Examiners will be instructed to be clear with questions and instructions. Examiners will also, within reason, try to keep candidates on point.