I attended the meeting of the JCIE at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on behalf of BOTA.  I would like to bring the following matters to the attention of the membership:

International FRCS exam

The Joint Surgical Colleges are starting to run an international version of the FRCS(Tr & Orth) examination.  This will be held in centres overseas and will be like the UK version of the exam.  UK trainees should be aware that an attempt at the international version of the exam will count towards your number of attempts at the FRCS(Tr & Orth) exam.  You have a maximum of four attempts to pass the exam and after this you are no longer able to sit the exam.  Therefore, any attempt at the exam counts towards this.  For example, a candidate could attempt the UK exam twice and the international exam twice and this would count as all eligible attempts.

NICE, BOA & SIGN guidelines etc

Trainees need to be aware that the exam is designed to enable a successful candidate to practice anywhere in the UK and Ireland.  It is therefore prudent to be aware of variations across the jurisdiction of the exam.  Therefore, candidates should be aware that if the curriculum includes any guidelines then these will be ‘fair game’ for being asked in the exam.

Furthermore, from a personal point of view, the majority of these guidelines are developed around a good evidence base and would be a good starting point of for the discussion of more complex concepts and an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the topic.

Mitigating circumstances and adjustments

I would like to draw your attention to the section of the exam guidance detailing the procedure for application for mitigating circumstances and adjustments.  In particular, it is important that if anything happens to you close to the exam that you feel will affect your performance then you need to inform the exam secretariat appropriately.  These are covered in the guidance notes sections 8-13:


The mitigating circumstances guidance can be found at;