I am writing to give you all a heads up about the FRCS (Tr & Ortho) Exam. I am sure you would be aware of what is required but felt it may be useful to give you my own account of the whole process leading up to Part 1 (can’t speak about Part 2 yet).
Having a study buddy greatly helps with the preparation to motivate each other to revise and not to loose focus (helps for Part 1 as well from my own experience).
The Part 1 exam is very much different to all the available resources. UKITE come closest but I personally felt the exam was more difficult and vague compared to UKITE.
During the actual exam time is very critical. You need to complete the exam in the allocated time, which sometimes can be demanding. Hence the more you practise the better you get.
Feb 2019 Sitting.
• The MCQs were a bit tough but manageable.
• However the EMQs were a different ball game. Majority of the EMQs were very vague with minimal clinical information requiring one to make a reasonable judgement of the answer – which basically relies very much of background clinical knowledge.
• The exam itself is taxing (in spite of all the practise you have done) – half way through the EMQs I was feeling very tired and definitely exhausted after the exam – few others who sat the exam in Feb felt the same.
• Anatomy was the key for the Feb 2019 Part 1 sitting. Not sure if this was the case previously. These were all applied anatomy questions assessing anatomical relations etc – all the questions required to go through at least 2 hurdles to get to the answer.
• Know you anatomy well – read a good book. Miller’s textbook has a good synopsis of anatomy but I know it is difficult to read.
• Millers audio lectures / podcast are good to listen whilst driving – 40hrs of lectures covers the whole breadth of orthopaedics. It’s a bit dated (2006-7) but still good place to start off.
• Orthobullets is good resource for background knowledge but my feeling is that it didn’t help much for the exam, as the questioning style for FRCS is very different. It give you the background knowledge but you still need to practise FRCS style questions.
• The exam tests your background knowledge, which you would have gained from different clinical situations with a majority of questions testing applied clinical knowledge. So learn and take in as much information as you go along through training.
Resources: the below are the resources which I felt are good for Part 1.
• Review Questions in Orthopaedics (Blackbook). This is an old book but great explanation, takes a lot of time to read.
• BJJ Exam corner – stretches your knowledge
The exam requires a significant amount of preparation so please don’t take the exam lightly. You may have heard some previous trainees say they prepared for 1-2 month before the exam and still passed – I would suggest don’t leave this to luck unless you are already well prepared.
It is better to be over prepared than under prepared for the exam. The Doctors mess at Oswestry has this quote – ‘FAIL TO PREPARE = PREPARE TO FAIL’ which sums up everything I wanted to say (The Oswestry training programme has been talked about as having the best teaching programme).
I understand that some of you may be considering sitting the Part 1 in Nov 2019 so plan your preparation. Hopefully I have been able to give you my thoughts about the Part 1. I will give you all an update following my Part 2 exam. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.
K H Sunil Kumar
ST7 Trauma & Orthopaedics
East of England T&O Training Programme