MRCS exam

Membership of the Royal Colleges of the Surgeons (MRCS) is actually just like MRCP is a postgraduate diploma for the surgeons, wishing to practice safe surgery in the UK or Ireland.  The MRCS qualification consists of a multi-part examination including both theory and practical assessments. MRCS exam is designed for surgical trainees in the generality part of specialty training.

What is MRCS exam?

Anyone who wishes to pursue a surgical career in the UK or the Ireland is well aware of the fact that the MRCS examinations are a very crucial millstone in achieving their goal. The MRCS examination will determine whether a surgical trainee possesses the correct knowledge, skills, and attributes to complete basic training and to progress to higher levels of specialist surgical training.

MRCS examinations are aimed to assess trainee surgeons in the breadth of both basic sciences and the principles of the surgery. The MRCS is fully recognized by both the Irish Medical Council and the General Medical Council of the UK.

You are expected to successfully pass all the stages of this examination if you wish to work as a surgeon in the UK or Ireland. You will be awarded Certificates of completion of Core Surgical Training after you successfully pass all the stages.

Doctors from outside Europe can also apply to work as the trained surgeons in the UK or Ireland after they successfully pass all the stages of the MRCS. For the international students, MRCS is a very competitive, tough, and very time-consuming exam. You will have to study very hard if you are wishing to pursue a surgical career in the UK.

The MRCS examination is conducted in collaboration of the common sharing of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of the United Kingdom and the Royal College of the Surgeons of Ireland.

Who Conduct MRCS exam?

In the past, the MRCS examinations were conducted separately by all the 4 Royal Colleges of Surgeons of UK and Ireland. With some new changes in the recent history, MRCS examination is now conducted on the Intercollegiate Basis by the Royal Medical Colleges. After you successfully pass all the stage of the MRCS examinations, you will be eligible to obtain the Postgraduate Diploma from any of the below mentioned Royal Colleges:

  • Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

These 4 Royal Colleges of Surgeons share the 2-part MRCS assessment examination in the general surgery which will enable the International as well as local graduates to work as a specially trained surgeon in the UK or Ireland.

Aims and Objectives of the MRCS Exam

AS it is already mentioned, pursuing a Surgical Career in the UK is a very nail-biting process. You have to be very patient and hard working if you are looking to pursue a surgical career in the UK. The MRCS examination is aimed at testing your basic sciences knowledge, communication skills, and the basic surgical training. The main aims and objectives of the MRCS examination, in a nutshell, are compiled below:

  • To test the basic medical sciences knowledge, skills and the basic surgical skills
  • To assess the communication skills and the professionalism of the candidate
  • To make post-graduate surgeons work as specialist surgeons in the UK
  • To make you eligible for the Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of the Surgeons (FRCS)
  • The ultimate objective is to ensure that the surgeons being recruited are skilled enough to meet the market demand in the UK or Ireland


Components of the MRCS Exam

The MRCS is a 2-part assessment examination for those graduates who are wishing to become trained surgeons in the UK. A brief overview of the MRCS components given below:

Examination Pattern
MRCS Part 1 Written (MCQ’s)
MRCS Part 2 OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Assessment)


In this table, it is clearly mentioned that the MRCS is broken into 2 individual components. One part is written the examination and one part is the clinical assessment.

Now, we will throw some light on both the parts individually.

MRCS Exam Part 1 (Part A)

Part A of the Intercollegiate MRCS is an entry-level exam for both the local and the international candidates to become trained surgeons in the UK or Ireland. To achieve a pass in Part A, you will be required to demonstrate a minimum level of competence in each paper in addition to achieving or exceeding the pass mark set for the combined total mark for Part A. Given below is a brief description of the Part A exam.

What is asked? Generic Surgical Sciences and the Applied Knowledge regarding basic medical sciences and the surgery.

The format of the Exam: Part A is broken down into two Papers. Below table will clear the idea:

Paper What is asked? Time MCQ’s
A Applied Basic Sciences 3 Hours 180 (Best Choice)
B General Principles of Surgery 2 Hours 120 (combination of Extended Matching and Single Best Choice)


Time Length: 5 Hours, 1-day exam.

When to take? After graduation.

Test Centers: There are many different test centers In the UK, and Ireland as well as Internationally. Some of the Test Centers are mentioned below;

  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • London
  • India (New Delhi, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad and many more cities)
  • Pakistan (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, and many more cities)
  • Bangladesh (Chittagong)
  • UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Malaysia
  • Afghanistan (Kabul)
  • Oman
  • Bahrain
  • Ghana
  • South Korea
  • Lebanon
  • Cyprus
  • Kenya

Besides these, there are many other countries where MRCS Part A exam is conducted.

Eligibility Criteria: Eligibility Criteria is very simple for the MRCS examination:

  • You must have completed your primary medical qualification (MBBS) from the institutions listed in the directory of Medical Council of Ireland and the General Medical Council of UK.

Although clinical experience is not an eligibility requirement for the MRCS part A exam, it is highly recommended that you should take your clinical rotations for at least 8-10 months in surgery.


MRCS Exam Part 2 (OSCE)

Part 2 of the MRCS examination is simply the Objective Structured Clinical Exam. Part B is the MRCS is aimed at testing your basic surgical scientific knowledge and its application to the clinical surgery. Its purpose to test of knowledge in Part A and assesses how you are able to integrate knowledge and apply it in clinically appropriate contexts. This is done through a series of stations reflecting elements of day-to-day clinical practice. Given below is a brief overview of the MRCS part B exam;

What is asked? Part B of the MRCS is OSCE which is aimed to test:

  • Applied Knowledge-consisting of Anatomy, Surgical pathology, applied surgical sciences, and critical care.
  • Applied Skills- consisting of communication skills in giving and receiving information, history taking and clinical & procedural skills.
  • In Addition, the candidate’s knowledge, skills, competencies and professional characteristics are assessed across all the OSCE stations as follows:

-Clinical Knowledge and its applications

-clinical and technical skills



The format of the Exam: The OSCE of Part B consists of 18 examined stations each of 9 minutes duration.

Station What is asked? Time length
Station 1-8





Basic Surgical Knowledge Assessment.

Pathology stations

Anatomy Stations

Critical Care Stations

(Total=72 minutes)


18 Minutes

27 Minutes

27 Minutes

Station 9-18





Surgical Skills Assessment

Clinical Examination

Communication Skills

History Taking

Procedural Skills

(Total=90 Minutes)

36 Minutes

18 Minutes

18 minutes

18 Minutes


Time Length: 172 minutes

When to take?  It is highly recommended that after passing your MRCS part A exam you should go for MRCS exam Part B after you have completed 18 months experience in surgery.

Test Centers: There are only limited test centers which conduct MRCS Part B exam:

  • London
  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh
  • Dublin
  • Bahrain
  • Malaysia
  • UAE
  • India
  • Egypt
  • Bangladesh

Eligibility Criteria: The only eligibility criterion to take MRCS Part B exam is:

  • Passing MRCS Part A examination


Is IELTS required for MRCS exam?

IELTS is not required to pass your MRCS examination. ILETS is required when you apply for the registration with GMC.

IELTS Component Scores Needed
Speaking 7  bands
Listening 7  bands
Writing 7  bands
Reading 7 bands
Overall 7.5 Bands


Scoring Method of MRCS Exam

The scoring criteria for the MRCS examinations are given in the below-mentioned table:

Examination Passing Score
MRCS part A 180-200/280-300 (70%)
MRCS part B Pass/Fail


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Fee Structure of MRCS Exam

The fee structure for the MRCS Examinations is tabulated below:

Examination Fee
MRCS Part A £526 in the UK

£500-£650 for International Centers

£595 in Ireland

MRCS Par B £953-£990 in the UK

£1095 in Ireland

£1150-£1200 for International Centers


Registration Procedure for MRCS Exam

To register yourself for MRCS examinations, kindly follow the below-mentioned links:

Roadmap to MRCS Exam in a Nutshell

 Screenshot 56 - What is the MRCS Exam? [MRCS Part A Exam and MRCS Part B Exam]


A word from Author

If there is anything missing mention it below in the comment box. Feel free to drop an email at for any queries and questions.


  1. Is it better to go for MRCS Exam after graduation rather than PLAB if one aims for pursuing a surgical degree??
    Thanks a lot in advance for the reply


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