It’s a good certificate that provides you with the chance to work in many countries including the UK. After you finish it, you will be a Member Of The Royal College Of Surgeons, but this doesn’t mean you are a good surgeon; if you aren’t a good surgeon and passed the MRCS, you will not be a good one & if you are a good surgeon and didn’t pass the MRCS, you still will be a good one.


It is just a good paper, not a training program.


Now, if you decided to take the MRCS; it has 2 parts –

Part APaper 1Basic science (Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, and a little Microbiology)180 SBA questions3 hours
Paper 2General surgery135 questions, SBA + EMQ2 hours
Part BApplied Knowledge

3 Anatomy stations

2 Pathology/microbiology stations

3 Applied science and critical care stations

Total 160 Marks for 8 stationsAbout 4 hours for the 18-20 stations of OSCE
Applied Skills

2 Procedural skill stations

2 History taking stations

4 Physical examination stations

2 Communication station (information giving or receiving to colleagues/patients/relatives)

2 Reading stations (prior to the communication station with pen and paper provided for you to read and prepare a script)

Total 200 Marks for 10 stations



Please Note: Part B OSCEs  are changing in structure every year, so it’s better to check recent pattern from the Royal College website.


I passed part A at 9, 2016 and I’m going to prepare for part B very soon. So I will talk about my own experience for the Part A exam only.




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Preparing for Part A:

  1.      Books
  2.      Imp. Topics
  3.      Preparing for the exam
  4.      Last day
  5.      Inside the exam



Applied Basic ScienceAndrew Raftery
AnatomySameh DossHis Surgical Anatomy book is the best. It covers Upper Limb, Lower Limb, Abdomen, Head & Neck, Thorax.
General SurgeryPastest books 1,2


Important Topics Which You Must Study from Books

AnatomyIt’s the cornerstone of MRCS. GIT, nerves of upper limb, nerves of lower limbBest from surgical anatomy Sameh DossStudy anatomy well as it has the highest marks and the highest efficacy (the more time you give it, the more marks it gives you); but don’t waste time in bones and ligaments
PhysiologyGeneral, cardiovascularfrom Andrew Raftery
PathologyNeoplasm, Microbiology, Immunityfrom Andrew Raftery
General SurgeryTRAUMA, ABG, hip and shoulder disorders, GIT surgery (hernia, acute abdomen, large bowel).

The Nutshell paragraphs in the following

preoperative assessments –

  1. Anesthetic agents
  2. Skin lesions
  3. Osteoarthritis
  4. Inguinoscrotal swellings
  5. Testicular tumors
  6. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  7. DVT and its TTT (heparin, Warfarin)
  8. Breast
  9. Thyroid and parathyroid

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Preparing for the exam

About 50% of the exam measures your general medical knowledge which needs you to concentrate inside the exam.


You MUST answer as many Qbooks as you can.


All my seniors told me to start first by answering questions then read the important topics, but I didn’t follow their honest advice and I was mistaken for this.


It is better to start by easy question books that will help you to know the important parts to highlight during studying; because not everything is important, then advance to harder books that strengthen your level and upgrade you.


Generally, I think 3 month is a fair enough time for preparing for the exam.


If you answered 10-15 Qs/day … so about 500 Qs/month, for 1st 2 months this very good.


Then in the last month (you should concentrate only on the exam), you should answer at least 100 Qs/day.


So you have answered about 4000 to 5000 Qs in the 3 months, very good.


In the last week you should find books or sites that give you a Q papers similar to the exam and solve it within the specific time (for example 180 SBA Qs on applied basic science in 3 hours; then take rest for 2 hours and answer the next paper – 135 Qs on GS in 2 hours)


Note that this will take almost the whole day, as you will just have time to revise your answers for the 300 Qs of the 2 papers, but you will feel the experience of the exam.


A link to the name of the books I followed –


You should start by Bailey and Love Qbook for both papers.


Always mark the good Qs with tricks or new ideas, so you can solve them again.


REMEMBER: The more Q you solve, the more ideas you have.


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Last Day Before The Exam

My advice is to revise the surgical anatomy book.


Then revise the most tricky Qs in your books (that you have previously marked).


Then if you still have time, revise the nutshell box of the important topics.


SLEEP early and for enough hours, because the exam day is so long and hard.




Go on time and take your pencil, rubber, and watch.


Don’t waste time in one question, each Q has only 1 minute or less to be answered.


Mark any Q that needs revision in the Q paper, if you have time at the end of the exam you can revise it, but don’t leave any Q unanswered.


The last 5-10 Qs are usually easy, so you must finish all the Qs.


The wrong answers won’t affect your score.


TIME is your enemy, so you have to concentrate and be fast.


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The 2 hours rest, you must rest your brain, don’t talk too much, don’t revise your answers (and in my opinion don’t study anything for the next paper); just drink coffee or tea with dark chocolate to refresh your mind and concentrate again.


The 2nd paper is usually harder than the first one; if you feel like your brain has gone out and you can’t concentrate, it is OK – we all felt the same – just take 1 minute to relax and continue.


In this paper, I didn’t know the right answer of so many Qs, but I continued until the end and fortunately, I passed.


These sites may help you with more information – 

The Royal College of Surgeons – Official website

New MRCS Part A Rules 2017 – an YouTube video

MRCS resource – a website


At the end, I wish you all the best of luck.




Basem Fares Habib




Image designing by Arnab Mukherjee.




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