Details of the exam can be found at the Intercollegiate Speciality Board website at http://www.intercollegiate.org.uk/
Angela Birnie attended Standard Setting Process on behalf of SURG at The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to discuss and scrutinise the July 2013 section 1 examination of the FRCS Urol. Angela has produced a report for SURG members which can be viewed via the following link
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I sit the exam?
Most trainees sit the exam during ST5 or ST6. The advantage of taking the exam early to allow you to focus on other aspects of your training must be balanced against the advantage of doing the exam later such that you have gained the relevant clinical experience required to pass the exam.
Am I eligible to apply? How do I apply?
The application process is detailed in the following link
What is the format of the exam?
- Multiple Choice Questions in the format of a 2 hour Single Best Answer paper and a 2 ½ hour Extended Matching Items paper.
- Since January 2011 Section 1 has been invigilated at local ‘Driving Test Centres’.
- The viva section comprises eight 20 minutes vivas examining the breadth of the urology syllabus generally based on common urological clinical scenarios.
- The topics are oncology 1 (kidney and bladder), oncology 2 (prostate, penis, testis), paediatric, emergency, female/neurourology, BPH/andrology, stones/UTI, and technology/imaging.
How should I prepare?
Most people allow themselves 3-4 months to prepare for Section 1. Following the announcement of the results to Section 1 there will typically be a further 3-4 months to prepare for the Section 2.
Everybody has different revision techniques and favoured texts to prepare for Section 1 but most find it helpful to go through as many practice MCQs as possible. It is essential to spend time with your family/friends and ensure that you divide your free time appropriately.
Viva practice is essential when preparing for Section 2. By now you will have most of the knowledge you need to pass the exam but should spend time on improving the delivery of your answers. Many people find it helpful to work as part of a study group. Video conferencing using Skype allows you to practice vivas and discuss areas of uncertainty if you do not live close to others sitting the exam. Ask consultants and trainees who have recently passed the exam to give you mock vivas and consider spending some time with radiologists, oncologists, nephrologists, histopathologists, etc. to refine your knowledge of some perhaps weaker topics.
Which texts should I use?
- Campbell’s Urology – Some consider reading all four volumes of Campbell’s a right of passage. By all means read it (bold text only) but do not try to learn it and it may be better used as a reference book.
- Campbell’s Urology MCQs – A little out of date and often the standard is set above that of the real exam.
- Scientific Basis of Urology – Useful for Section 1
- Comprehensive Urology – No longer in print
- Essential Paediatric Urology – You do not need any other paediatric text – Also attend the BAPU course – see below
- Viva Practice for the FRCS(Urol) Examination – A must have for Section 2
- Oxford Handbook – A fantastic scaffold on which to hang the rest of your knowledge
- EAU Guidelines – http://www.uroweb.org/?id=217&tyid=1
- NICE Quick Reference Guides
Which courses should I attend?
BAUS FRCS (Urol) course
Contact Hannah Doyle: firstname.lastname@example.org
European Urology Residents Education Programme
Rapid Revision Course for the FRCS(Urol) Examination
BAPU – If you have not already attended this excellent residential course it would be an excellent aid to revision for this part of the exam.
What happens if I fail the exam?
Do not worry if you fail the exam. Nobody will think any the less of you as a clinician or a person. It is merely an inconvenience.
According to the 2012 regulations the following will apply:
Section 1: Candidates will have a two year period from their 1st attempt with a maximum of 4 attempts with no re-entry. Candidates who have achieved the required standard in Section 1 and have been granted eligibility to proceed to Section 2 the following will apply:
Section 2: Candidates will have a maximum of 3 attempts with no re-entry
Please also see http://www.intercollegiate.org.uk/Content/content.aspx?ID=21
http://www.urologyuk.net/ – A useful resource for practice questions with answers.
http://www.webpathology.com/ – It is worthwhile looking at some histopathology images.
Astra Zeneca MCQs – A little dated now.
FRCS (Urol) Kit – An Excel spreadsheet with some useful facts and practice questions.