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The Pastest Complete Guide to MRCS B OSCE Exam
  • 20 Feb 2024
  • MRCS

What is the MRCS Part B Exam? 

 The MRCS Part B is the final examination required to gain membership to the Royal College of Surgeons. This exam assesses the suitability of a surgical trainee based on the following criteria:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills & Attributes

Following completion of this exam, surgical trainees are awarded a postgraduate diploma, granting membership to one of the four Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.

These four Royal Colleges of Surgeons are:

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

The Royal College of Surgeons of England

The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland

What Speciality Training Can I Enter After Passing MRCS Part B?

Being awarded this postgraduate diploma shows that you have the required knowledge, experience and clinical competence to complete core training and progress to speciality training. Speciality training options include:

Specialty Options Following MRCS B

The requirements and deadlines for completing the MRCS vary across the specialities listed. Always check the individual person specification for the speciality you’re interested in pursuing.

First-time applicants whose names do not appear on the Registers of the UK General Medical Council or Medical Council in Ireland must submit their original certificate (or an authenticated copy) of a medical qualification acceptable to the Councils of the four Colleges.

Full details can be found in the Intercollegiate MRCS Regulations document.

Membership of any of the four Royal Colleges of Surgeons is highly respected within the medical profession and provides a range of benefits to its members, including:

  1. Professional development: Members have access to a range of educational resources and opportunities, including courses, workshops, and conferences, as well as a comprehensive e-learning platform.
  2. Networking: Membership provides opportunities to network with other healthcare professionals from around the world, enabling members to build valuable connections and collaborations.
  3. Recognition: Membership is a mark of professional excellence and demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care.
  4. Support: Members have access to a range of support services, including advice and guidance on professional and personal issues.

How Do I Prepare for the MRCS Part B?
Understand the MRCS B Exam Format

The BMJ recommend that candidates allow four to six months to prepare for MRCS Part B. The exam is divided into 2 components, “knowledge” and “skills”. Candidates must pass both components to pass the MRCS Part B exam. The exam consists of twenty stations, each lasting ten minutes. There are eighteen examining stations and two preparation stations. Candidates are given a one-minute reading time in which there are clearly defined instructions, briefly outlining the scenario and describing the task.


The knowledge component is eight stations covering four subject areas, including three anatomy, two pathology, three critical care and applied surgical science stations.


The skills component covers 10 stations: four physical examinations, two generic surgical skills and four communication skill stations. The communication skills involve two history-taking and two information-giving components (i.e referral, breaking bad news, and consent)

Exam Preparation

MRCS Part B is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Preparation for this exam differs heavily from Part A.  There are many resources available to help you effectively prepare for this exam.

The Pastest MRCS Part B resource is an excellent resource to help you prepare. You are featuring 227 Exam-Focused stations, supported by anatomy images, exam speciality videos, and detailed station summaries, downloadable role-play PDFs that allow you to take the role of patient, candidate, and examiner.

It would also be useful to review the MRCS Part B syllabus to ensure your exam preparation remains consistent with the expectations of the exam body (MRCS). Helpful information from the syllabus can include an overview of the exam. You can also find a list of textbooks recommended for your revision.

What are the Best Textbooks to Revise for MRCS Part B?

  • Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (13th ed.)
  • Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology (25th ed.)
  • Last’s Anatomy: Regional and Applied (12th ed.)
  • Essential revision notes for Intercollegiate MRCS: book 1 (2006)
  • Access to surgery: 500 single best answers in general & systemic physiology (2007)
  • Surgical critical care for the MRCS OSCE (2015)
  • Physical examination for surgeons: an aid to the MRCS OSCE (2015)
  • SBA MCQs for the MRCS Part A (2013)
  • MRCS Part A: 500 SBAs and EMQs (2013)
  • Intercollegiate MRCS part A: SBAs and EMQs: mock papers with comprehensive answers (2013)
  • Principles and Practice of Surgery (7th ed.)
  • Robbins Basic Pathology (10th ed.)
  • Gray’s Basic Anatomy, (2nd ed.)
  • Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy (2nd ed.)
  • Gray’s Anatomy (2016)
  • Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy (7th ed.)
  • Last’s Anatomy, (12th ed.)
  • Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology, (13th ed.)
  • Netter’s Clinical Anatomy (4th ed.)

What are the Exam Costs, Locations & Dates for the MRCS Part B this year?

The MRCS Part B exam is usually held in February and May. However, applications for the February Exam are closed. You can currently apply for the May Exam sitting however applications close on the 29th February 2024.

The dates and locations of each exam for the four Royal Colleges of Surgeons can be found below:



MRCS Part B Exam Window

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow


10th May 2024


14-15th May 2024

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh


4-6th May 2024


8-9th May 2024


14th-15th May 2024

The Royal College of Surgeons of England


4-19th May 2024


4-19th May 2024


4-19th May 2024

The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland


8-9th May 2024

International exams are limited, and many upcoming dates are no longer accepting applications as they are fully booked. For international dates, it’s worthwhile regularly checking the Royal College of Surgeons’ websites, which can be found above. (Link in table)

The exam fee for the MRCS Part B February and May 2024 exams is £1047.

How Do I Sit the MRCS Part B Exam?

According to the Royal College of Surgeons England website, the MRCS Part B Exam is delivered in person at the Royal Colleges of Surgeons Exam Suit for candidates applying for the RCS England Exam.

Overseas examinations will be delivered in a hybrid format. It will partially be sat at the exam centre indicated; however, some stations will be conducted via video call.

How Do I Become Eligible to Sit the MRCS Part B?

To be eligible to sit the MRCS exam, you must hold a medical degree that is acceptable to the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for full or provisional registration or to the Medical Council in Ireland for full or temporary registration.

First-time applicants whose names do not appear on the registers of the GMC or Medical Council (Ireland) must submit their original certificate (or an authenticated copy) of a medical degree acceptable to the councils of the four colleges.

Full details on candidate eligibility can be found on the intercollegiate MRCS exam website.  and as expected, to sit MRCS Part B, you must pass MRCS Part A.

Visa Applications for MRCS Part B

For candidates who require a visa to travel to the UK for the MRCS Part B exam, the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) can provide a visa letter to support their application. This letter must be requested by the candidate as it isn’t automatically produced.

To obtain a visa letter from the RCS, candidates should follow the steps below:

  1. Check visa requirements: Candidates should first check the visa requirements for their country of residence to ensure that they require a visa to travel to the UK for the exam.
  2. Register for the exam: Candidates should register for the MRCS Part B exam through the official website of the RCS.
  3. Request a visa letter: Once registered for the exam, candidates can request a visa letter from the RCS by contacting the Membership Services team via email or phone. Candidates should provide their full name, passport details, and the dates of the exam in their request.
  4. Submit visa application: Once the candidate receives the visa letter, they can use it to support their visa application to the UK authorities. It is important to note that the visa application process can take several weeks, and candidates should plan accordingly to ensure they have sufficient time to obtain their visa before the exam.

Learning Disability Guidelines for MRCS Part B

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is committed to providing equal opportunities for all candidates who wish to sit for the MRCS Part B exam, including those with learning disabilities. To ensure that candidates with learning disabilities can access the exam and perform to the best of their abilities, a set of guidelines has been developed by the RCS that outlines the support available to these candidates.

Candidates applying for extra exam time, or allowances, need to supply a full educational psychologist’s report with their exam application form. The minimum age candidates should have had their educational assessment completed is 16. An educational assessment that has taken place within 26 months of the actual exam will also be accepted. Candidates with learning disabilities are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the guidelines and to request any necessary adjustments promptly to ensure a smooth and successful exam experience.

All candidates applying for extra allowances should apply to sit their exams in London.

Candidates must submit this report with their exam application form. Candidates applying online are required to send the original copy of their educational psychologist’s report to the Examinations Department within one week of applying.

How Will I be Marked on the MRCS Part B?

Each MRCS Part B station is marked out of a total of 20 marks on a structured mark scheme and in addition, candidates will be awarded a separate, overall global rating for the station as a failure, borderline or pass based on the judgment of the examiners at that station.

The 8 Applied Knowledge stations (anatomy, surgical pathology and surgical sciences and critical care) give a score out of 160 marks and the 9 Applied Skills stations give a score out of 180 marks.

Each individual station within the MRCS Part B is assessed in two ways: 

  • A structured mark sheet determines the award for each section, while generic descriptors are used to identify and guide examiners in allocating the marks. There is a standardised distribution of marks across content areas.

  • An overall judgement is made on the candidate’s performance at the station as a whole, concluding in either a pass, borderline or fail.

For each station, you will receive a mark out of 20, alongside an overall judgement of your performance. The marks and global ratings are used to determine an overall pass mark for each station. This is done by an approach known as borderline regression methodology.

Is it Hard to Pass MRCS Part B?

The highest pass rate for MRCS Part B is 75%, which was recorded during the autumn 2020 exams. More candidates tend to pass Part B of the exam than Part A. However, you only get four attempts to complete Part B, whereas with Part A you get six opportunities to pass.

How difficult you find MRCS Part B will largely depend on your preparation. While knowledge is an integral component of MRCS Part B, using the right exam technique is crucial. Therefore, you must learn how to extract and present your knowledge in response to each exam question.

The exam board indicates the pass rate for MRCS Part B is around 70%. The highest pass rate recorded for the exam is 75% which was recorded in the August 2020 exam. This is much higher than the pass rate of 43.4% recorded in May 2022. However, you can take six attempts at MRCS Part A and only four for Part B, making each attempt extremely valuable.

For further information on how Pastest can assist you to pass the MRCS B check out our other blogs, as well as our MRCS B subscription which can be purchased here.

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Good luck!

  • 20 Feb 2024
  • MRCS