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Exam Format

The FRCS Tr & Ortho examination is divided into 2 sections.

It is mandatory to pass section 1 in order for candidates to be granted eligibility to proceed to section 2 of the examination.

Candidates will have up to a maximum of 7 years to complete the examination process as follows:

  • Section 1

Computer-Based Test (CBT) of Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs)

Candidates will have a two-year period from their 1st attempt with a maximum of 4 attempts with no re‐entry.

  • Section 2

The Clinical and Oral component of the examination.

Candidates will have a maximum of 4 attempts with no re‐entry.

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Section 1

This section of the exam is sat at Pearson View centres around the UK 3 times/year.

As of January 2021, the section 1 format has changed across all specialties.


Paper 1: 110 Single Best Answer (SBA) Questions (2 hours)

Paper 2: 135 Extended Matching Item (EMI) Questions (2 hours 30 minutes)


Paper 1: 120 Single Best Answer (SBA) Questions (2 hours 15 minutes)

Paper 2: 120 Single Best Answer (SBA) Questions (2 hours 15 minutes)

Each paper is carefully prepared and designed to assess the knowledge of candidates across the content of the Trauma and Orthopaedic curriculum using questions of higher-order thinking.  

SBA questions contain 5 possible answers for the candidates to choose from. Please note that this is NOT a ‘Single Correct Answer’ but a ‘Single Best Answer’. This means that all 5 possible answers could be ‘correct’ but candidates are asked which is the ‘Best’ answer given the information presented in the stem.

There is no negative marking in this exam.

The pass or eligibility to proceed mark is not fixed and is decided through a process of ‘Standard Setting’ performed by trained and experienced examiners providing a unique pass mark for each exam setting.

Questions of the exam are subjected to extensive assessments and scrutinization process. Questions that are deemed to be ‘Too hard’ or ‘Too easy’ are likely to be removed from consideration.

Section 2

This is ‘Clinical’ part of the exam.

It consists of Patient-based and Scenario-based assessments.


Patient-based is divided into:
1- Two Intermediate cases (15 minutes/case)

  •  1x Case – Upper limb/Cervical Spine
  •  1x Case – Lower limb/ Lumbar spine

2- Six Short cases (5 minutes/case)

  • 3x Cases – Upper limb
  • 3x Cases – Lower limb


Scenario-based (Oral/VIVA examination) is divided into:

  • Elective Orthopaedics (30 minutes)
  • Trauma (30 minutes)
  • Children’s Orthopaedics/Hand and Upper Limb (30 minutes)
  • Basic Science (30 minutes)
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