Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) is an intercollegiate exam for surgical trainees who wish to become a member of one of the four surgical royal colleges in the UK and Ireland.

The award of this postgraduate diploma indicates that you have the necessary knowledge, experience, and clinical competence to complete core training and progress to specialty training.


Part A of the MRCS is a five-hour multiple choice exam, consisting of two papers, which must be completed on the same day (one AM and one PM). It assesses generic surgical sciences, applied knowledge and core knowledge required in all nine speciality areas. 

The two papers are as follows:

  • Paper 1 – applied basic sciences
    • When: AM
    • Duration: three hours – divided into two 90-minute sections with a 10 minute comfort break in between
    • Number of questions: 180
  • Paper 2 – principles of surgery in general
    • When: PM
    • Duration: two hours
    • Number of questions: 120


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