Final FRCR (Part A) exam

Also known as "the 2A exam"


 

 Contents


 

Overview

After passing the First FRCR exams (anatomy and physics), the next step is to pass the Final FRCR (Part A) exam.  The FRCR 2A exam consists of 2 papers sat on the same day; each paper containing 120 single-best-answer questions (240 questions in total).  Each paper lasts 3 hours.

 Two papers, One exam

  • The exam is split into two papers purely to allow for a break during the 6 hour assessment.  The papers comprise one exam and there is no concept of passing one paper.  The pass mark and results issued related to the one single exam.

Candidates are examined on all aspects of clinical radiology and this exam must be passed before a candidate can attempt the Final FRCR (Part B) exam.  The exam can only be attempted after a minimum of 2 years of formal radiology training (i.e. ST3).

The exam is made up of 40 questions from each of the following subspecialties:

  • Cardiothoracic and Vascular
  • Musculoskeletal and Trauma
  • Gastro-intestinal
  • Genito-urinary, Adrenal, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Breast
  • Paediatric
  • Central Nervous and Head & Neck

Both papers will be completely mixed and contain questions from all subspecialties.  The results after the exam will be broken down by subspecialty so you receive feedback on your strong and weak areas.  The pass and fail will be based purely on overall percentage.

The examinations are held twice a year in December and June.  Exact exam dates can be found on the RCR website here.  We recommend starting revision as early as possible (mid-ST2).  More information including sample questions can be found at the Royal College of Radiologists website.

 

Top tips for the 2A exam

 

  1. Apply for the examination in good time

    • Many trainees (and we know this has happened to some of our colleagues) forget that the exam application deadline comes pretty early and miss out by applying too late.  You must ensure that you receive confirmation that your application was received by the college (by e-mail or letter) BEFORE the deadline, even if it was submitted online.  Always apply at least 2-3 weeks before the deadline.

  2. Do lots of practise questions

    • Probably the most important tip!  Practise questions get you used to the style of the exam and are a great way to learn.  We recommend the following approach for each question:

      1. Attempt the question
      2. Understand the answer
      3. Spend time reading around each of the stems of the single best answer (SBA) question

  3. Invest in several question books, a general radiology textbook and a reference text

    • Question books are a must (see point 2).  It is also worth getting a general radiology textbook such as Grainger & Allison’s Diagnostic Radiology, Fundamentals of Diagnostic Radiology (Brant & Helms) or Primer of Diagnostic Imaging (Weissleder).  These are good to read through before starting the practise questions and will give you a good overview of the sort of topics you will need to cover in more detail.  Lastly a reference text is an absolute must.  Radiology Café recommends the Radiology Review Manual by Wolfgang Dahnert.  You will not be expected to learn this cover to cover (as that will probably take all of your free time!), but when looking things up and reading around questions, few others books have the required level of detail that Dahnert does.

  4. Mark the answer sheet clearly

    • A computer is used to read the answer sheets so mark them clearly with a HB pencil. If you place an incorrect mark, ensure you rub it out fully!

  5. Don't be discouraged if you fail

    • The 2A exam is tough.  Just remember that when you come to retake, you will have already done half of the work!  You probably just need that little bit extra to pass!

 

FRCR 2A revision books


Essential:

Radiology Review Manual
Wolfgang Dahnert

Radiology Review Manual

The essential radiology reference text.  It has everything you need to know about radiology.  The 2A exams often ask you about the smallest of details straight out of this book.  I used this as a reference while revising for the exams and it is well worth it.  Strongly recommended.

 

Fundamentals of Skeletal Radiology
Clyde Helms

Fundamentals of Skeletal Radiology

Known as "the pink book".  A superb introduction to musculoskeletal radiology providing a good overview of tricky areas, particularly bone lesions.  Recommend reading cover to cover before doing practise 2A questions.

 

Recommended:

 

Online resources

 

 

If you have anything you would like to add to this page or know of any useful tips/resources for future exam candidates, then please contact us and we will consider adding to this page!