FRCR - a guide for overseas radiology doctors

  • April 10, 2020
 

Overseas radiologists taking the postgraduate route to GMC registration must attain FRCR.

IMGs from any country in the world can sit the FRCR examinations, provided certain eligibility criteria are met. These are summarised below along with a broad look at the following topics:


The Royal College of Radiologists is the professional body responsible for the specialty of clinical radiology and clinical oncology throughout the UK. Amongst many other duties, its role is to set and monitor the educational curriculum for those training to enter these professions.


What is FRCR? 

Radiologists become full members of the Royal College of Radiology and achieve the designation FRCR once they have passed three separate postgraduate medical exams. The FRCR examinations aim to test a candidate’s knowledge and clinical understanding against the Specialty Training Curriculum for Clinical Radiology. 

Only full FRCR satisfies postgraduate requirements for GMC registration for an overseas doctor. There are three parts to the FRCR examinations:

  • First FRCR - two-part exam, each held on separate days, over a two-day period
  • Final FRCR Part A 
    • two separate single best answer papers

*Final FRCR A must be passed in one sitting in order to be deemed to have achieved overall success in the FRCR Part A

  • Final FRCR Part B 
    • a reporting session
    • a rapid reporting session
    • an oral examination

Full FRCR is a pre-requisite for anyone looking to go onto a specialist training post as a radiologist in the UK.


The FRCR examinations form an essential component of training for Radiologists in the UK. For overseas doctors relocating to the UK, the FRCR is one of two options to support full GMC registration (postgraduate qualification or PLAB route). 

For doctors who wish to secure a senior clinical radiology job in the NHS reflective of their current practice, we advise that FRCR would be the best route to choose. FRCR is often an essential requirement for jobs in radiology such as breast, cardiac, interventional, musculoskeletal and so on. 

Am I eligible? 

First FRCR: 

To be eligible you must:

  • hold a Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) that is recognised by the GMC for registration purposes.
  • hold a formal clinical radiology post in which they are actively receiving clinical radiology training. 

*No minimum period of clinical experience or training is required to enter the exams

Final FRCR Part A:

To be eligible you must: 

  • have passed the First FRCR examination
  • have acquired 24 months in a formal clinical radiology training post by the month which the examination is taken 

Final FRCR Part B: 

To be eligible you must: 

  • have passed the Final FRCR Part A
  • have acquired 34 months in a formal clinical radiology training post by the month which the examination is taken 

What is the content and structure? 

First FRCR Examination:

The First FRCR examination expects candidates to have sufficient knowledge of two modules: 

  • the physical principles that are the foundation of diagnostic medical imaging
  • the anatomy needed to perform and interpret radiological studies.

It is delivered on a digital platform and as such is now also available across a larger number of test centres than before.

The test is divided into two parts: 

  • Anatomy - image viewing session delivered on an individual workstation
  • Physics - multiple choice written question (MCQ) paper

Final FRCR Part A:

The Final FRCR Part A examines candidates on all aspects of clinical radiology and the basic sciences of physics, anatomy and the techniques as per the Specialty Training Curriculum for Clinical Radiology syllabus.

The examination comprises two single best answer papers, each containing 120 questions and covering a broad range of the core curriculum. Exams are 3 hours for each sitting. 

The paper comprises a mix of questions from across a wide range of the curriculum:

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

Final FRCR Part B: 

This part to the assessment examines candidates on all aspects of clinical radiology against the curriculum and consists of three components:

  • a reporting station
  • rapid reporting session
  • an oral examination

All components are examined by an image viewing session delivered on individual workstations. 

As an overseas candidate, where and when can I sit the exams and how much will it cost me? 

Information on the dates, fees and venues for the FRCR examinations are as below.

Examination

Member

Non-member

Exam Dates

Venues

First FRCR – Physics

£256

£301

Usually held in March, June and September each year

Belfast

Birmingham 

Glasgow 

Hong Kong 

London

Singapore

Stockport/Manchester*

First FRCR - Anatomy

Final FRCR Part A

£303

£404

June and December each year

Belfast

Birmingham

Bristol

Edinburgh

London

Manchester

Hong Kong

Singapore

Final FRCR Part B

£479

£564

Usually held in April and October each year

Belfast

Birmingham

Glasgow

London

Stockport

Total

£1,294

£1,570

 

*Anatomy in Stockport / Physics in Manchester

Application Process:

UK Trainees are given priority for examination places, whilst overseas candidates are offered those places not taken via a ballot system following the application closing date.

The application process for Final FRCR Part B is a little different for overseas candidates. As an IMG you should not apply online, instead applications should be emailed directly to the Royal College.

How can I prepare for the exams? 

With lots of materials online we have discussed with IMGs the best place to start looking for resources and materials relating to the exams. Most IMGs recommended starting with the Royal College, who have created useful resources to help you prepare, see below: 

Syllabus: 

The syllabus for these examinations can be found in the Specialty Training Curriculum for Clinical Radiology.

Instructional videos and demonstrations: The Royal College recommends that applicants familiarise themselves with the platform via the instructional videos and accompanying demonstration site found here.

Sample questions: 

The Royal College created useful sample questions and answer sheets to help you prepare for each exam: 

Advice for exams: 

There are also many useful resources to offer more general advice for each section of the FRCR examinations, including: 

Passed? What next?

First of all, congratulations! After you have passed all three parts of your FRCR examinations, you can apply for a full registration with a license to practice. Once the GMC have approved your application, you can work as a doctor in the UK. 


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