FRCEM Intermediate SAQ – a closer look

  • November 05, 2021

Here we’ll take a closer look at the second stage of your FRCEM success in the examinations – FRCEM Intermediate SAQ.

We’ll consider its purpose, structure and content, eligibility, dates, exam centers and provide some revision tips to give you the best chance of passing first time and moving clser towards full Membership of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (MRCEM).

Designed to help you prepare and sit the exam, we consider the following topics:

  • What is FRCEM Intermediate Certificate?
  • Am I eligible?
  • Exemptions & equivalent examinations 
  • Where can I take the exam?
  • How much will it cost me?
  • How can I prepare for the exam?
  • Passed? What next?

What is the FRCEM Intermediate SAQ?

The FRCEM Intermediate Certificate is the second examination in a series of three and is mapped to the Competencies of Year 1-3 of the Emergency Medicine 2015 Curriculum (ACCS Plus).

The FRCEM Intermediate SAQ comprises of a 3-hour paper of 60, 3-mark questions.

A full break down of the blueprint is found on the FRCEM Intermediate Regulations & Information Pack.

A summarised blueprint for the SAQ can be found below.

Curriculum Category


Common Competences


Clinical Presentations – Core Major & Acute Presentations 


Anaesthetic Competences CT1&2


ICM within ACCS


Acute Presentations – Additional Adult ST3


Paediatric Presentations – Makor & Acute Presentations 


Practical Procedures (ACCS)




Am I eligible?

To be eligible you must hold a Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) recognised by the GMC, have completed an equivalent to the UK Foundation Programme (Internship?) and have passed FRCEM Primary Examination after 1st August 2016.

You will also be eligible if you have been granted exemption from the FRCEM Primary as a result of obtaining MRCS or MRCSI after 1st January 2012.

MRCEM Part B in place of FRCEM Intermediate SAQ:

  • MRCEM Part B passes obtained prior to August 2012 are deemed time expired, therefore you are required to pass the FRCEM Intermediate SAQ examination. 
  • If you passed the MRCEM Part B examination after 1 August 2012 you are deemed to have passed an equivalent examination to the FRCEM Intermediate SAQ examination.

Where and when can I take the exam? And how much will it cost me?

Examination and application dates are regularly updated by the Royal College and can be found here.

Venues and Fees for both intermediate examinations are below:




FRCEM Intermediate Certificate




Iceland, Malaysia, Oman


How can I apply?

All applications are made online.

Please note, the application can take some time to complete so it is always advisable to apply well in advance of the deadlines.

Applications submitted after the application period will not be accepted. 

Links to all application forms and application windows are available here.

How do I prepare for each exam and what resources are available?

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

Curriculum: Applicants are tested on a range of common and important disorders in Emergency Medicine as set out in the Emergency Medicine Training Curriculum 2015.

The examination is conducted in English and candidates are advised that IELTS Level 7 is the expected standard for completion of the FRCEM examinations. Remember, you will need to have a pass of 7.5 average in all areas of IELTS to complete your GMC registration.

Information Packs:

These provide detailed information for the relevant examination components so that you can best prepare for your studies and what to expect on the day. 

You can download this here: FRCEM Intermediate

SAQ Blueprint:

The blueprint for the Intermediate SAQ exam can be found on page 8 of the FRCEM Intermediate examination pack, downloaded from the RCEM website here.

SJP Blueprint:

The blueprint for the new Intermediate SJP exam can be found on page 11 of the FRCEM Intermediate examination pack, downloaded from the RCEM website here.

Sample questions: 

Test your knowledge using example questions from the current exam syllabus provided by the Royal College: Intermediate Certificate – sample SJP questions

Glossary of Terms: 

The Royal College uses many terms that may cause confusion, so take plenty time to understand the terms and definitions using this guide. 

Candidates are expected to be rigorous in their use of these terms.

Glossary of terms used in RCEM exams.

Examination Report:

The Royal College recently began to publish reports on the performance of those sitting FRCEM examinations. Below is the first report published and helps to break down results for those in training and those out of training. 

2018 Examination report.

Online resources: 

There are lots of resources online, such as videos on YouTube, FRCEM courses and useful reading materials. We think that these are a great addition to your study plan, just be sure to check your sources. 

Passed? What next? 

First of all, congratulations! After you have passed FRCEM Intermediate you can apply to sit the Final Examination. Take a look at our article on FRCEM Final Examination where we explore everything you need to know about how to sit the exam, including syllabus, dates, fees, results and preparation. 

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