FRCR Clinical Radiology - a guide for overseas radiologists

  • May 04, 2021

Overseas Radiologists wanting to secure a role in the UK via the postgraduate qualificaiton route will need to attain Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists or FRCR in order to register with the GMC. FRCR is the UK Royal College qualification and the recommended route for radiologists looking to work in the UK as a specialist or consultant. 

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:

What is FRCR? 

Radiologists become full members of the Royal College of Radiology and achieve the designation FRCR once they have passed the three separate postgraduate medical exams that make up the FRCR examination suite. The FRCR examinations aim to test a candidate’s knowledge and clinical understanding against the Specialty Training Curriculum for Clinical Radiology and the exams are a pre-requisite for anyone looking to go into a specialty training post as a radiologist in the UK. For more senior candidates, absence of FRCR will make it very difficult to attain a locum-consutant posts unless you have a recognised equivalent or specialist registration.  

When registering via the postgraduate route, only full FRCR satisfies the GMC postgraduate requirements for registration as an overseas doctor. There are three parts to the FRCR examinations:

  1. First FRCR - two-part exam, each held on separate days, over a two-day period
  2. Final FRCR Part A (both must be passed in one sitting in order to attain a pass)
    • two separate single best answer papers
  3. Final FRCR Part B 
    • a reporting session
    • a rapid reporting session
    • an oral examination

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. 

Eligibility for FRCR in Radiology: 

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 

Content and structure for FRCR - Diagnostic Radiology

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

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

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

Updates to the exam formats in light of COVID-19:

Given the disruption caused by COVID-19 it is advised to keep updating yourself of the RCR examination changes and updates posted on their website. This link here specifically takes you to the examination updates section. Information on the dates, fees and venues for the FRCR examinations are found withink. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic most exams have now moved online in some form or another, with remote proctering (invigilation) in place to prevent cheating and ensure continuation of exam settings. 

First FRCR Examination in Clinical Radiology: An online invigilation (proctoring) element will be introduced for both modules from June 2021. This will enable you to sit both modules at a location of their choosing rather than attending an RCR exam venue. You will need to ensure minimum software, a stable internet connection and an appropriate examination environment. Our third-party proctoring service – Examity – provides a computer-readiness check prior to the examination to enable candidates to check suitability of their set-up. On the RCR page here you'll find a number of instruction and techincal support guides and videos - it is highly recommended to read through all of these before applying.

FRCR Part 2A (Radiology) - CR2A: This examination will be proctored online. The examination is delivered by a software (Speedwell) which can now be integrated with Examity’s examination proctoring system, allowing candidates to take secure high-stake examinations at home or at a place of the candidate’s choosing where they should have a stable internet connection, a quiet working atmosphere and must be on their own. See our remote invigilation (proctoring) guidance for further information.

FRCR Part 2B (Radiology) - CR2B: The reporting component of this examination will be computed based at the venue candidates have chosen. Candidates will receive a username and password to access the examination. The reporting instructional video and accompanying demonstration site should be viewed prior to the examination. The oral component will also be delivered to candidates in venues, via video conference, and further detail shows in the orals guidance video.

Examination content will be shared via MS Teams and candidates will be able to take control of the mouse and access functionality to manipulate images. After 30 minutes candidates will move to the second room and complete the second 30-minute session of the oral exam with different examiners.

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

This link here specifically takes you to the examination updates section. Information on the dates, fees and venues for the FRCR examinations are found within. 

How do I apply for the FRCR examinations?

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 should I prepare for the FRCR 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: 

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

I passed the FRCR exams! 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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