Final FRCR (Oncology) – guidance, preparation and Resources for international doctors
September 06, 2021
Written for oncologists preparing for Final FRCR (CO2A and CO2B)
Overseas oncologists often ask us how to best prepare for the Final FRCR Part 1 and 2 exams. With so much online content geared towards UK clinical oncology trainees, it can be difficult to know what is best suited to you as an international candidate.
Here we have compiled some of the best advice and resources available to help overseas radiation oncologists prepare for their Royal College (RCR) exams. We’ll also address some of the changes to the exam, both the format, administration and availability of the exam in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, we'll cover the following - skip to one of these sections if you know what you're looking for:
As a quick reminder, Final FRCR (Oncology) are the final two exams in the FRCR (Oncology) examination suite. The full set, CO1, CO2A and CO2B are required by overseas clinical or radiation oncologists when applying for GMC registration through the postgraduate route.
For the final exams, candidates are expected to have a wide knowledge of subjects related to the care of patients with cancer and the investigation of malignant disease.
CO2A includes two written papers of 120 single best answer (SBA or multiple choice) questions.
CO2B has two components (clinical and oral) which are designed to test the oncological skills of the candidate which are relevant to safe and effective practice.
The clinical element is assessed in a mock clinical setting with real patients to increase authenticity.
The oral exam assesses clinical decision-making, radiotherapy planning, diagnostic imaging, and case management. It is made to mirror elements of a day-to-day clinical setting, including discussions and MDT meetings.
A full breakdown of the Final FRCR (oncology) Part 2A and 2B exams can be found on our website here.
How do I get started with my preparation?
After discussing with IMGs the best way to approach preparing for the Final FRCR (oncology) exams, most recommended beginning with the Royal College website and resources, which they have put together to aid in your preparation.
Learning hub: the learning hub is available to members and contains many useful learning resources. This can be found here.
Implementation tools: this is a range of tools which have been compiled by the College to support the new curricular which all students should have transferred to by August 2022 at the latest and can be accessed here.
Guidance: a guidance document from trainees who have already sat the exam, on behalf of the Oncology Registrars’ Forum, found here.
Sample questions: sample SBA and oral questions for FRCR CO2A and CO2B have been provided with answers on the RCR website, here for Part A and here for Part B.
Examiners’ reports: this is a collection of generic reports written by examiners on the overall performance of candidates and individual questions as a guide for applicants for future sittings. These are available here.
Trainees’ experiences: the two-part series has been compiled from the experiences of candidates in sitting their final exams, found here.
Demonstration films: demonstrations of both parts of FRCR Part 2, providing insight into both elements of the exam and what candidates can expect on the day. These are on the RCR website here.
There are a couple of online courses which provide preparation for the exam, including mock exams and insight into exam technique. As with all courses, we advise that you register your interest as soon as possible to avoid disappointment as they are in very high demand.
Leeds – TMA Final FRCR Single Best Answer (SBA) Course - FRCR Part 2A
This is a four-day course aimed at clinical trainees who are preparing for their FRCR CO2A. The course offers daily mock SBA exams, question review with site specific experts, coverage of all tumour sites and a deep dive into exam technique.
The course is delivered live virtually, via Microsoft Teams.
This is a web-based revision course for the FRCR part 2. The course allows candidates to revise SBA questions by individual tumour site, timed mock exams (including a leader board), access to Cardiff Course teaching materials and lecture slides, focused tutorials and a user forum.
Final FRCR are still taking place in person, but as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of test centres has decreased. Currently, test centres are available in Belfast, Birmingham, Crewe, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Bridgend Wales. For now, the only overseas test centres for the exam are India and Malta. For advice on preparation before applying for the exams, see the Royal College website here.
Consultant Posts and CESR
FRCR Oncology forms a key part of the application for international doctors looking to attain specialist registration in Clinical Oncology through CESR. For doctors with more senior level experience, this could also allow you to work as a locum consultant clinical oncology post, whilst you are not yet accredited as a specialist in the NHS.
Familiarise yourself with the exam content – the best way to do this is through the syllabus and curriculum
Prepare early – the earlier you begin your revision, the more structured and relaxed the entire process can be and the more likely you are to pass!
Join the IMG Connect study and support group – join likeminded international doctors from all over the world in one communicative and moderated space to share exam tips, wins and woes, and buddy up with peers to help boost your chances of passing first time.
If you would be interested in joining the Final FRCR (Oncology) group, please email email@example.com to speak to our oncology specialist and reserve your place today.
We hope this is helpful for any overseas doctors preparing to sit their Final FRCR exam and the team here at IMG Connect wish you the best of luck!