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Examinations

The RCOphth’s prestigious FRCOphth qualification is awarded by examination, as well as election. We also offer an undergraduate prize examination and Certificate in Laser and Refractive Surgery. Find out how to book an exam and our advice for candidates preparing to sit our exams.

Exam booking

Please check our Examinations Calendar for dates of all upcoming examinations.

Examinations Calendar

For Examination Registration, visit ‘My RCOphth’ and sign in, then visit the Exam Search page.

Examination Registration

Please note that we do not confirm receipt of individual exam applications and candidates will have their applications confirmed soon after the closing date.**

Please also note that exams close for registration at 5pm UK time on the closing date and applications received after this time will not be accepted. Candidates are strongly encouraged not to leave an exam application until the closing date itself.

International Examinations

The Part 1 FRCOphth and Part 2 Written exams are now delivered online via remote proctoring which means a candidate in any country can sit these exams without the need to travel. This new format has seen an expanded global reach and the recent Part 1 exam in October 2020 saw nearly 400 candidates sit it in 27 different countries.

The Part 2 FRCOphth Oral and Refraction Certificate exams take place every year in India, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, Singapore and Malaysia.

Examinations Calendar

Important update for 2022

Continued changes into 2022 to the FRCOphth Part 2 Oral and Refraction Certificate Examinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We continue to live in unprecedented times and the pandemic has affected the workplace and our personal lives.  Measures, such as social distancing are impacting not only the way we deliver our ophthalmology services but also the way the College operates, and the examinations that it provides.

As a result, the FRCOphth Part 2 Oral examination will continue throughout 2022 with the changes made in 2020 due to personal contact and social distancing measures required to contain the COVID-19 pandemic

We fully recognise the impact that the pandemic has had upon trainees and the continued disruption that is likely to ensue. The College has been monitoring the pandemic very closely and in order to continue to deliver examinations we have been forced to modify some of the examination processes. The decisions we have taken are designed to support trainee ophthalmologists’ progress and to reduce disruption as far as is practically possible.

Social distancing now means that clinically based examinations have to take place without real patients. An alternative arrangement (below) is now in place and the General Medical Council (GMC) have given their approval to the temporary solution, whereby the five clinical OCSE stations will now utilise video excerpts of real patient examinations rather than the examination of real patients. 

You can view samples of these video excerpts here:

Sample Video Excerpts

Temporary examination entry requirements

This has also meant introducing a new temporary work-place based examination entry requirement to confirm candidate clinical examination skills.

We feel that it is important to let all trainees and candidates know about the changes and particularly those candidates who will be immediately affected by these alterations.  We have included comprehensive details of the examination and the temporary examination entry requirements in the following documents:

The Refraction Certificate examination has also changed and candidates will be assessed using retinoscopy simulators instead of real patients. Please read the following document for full information:

2022 Refraction Certificate Information Pack

Information for candidates on examination attempts towards the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral and Refraction Certificate examinations in their temporary formats developed for the period of the pandemic:

Please note that unsuccessful attempts at the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral and Refraction Certificate examination diets in the temporary formats developed for the period of the pandemic will count towards candidates’ permitted limits for each of these examinations. However, at the point at which a candidate reaches their limit on maximum number of attempts – including any discretionary extra attempt based on input from a candidate’s educational supervisor – one further attempt will be granted if one of those unsuccessful attempts was in the first diet (autumn / winter 2020/2021) of the temporary format examinations. Please note; only one attempt will be credited irrespective of the number of times a candidate may fail the new format examination.

Admission Ceremony

The 2022 Admission Ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday 9 September 2022 in London. Further details will be sent to those eligible to attend in mid 2022.

Exam Pass Lists

RCOphth Pass Lists are published online after all marks for an exam have been verified by the senior examiner. Click on the individual exam pages to view exam pass lists.

Exam Reports

As per the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Standards for Curricula and Assessment Systems, abridged reports are provided for the Refraction Certificate examinations from 2009 as “the methods used to set standards for classification of trainees’ performance/competence must be transparent and in the public domain” [Standard 12, Standards for Curricula and Assessment Systems, July 2008]. Click on the individual exam pages to view exam reports.

Examinations Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You can find a list of commonly asked questions and answers on our RCOphth Exams page.

The Route to Qualification

These are all the FRCOphth exams you will need to sit to become a Fellow of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Part 1 Fellowship Exam

The first fellowship exam, the Part 1 FRCOphth Written exam, is a theoretical paper based on the learning outcomes of the OST curriculum that are covered in the first two years of training. Trainees must pass this exam by the end of the second year of run-through training under the OST.

Refraction Certificate

This practical exam assesses candidates’ abilities to perform clinical refractions in a clinical setting. Trainees in OST are required to pass this examination before they enter the fourth year of ophthalmic specialist training.

Part 2 Fellowship Written Exam

This examination is open to candidates who have passed the Part 1 FRCOphth and is held twice a year. Please note that as of July 2021, it is no longer a requirement to have also passed the Refraction Certificate before being permitted to sit the Part 2 FRCOphth Written examination. The Refraction Certificate and Part 2 Written exams can be taken in any order but BOTH must be passed in order to sit the final Part 2 Oral examination.

Part 2 Fellowship Oral Exam

The Part 2 FRCOphth Oral exam component is open to candidates who have passed the Part 2 Written Exam. Similarly to the written component, all trainees will need to pass this exam by the end of year seven of their Ophthalmic Specialist Training programme to be awarded the CCT.

Become a College Examiner

College Examiners are a vital part of the RCOphth Examinations team, made up of medical practitioners from a range of backgrounds. As an Examiner you can help the RCOphth ensure high standards of future ophthalmologists. Examiners provide test questions, mark question papers and assess candidates in live examinations. We’re always seeking to expand our pool of examiners, find out more about the role and how you can support us.

Find out more