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Examinations

Please check our Examinations Calendar for dates of all upcoming examinations: https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/examinations/examinations-calendar/

For Examination Registration, visit https://ihub.rcophth.ac.uk and sign in, then visit the Exam Search page.

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.

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:

https://vimeo.com/451802369

https://vimeo.com/451802425

https://vimeo.com/451802426

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:

FRCOphth Part 2 Oral Examination 2022 Clinical Assessments – Candidate Information UK

FRCOphth Part 2 Oral Examination 2022 Clinical Assessments – Candidate Information Overseas

2022 Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Information Pack

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.

Part 1 Fellowship

No previous experience in ophthalmology is necessary for candidates to sit the Part 1 FRCOphth but candidates will be required to pass this examination before they enter into the third year of ophthalmic specialist training.

The structure is based on the learning outcomes from the curriculum for the first two years of training. This includes basic sciences but also theoretical optics and some pathology. There is no clinical component and the syllabus is assessed by a theoretical written section.

From August 2013, candidates are permitted a maximum of six attempts in which to pass the Part 1 FRCOphth examination.  Part 1 FRCOphth examination attempts prior to August 2013 do not count towards the number of attempts available.

Candidates must take and pass the Part 1 FRCOphth examination before being permitted to move on to the Part 2 Written examination.

Refraction Certificate

Candidates are unlikely to pass this assessment if they have not undertaken a large number of clinical refractions in the clinical settings of either the hospital workplace or in optometric establishments. Candidates in OST are required to pass this examination before they enter into the fourth year of ophthalmic specialist training.

Please note that as of July 2021, it is no longer a requirement to pass 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 FRCOphth Oral examination.

The assessment consists of a 10 station Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

From August 2013, candidates are permitted a maximum of six attempts in which to pass the Refraction Certificate examination.  Refraction Certificate examination attempts prior to August 2013 do not count towards the number of attempts available.

Exemption – Candidates who have been registered with the General Optical Council as an optometrist in the last five years are exempt from this certificate. Candidates intending to apply for exemption should therefore ensure that they do so within this period. Candidates in ophthalmic specialist training are advised to apply for exemption before the end of year three.

Part 2 Fellowship Written Component

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.

The structure is based on learning outcomes from the curriculum in its entirety. The syllabus is assessed by a 180, single best answer, multiple choice question paper, split into two papers of 90 questions each taken on the same day.

From September 2014, the currency of a pass in the written examination is limited to seven calendar years.  Candidates are permitted a maximum of four attempts at the Part 2 FRCOphth written component.  Part 2 FRCOphth examination attempts prior to August 2014 do not count towards the number of attempts available.Candidates who have not successfully completed the Part 2 FRCOphth oral examination within seven calendar years of their pass in the written examination will be permitted to re-sit the written examination on the proviso they have not exhausted four attempts at the written component and retain at least one attempt to sit the oral component.

Candidates in OST are required to pass this examination by the end of year seven of ophthalmic specialist training.

Part 2 Fellowship Oral Component

This examination is open to candidates who have passed the Part 1 FRCOphth, the Refraction Certificate and the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Component and is held twice a year. Candidates in OST are required to pass this examination by the end of year seven of ophthalmic specialist training.

The structure is based on learning outcomes from the curriculum in its entirety. The syllabus is assessed by a structured viva and an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).  Candidates are permitted a maximum of four attempts at the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Component.  Part 2 FRCOphth examination attempts prior to August 2014 do not count towards the number of attempts available

Success in the Part 2 FRCOphth examination leads to the award of Fellowship and the post-nominals FRCOphth. International Medical Graduates (IMG) should note that the GMC have now approved that the award of FRCOphth permits exemption from the PLAB test.

Certificate in Laser Refractive Surgery

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists offers an assessment in laser refractive surgery which leads to a certificate of competence to practice, subject to satisfactory yearly appraisals and continuing professional development.  Success in this certificate confers the post-nominals CertLRS.

This certificate applies only to refractive procedures performed by laser.

From August 2013, candidates are permitted a maximum of six attempts in which to pass the Certificate in Laser Refractive Surgery examination.  Certificate in Laser Refractive Surgery examination attempts prior to August 2013 do not count towards the number of attempts available.

Full details of the structure of the assessment are available here.

Duke Elder Undergraduate Prize Examination

The Duke Elder Undergraduate Prize Examination takes place online once a year with applications made via Medical Schools throughout the British Isles. The next examination is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 9 March 2022; further information will be sent out to medical schools by October 2021.

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.