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Part 1 Fellowship


The examination comprises of theoretical papers based on learning outcomes of the OST curriculum appropriate to the first two years of training as follows:

  • A 3 hour Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) paper of 120 questions consisting of one best answer out of four options
  • A 2 hour Constructed Response Question (CRQ) Paper, consisting of 12 questions.

Please follow the links below to access some practice MCQ questions to give candidates a sample of the MCQ format, and a link to watch a demo video of the CRQ exam and how candidates will draw ray diagrams using a computer:

Sample MCQ Practice Questions

CRQ demo movie

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

Candidates sitting this examination before commencing OST should note that a pass in this examination will not count towards CCT if taken out of training unless the candidate enters or re-enters the training programme within 7 years of passing.

Candidates who have entered Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST) must have passed this examination by the end of the second year of run-through training.

Examination Venue

From October 2019, the Part 1 FRCOphth examination will be taken at Prometric computer testing centres, which are available all across the globe.

Please see the below link for the list of worldwide Prometric Testing Centres:

List of Worldwide Prometric Testing Centres

Please note that the following UK, Ireland and worldwide centres have been pre-allocated for the FRCOphth Part 1 examination (number of seats available in brackets):

UK and Ireland:

Liverpool (5), Southampton (2), London (75), Manchester (16), Edinburgh (8), Glasgow (5), Bristol (5), Newcastle (3), Leeds (5), Guernsey (5), Birmingham (5), Basildon (4) and Dublin (15).


Amman (2), Colombo (5), Guangzhou (2), Ho Cin Minh City (10), Hong Kong (4), Mumbai (5), Cairo (10), Dubai (17), Kuala Lumpur (15), Singapore (17), Bangkok (15), Jakarta (5), Chennai (5), Calcutta (5), Lagos (5), Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) (5), Sydney 1), Melbourne (1), Perth (1), Berlin (1), Frankfurt (1), Hamburg (1), Kuwait City (2), Islamabad (2), Lahore (5), Bucharest (2), Cape Town (Claremont) (1), Durban (1), Shanghai (5), Taipei (5) and Tampa (3).

If a candidate wishes to sit the exam in another Prometric testing centre that is not listed in the pre-allocation list above but features on the list of worldwide Prometric testing centres, they can request this centre by contacting the examinations department at the College. The examinations department will contact Prometric to determine the availability of this testing centre. Please note that availability for these non-pre-allocated centres is not guaranteed as numbers of seats for each testing centre are limited and will be down to the availability as informed by Prometric. Any of these requests need to be made BEFORE the examination closing date. Candidates will book their exam place on the understanding of this and CANNOT withdraw from the examination and ask for a refund if their chosen testing centre is not available when there are available places in other testing centres.

Both Paper 1 (MCQ) and Paper 2 (CRQ) will take place on the same day with a one-hour lunch break in-between.

 Candidate Application Process Steps:

  1. Candidates will apply for the Part 1 FRCOphth examination via the RCOphth website.
  2. Once the closing date for entries has passed, the candidate will receive a confirmation letter from the College detailing their confirmation of their exam place and their candidate ID.
  3. The candidate will then contact Prometric either by telephone or online to book their place at their chosen testing centre, using their candidate ID which will be matched to the list of candidates and their IDs that the College will have given to Prometric.
  4. When contacting Prometric, the candidate will be given a list of availability of testing centres in various locations across the world. They will have to quote their full candidate name and candidate ID number.
  5. Please note that the candidate’s first choice of testing centre may not be available if the candidate delays in booking. We would therefore strongly encourage candidates to contact Prometric to make their booking as soon as possible upon receiving their exam confirmation letter. *The College is not responsible for making candidates’ seat bookings with Prometric so candidates must contact Prometric directly if they encounter any difficulty*
  6. Prometric operate a 21-day policy deadline in booking an exam place so the candidate will have until 21 days before the date of the exam in which to book their place. No booking can be made after this deadline has passed and if the candidate fails to book beforehand, then their exam sitting will be withdrawn and they will lose their examination fee.

Full details can be found in the Information Pack below.

Pass Mark Setting

The MCQ paper is pass mark set in advance using the Ebel method.  The CRQ is pass mark set using the borderline candidate method.  All questions are reviewed in the light of performance and modified accordingly. All examinations are pass mark set. The pass mark setting methods quoted are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the College.

Overall Result

To pass the Part 1 FRCOphth examination, candidates are required to pass both components (MCQ and CRQ) although some degree of cross compensation is permitted as outlined below.  If awarded a fail, candidates must re-sit the entire examination, even if a pass was previously achieved in any component

Cross Compensation

If a candidate marginally fails one written paper (within one standard error of measurement of the pass mark), their total marks for both papers will be added together.  If this mark exceeds the combined pass marks for both papers, they will be allowed to pass the examination.


Results will be released approximately four – five weeks after the examination, once verified by the Senior Examiner.  Candidates are not permitted to telephone the College for examination results.  All results will be sent to candidates by first class post and the pass list will be displayed on the College website.

Additional Examination Attempts

GMC policy states: “No candidate will normally be allowed more than six attempts at an examination.”

“After six failed attempts, a candidate must provide evidence of additional educational experience to the royal college or faculty for each re-sit.”

The GMC have confirmed that the expectations around national professional examinations allow flexibility for colleges to make exceptions to the guidelines or to apply more stringent rules if they see fit, meaning they are permitted to implement their own limit to the number of additional exam attempts permitted.

The RCOphth will allow only ONE additional attempt after the limit on previous attempts has been reached.

NB: For the Part 1 FRCOphth examination, the maximum number of attempts is 6.

For RCOphth examinations, candidates who have had the maximum number of attempts will not be eligible to attempt an examination again unless evidence of additional educational experience is provided. To be considered for a maximum of one additional attempt only, please read the following Additional Examination Attempt Information Pack and complete the Additional Examination Attempt Application Form only if you have exhausted your maximum number of exam attempts.

Further Information
For further information, please see the Part 1 FRCOphth Information Pack:
2020 Part 1 FRCOphth Information Pack
Policy on Allegations of Cheating and Misconduct 2018

To apply please click the purple box, on the right-hand side, above.