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Part 2 Fellowship Oral Component

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

IMPORTANT UPDATE – JUNE 2020

Changes to the FRCOphth Part 2 Oral Examination due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We 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 is changing 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) has been proposed and the General Medical Council (GMC) have given their conditional 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:

Part 2 Oral FRCOphth Oral Examination – Statement and Candidate Information

2020 Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Information Pack

Please note that the upcoming November 2020 Part 2 FRCOphth Oral examination will only be open to candidates that were registered for the cancelled examination in March/April 2020 and will not be open to other candidates.

Transforming exams through the use of flexible offsite locations 

From 2020 the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral exam will be moved out of the clinical setting for the first time to avoid disruption to busy NHS ophthalmology services.  Delivering the exams offsite has involved the purchase of brand new ophthalmological equipment, the creation of clinical booths inside a hotel ballroom, the transportation of 300 patients, and working closely with several nursing staff provided by local eye units.

Find out how we recreated a hospital eye unit within a hotel ballroom in Wolverhampton in April 2019 with this video.

About the exam 

The Part 2 FRCOphth is a synoptic exit examination that uses several different and complementary assessment methods.  Success in this examination allows a doctor to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. It is a necessary but insufficient requirement for completion of specialty training in the UK.  The examination is blueprinted against the General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice and the detailed learning outcomes of the curriculum for Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST), which has been approved by the GMC.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate a depth of knowledge and understanding expected of an independent specialist (consultant) not sub-specialising in the field being tested.  Candidates are required to pass this examination by the end of year seven of ophthalmic specialist training.  Candidates in OST should note that a pass achieved after completion of the training programme will not be considered towards the award of a CCT.  From 1 August 2014, candidates will be permitted a maximum of four attempts in which to pass the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Component.  Examination attempts prior to August 2014 will not be included when the new ruling is introduced

Candidates are required to pass the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Component, i.e. the MCQ paper, before they are eligible to apply to sit the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Component, which has also been run in Singapore since 2016.

The validity of a pass in the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Component will be limited to 7 calendar years.  Candidates who have not successfully completed the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Component within this time will be permitted to re-sit the written component on the proviso that they have not exhausted the permitted four attempts at the written component and retain at least one attempt at the oral component.

Structure of the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Examination

Structured viva

The Structured Viva will consist of a series of five stations, each of which will be timed for precise periods of 10 minutes.  Station 6 of the OSCE, Communication Skills, will not be conducted in a clinical setting and will be held at the same time as the Structured Viva, lasting for a precise period of 10 minutes.

The stations are set out as follows:

Station 1:            Patient investigations and data interpretation
Station 2:            Patient management 1
Station 3:            Patient management 2
Station 4:            Attitudes, ethics and responsibilities
Station 5:            Audit, research and evidence based practice and Health promotion and disease prevention

One examiner will be present at each station for the duration of the cycle, apart from the Communication Skills station, where there will be two examiners present (one consultant ophthalmologist and one lay examiner).

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The OSCE will consist of a series of five video assessment stations, each of which will be timed precisely.  Station 6, Communication Skills, will not be conducted in a clinical setting and will be held at the same time as the Structured Viva, lasting for a precise period of 10 minutes.

The stations are set out as follows:

Station 1:            Anterior Segment
Station 2:            Glaucoma and Lid
Station 3:            Posterior Segment.
Station 4:            Strabismus and Orbit
Station 5:            Neuro-ophthalmology
Station 6:            Communication Skills (takes place logistically with viva aspect of the exam)

Two examiners will be present at each station for the duration of the cycle. In station 6, an ophthalmologist is paired with a trained lay examiner. Other than the communications skills station, the examination will take the form of short cases.

Red Flags

Candidates whose performance in any viva or OSCE station has given the examiners cause for concern eg. indicated unsafe practice, will alert the Senior Examiner by way of a ‘red flag’ on the marksheet.  The cause for concern must be documented clearly on the marksheet.  Candidates receiving a red flag should reflect that their practice has been deemed particularly poor by the examiner/s and should discuss this with their Educational Supervisor.

Pass Mark Setting

All examinations are pass mark set.  The OSCE and structured vivas are pass mark set using the borderline candidate method.  Hofstee is the preferred method for smaller cohorts, for example, overseas examinations such as in Singapore. All questions are reviewed in the light of performance and modified accordingly. The pass mark setting methods quoted are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the College.

Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Result

To pass the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Component, candidates are required to pass both components (Structured Viva and OSCE) although some degree of cross compensation will be allowed (see below). If awarded a fail, candidates must re-sit the entire oral examination, even if a pass was previously achieved in any section.

Cross Compensation

If a candidate marginally fails the Structured Viva, their total marks for both the Viva and the OSCE will be added together.  If this mark exceeds the combined pass marks for both papers, they will be allowed to pass the examination.  It is NOT possible to compensate a poor OSCE with a good Structured Viva result.

Notification of Results

The results of the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Component will be released four – five weeks after the final day of examinations once verified by the Senior Examiner.  Final results will be sent to candidates by email and the pass list will be displayed on the College website. Examiners and candidates are not permitted to telephone the College for examination results.

Singapore

The Examinations Committee is pleased to be able to offer the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral examination in Singapore.  The examination will be held at National University of Singapore from 27th-28th January 2021 and will be delivered to the same standard as in the UK. ‘Same standard’ means an expectation of the same performance of examiners and level of candidate ability in order to pass candidates of similar standards in either the UK or Singapore.  

For pass mark setting of the Singapore exam, Hofstee is the preferred method for smaller cohort examinations such as this. All questions are reviewed in the light of performance and modified accordingly. The pass mark setting methods quoted are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the College.

Closing date for applications is 5 October 2020.  Click here to book

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 2 FRCOphth Oral examination, the maximum number of attempts is 4.

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 2 FRCOphth Oral Examination Information Packs below:
Part 2 Oral FRCOphth Oral Examination 2020 – Statement and Candidate Information
2020 Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Information Pack
Policy on Allegations of Cheating and Misconduct 2018

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