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Part 2 Fellowship Written Component

The Part 2 FRCOphth Written and Oral examinations combined form a synoptic exit examination that use several different and complementary assessment methods.  Success in the Part 2 FRCOphth Written and Oral examinations allows a doctor to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. FRCOphth is a necessary but insufficient requirement for completion of specialty training in the UK.  The examinations are 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 both the Part 2 FRCOphth written and oral examinations 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 are permitted a maximum of four attempts in which to pass the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Component and four attempts to pass the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Component.  Examination attempts prior to August 2014 are not included.

The Written Component is held twice a year; in June and late November/December.  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.

The validity of a pass in the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Component will be limited to seven 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.

Candidates are advised to read the ‘Instructions for Candidates for the Part 2 FRCOphth Examination’ for further information on the Part 2 FRCOphth Examination.

Structure of the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Examination

A 180, single best answer from four, MCQ paper.  For logistical reason, the MCQ paper is sat in two halves of 90 MCQ over two hours each.  The total examination time is four hours.  A copy of the written examination blueprint is available in the ‘Instructions for Candidates for the Part 2 FRCOphth Examination’.

Examination Venue

From July 2019, the Part 2 FRCOphth Written 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 2 Written 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 and Paper 2 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 2 FRCOphth Written examination via the RCOphth website.
  2. Once the closing date for entries has passed, the candidate will receive a confirmation email from the College detailing their confirmation of their exam place and their candidate ID.
  3. The candidate will then be asked to contact Prometric either by telephone or online to book their place at their chosen testing centre.
  4. When contacting Prometric, the candidate will be given a list of availability of testing centres in various locations across the world. Candidates should quote their Candidate ID Number (Eligibility Number) and First four characters of their Last Name (If candidates last name is less than four characters in length, please enter spaces, using the spacebar key, after the name, ensuring that the required number of spaces have been entered).
  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 email. *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 usually operate a 21 day policy deadline in booking an exam place so candidates will have until 21 days before the date of the exam in which to book their place.
  7. The deadline for booking testing centres for the December 2019 exam, will be on 24th November 2019. If you do not book your place at a testing centre by the 24th November 2019, we cannot guarantee that any places will still be available. No booking can be made after this deadline has passed and if candidates fail to book beforehand, then their exam sitting will be withdrawn and they will lose their examination fee.

Full details can be found in the Written Information Pack below.

Pass Mark Setting

All examinations are pass mark set.  The written paper is pass mark set in advance using the Ebel method.  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 Written Result

To pass the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Component, candidates are required to achieve the pass mark plus one standard error of measurement (SEM).

Notification of Results

The results of the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Component will be dispatched by post two weeks after the day of examination.  Examiners and candidates are not permitted to telephone the College for examination results.

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 Written 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 Written Examination Information Packs below:
2019 Part 2 FRCOphth Written Information Pack
Part 2 FRCOphth Written – Notes for Candidates (Updated October 2019)
Part 2 FRCOphth eligibility update – January 2016
Policy on Allegations of Cheating and Misconduct 2018

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