Part 2 Written FRCOphth Exam

The Part 2 Fellowship Written exam is a theoretical paper taken towards the end of the OST programme. It tests candidates' theoretical knowledge of ophthalmology.

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 for the Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST) Curriculum, 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 Certificate of Completion of Training (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. Please also see these useful links: Part 2 FRCOphth Written – Sample MCQs and Part-2-FRCOphth-Written-Candidate-Tips

Who can sit the exam?

There is no specific training requirement to enter this exam, however it is aimed at trainees in years 4-7 of the Ophthalmic Specialist Training programme, those at the end of their non-specialised ophthalmic training and those considered suitable to practice independently. Candidates are unlikely to pass this exam without significant training in ophthalmology.

Progression to the Part 2 FRCOphth Written exam is only permitted once the Part 1 FRCOphth Exam has been completed. Candidates can sit the Part 2 FRCOphth Written before taking the Refraction Certificate examination but candidates must pass the Part 1 FRCOphth, Refraction Certificate and the Part 2 FRCOphth Written examinations before sitting the Part 2 Oral component.

Similarly to RCOphth’s other examinations, candidates must hold a medical qualification that is approved by the UK GMC or Irish Medical Council before registering. Your qualification, if not already approved by the UK GMC or IMC, should have been attested when applying for your first Part 1 FRCOphth exam.

If you are on the OST programme you must pass both the Part 2 Written and Oral exams before the end of year seven of training. You can sit the exam when you’re on a break in the programme or before entering the GMC-approved training programme. Candidates are permitted a maximum of four attempts. Any attempts made before August 2014 will be discounted and will not count towards these attempts.

How do I book the exam?

The Part 2 FRCOphth Written exam takes place twice a year. As candidates must have previously sat the Part 1 and Refraction certificate to be eligible you should already have an online log in to book your place. Please visit the Book an Exam page to reserve your place.

Once the closing date for entries has passed, the candidate will receive a confirmation email from the College which will contain the following information:

  • Confirmation of their exam place
  • Their candidate ID number
  • Their exam date and time slot based on their location in the world
  • ID requirements and computer requirements in order to take the exam
  • A link to practice questions on the RCOphth exams website
  • Notes on what candidates can expect on the examination day
  • The examination rules and regulations

One week prior to the examination, another email will be sent to candidates with a link to complete a computer system check, as well as re-iterate the information from the previous confirmation email. The system check link will ensure a candidate’s audio and video work sufficiently, as well as making sure that their computer is suitable to run the software.

72 – 24 hours before the examination, candidates will be sent another email with the links for launching the exam. These links will not activate until the start of the actual examination. The keycodes to start the exam when then be displayed to the candidate when they are just about to start the exam.

Find out more about registering and eligibility in the Part 2 FRCOphth Written Information Pack

Please note examinations are only eligible for booking during limited time periods, if you cannot find your exam on the book an exam page it means it is not open for booking yet. A full calendar of all exams and their open and close dates is available here.

Please note that candidate exam confirmations are sent within 10 working days of the closing date to the email address that the candidate registered with. If a candidate has failed to receive their exam confirmation email after this period, then they must contact the exams department immediately. Refunds will not be given if a candidate fails to let the College know in good time that they did not receive their confirmation email.

How much is the exam fee?

We update our examination fees each year.

Click here to find the latest list of fees

Where do the exams take place?

The Part 2 FRCOphth Written examination is taken as an Online Proctored Examination, where the candidate sits the exam at their home or their workplace, without the need to travel to a testing centre or examination venue. The examination is taken online by being delivered over the internet to the candidate’s computer at a pre-agreed examination date and time.

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

Candidates are recommended to thoroughly read and familiarise themselves with the RCOphth-Online-Proctored-Written-Exams-Rules-and-Regulations and Important Information for online proctored RCOphth Written Examinations

Candidates are also advised to read RCOphth Online Proctored Written Exams FAQs

Please see below an online demo video of how the Online Proctored Examination works and the set-up that is required.

Online Invigilation Tutorial for Candidates

It is recommended that candidates also read the Remote Invigilation Candidate User Guide

How is the exam marked?

All our exams are pass mark set. The pass mark is 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.

When will I find out my results?

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

Results are released approximately three to four weeks after the examination, upon approval of the Senior Examiner. Results are sent via email only with the Pass List being displayed on the College Website. We regret that examination results are not available by telephone or post.

Results will be released by the deadline in our published examinations calendar, and we only publish them early if they are ready and at our own discretion. Please do not contact the Examinations Department asking for when results will be released.

Please note that successful candidates do not receive a certificate for passing the Part 2 FRCOphth Written. The only certificate issued is for completion of the whole FRCOphth qualification (Fellowship certificate), not for individual components.

Appeals information can be found on our Policies and Procedures page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly asked questions about the Part 2 FRCOphth written exam can be found here.

Candidate Tips

The Examinations Committee agreed to review information and resources provided to candidates in February 2016. The contents of this document have been produced by Mukhtar Bizrah and Megan Johnson, former members of the College’s Ophthalmologists in Training Group (OTG), with contributions from Edward Casswell and Sheila Luk.

If you have any suggestions for additional examination resources or advice, please send an email to [email protected].

Note: This information has been published to offer advice to candidates, from candidates. Provision of the guidance and resources does not constitute RCOphth endorsement. The RCOphth accepts no responsibility for the content in the resource listed above.

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.

Exam Reports

As per the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Standards for Curricula and Assessment Systems, abridged reports are provided for the Part 2 Written 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].