Advancing paediatric surgery through education and research

Exam Guide

The Short and Sheth 12-week guide to success in the FRCS(Paed)

So you survived the Part I MCQs and you’re facing the daunting task of preparing for the clinicals and vivas. With trepidation and anxiety you face the unknown. Worse still (if you can afford it), three strikes and you’re out. If you weren’t scared before you will be now!

So how do you do it….

  1. Make a plan – be guided by the viva tables. There are 6 tables as below. We suggest 2 weeks per table. Use a text book to write down all topics that you may come across per table.
    • Urology
    • Neonatal Urology
    • Neonates
    • Trauma
    • General
    • Oncology and Endocrine
  2. Appreciate that one third of the exam really is urology and you will get asked about neuropathic bladder and urodynamics!
  3. Know the format of the exam
    • Clinical:
      • 15 minutes x2 long cases
      • 10 minutes x2 short cases
      • 10 minute neonatal case (no patient)
    • Viva: 6 categories (as above)
      • 4 x 5-minute questions per category (no matter how good or bad you are)
  4. Evidence based medicine – papers. You need to back up your opinions and practice. This is not for awards and medals. You will be asked about evidence and landmark papers in every station including the clinicals.
  5. Buddy up and practice. Talk about everything. Practice how to say that you will take a history, examine a patient, assess for stability and resuscitate if necessary in a succinct way. You do not want to sound like a medical student! If you say you want to know about the antenatal history, say what you specifically want to know and why with reference to the presenting complaint. Get your consultants to examine you every chance that you get (you can start this from day one even if the exam isn’t on the horizon!).
  6. Know and have a view on the controversial aspects
  7. Know short and long term outcomes for each topic (eg for posterior urethral valves in urology)
  8. Take a week of annual leave leading up to the exam for consolidation and tying up loose ends

Guide by Mel and Jigna
updated 02/2015