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FRCR Part 1 (Radiology) - CR1 - guidance notes for candidates


1 Examination Structure

The First FRCR examination comprises two modules: Anatomy and Physics. Anatomy is examined by an image viewing session delivered on individual workstations using Assess software and Physics by a multiple-choice question (MCQ) examination delivered on individual
workstations using Speedwell software. Both modules are held over a two-day period, three times each year: normally in March, June and September. The two modules are each held on separate days.

A candidate may attempt the modules at the same sitting or at separate sittings and may pass them either together or separately in any order. A candidate will be deemed to have achieved success at the First FRCR once both modules have been passed.

From Spring 2015 no candidate will automatically be permitted more than six attempts at any FRCR examination or examination module. In order to attempt an examination or examination module for a seventh, or further, time candidates will have to demonstrate additional  educational experience. Any examination or examination module a candidate has previously taken counts towards his or her six attempts i.e. the rule is backdated to include previous attempts.

2 Entry Requirements

Applicants need to hold a formal clinical radiology training post in which they are actively receiving clinical radiology training (or to have held such a post in the past) in order to enter the First FRCR examination. No minimum period of clinical experience or clinical radiology training is required in order to enter. No confirmation of course attendance is required. Candidates undergoing specialty training in the UK require approval of their Training Programme Director (TPD) prior to submitting an application for each time they attempt the examination.

No exemption is granted from the First FRCR examination on the basis of success in any other examination.

3 Candidate Numbers

The purpose of the examination is to provide a national assessment mechanism for those undergoing formal specialist training in clinical radiology in the UK, however the RCR appreciates that other radiologists wish to obtain the First FRCR examination for their own
purposes. Candidates who are undergoing formal specialist radiology training in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong, and those candidates who are currently contributing to the NHS in radiology are given a priority 1 application window for places in both modules. All other
candidates will be allowed to make an application for remaining places in a priority 2 application window – application dates for specific sittings can be found under the dates and fees section on the relevant webpage. Places for the anatomy module are no longer decided by a ballot system.

4 Physics Module

4a Venues

The examination is held at nine UK venues (Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Leeds, Plymouth, Crewe and Wales) and five global venues (Hong Kong, Singapore, Malta, India and Egypt).

4b Content

The Physics MCQ examination comprises 40 questions. Candidates are given two hours to complete the examination using Speedwell software. Candidates must not attempt to copy any examination materials, including making them available online.

Each question comprises a stem (a question or statement) and five items (answers) labelled (a) to (e). Candidates are asked to determine whether each item is true or false. There is no restriction on the number of true or false items in a question. It is possible for all five items to be true or for all to be false. The examination is not negatively marked and therefore candidates are encouraged to offer an answer to all questions. The current question distribution in the Physics paper is as follows:

  1. A Matter and Radiation (3)
  2. Radiography & Fluoroscopy (6)
  3. Radionuclide Imaging (6)
  4. Radiation Safety (6)
  5. Computed Tomography (6)
  6. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (6)
  7. Ultrasound (6)
  8. Other: (1)

Sample questions are available to give candidates the opportunity to familiarise themselves with question styles and examination materials in advance of the examination. Sections 4.22, 4.23
and 4.24 of the syllabus, relating to molecular imaging, are not currently examined.

Change to the Ionisation Radiation Regulations

The new ionisation radiation legislation has been enacted. The updated regulations will be used as the basis of the questions in the Physics module of the First Examination for the 2018/19
academic year (i.e. from the Spring 2019 sitting) and for the foreseeable future. Teaching should now reflect the new regulations (see below).

  • Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 (IRR17) which has replaced Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999 (IRR99), and
  • The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 [IR(ME)R 2017] which has replaced The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 [IR(ME)R 2000]

4c Marking

The Physics module is marked by the delivery platform, which is programmed with the correct answers.
The marking system shown below is used:

  • For each item correctly answered: +1 mark
  • For each item incorrectly answered: 0 marks

5 Anatomy Module

5a Venues

The examination is held at nine UK venues (Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Leeds, Crewe, Plymouth and Wales) and five global venues (Hong Kong, Singapore, Malta, India and Egypt).

5b Content

The Anatomy image viewing module comprises 100 images and associated questions. A single structure on each image will be indicated by one or more arrows with a single question on that
structure. Candidates are given 90 minutes to view the images and record their answers.

Further information about the module content is shown in the Anatomy advice document.

5c Equipment and Software

The Anatomy examination platform allows the provision of image-based exams, and capture of candidate responses, electronically. The platform provides a simple image viewing window and the ability to move through images. Candidates will record their responses directly via a keyboard and mouse onto the platform. A demonstration site is available via the RCR’s website which enables candidates and trainers, to familiarise themselves with the platform in advance of the examination.

During the course of the examination, keystrokes and screen activity are monitored and recorded centrally. If a candidate continues to type after the end of the examination, this information will be recorded and the RCR will investigate further to determine whether the candidate should be disqualified. In the unlikely event of computer hardware or software failure during the examination, candidates should alert an invigilator by raising their hand – spare workstations are available if necessary.

5d Marking

The platform uses automated marking, which is programmed with acceptable Anatomy answers. The answers will be matched with candidate responses and marks awarded by the system accordingly. Any answers that do not exactly match those within the platform will be
reviewed by examiners and awarded an appropriate mark. Anatomy examiners will review all responses prior to results awarding.

The marking system shown below is used:

  • For each item answered with complete accuracy +2 marks
  • For each item answered with less accuracy, but still correctly +1 mark
  • For each item answered incorrectly 0 mark

6 Standard setting

A ‘modified’ Angoff method is used to set the pass mark for each module of this exam. This involves a panel of subject matter experts (examiners) evaluating each question and providing an estimate as to how likely the just-passing candidate would know the answer. Each item is scored on the basis of the percentage of ‘just passing’ candidates who should know the correct answer. These scores are collated and presented at the standard setting meeting. After discussion, the standard setters again score the questions, and the mean of the post-discussion scores is used to set the standard. The final pass mark is determined after the examination using the Hofstee compromise method. This takes account of candidate performance in the examination alongside judgements made by standard setters. The candidate cohort and pass rate will vary from sitting to sitting.

7 Equipment Required for the Examination

As both modules are delivered online, candidates are not required to bring any stationery to the examination. Calculators are not required for the Physics module but are not prohibited.

8 Candidate Identification

Candidates will need their candidate timetable (which shows their candidate number) and a form of identification that bears the candidate’s photograph and, full name with them at each examination. Candidates that are not registered with the General Medical Council must have
their passport available. Details on identification documents must match those supplied at application.

9 Examination Results

The list of successful candidates by candidate number only, both overall and by module, will be published on the College website. Results will not be available by telephone. All candidates will
be sent a letter by email confirming examination results as soon as possible after the results have been published.

Pass list publication dates can be found on the website. All candidates will receive details of scores achieved in each module and the level of performance that was required to achieve success. Candidates undertaking specialty training in the UK will have their results copied to the relevant TPD and Regional Specialty Adviser (RA) for information.

10 Candidate Conduct

Candidates are expected to behave in a reasonable and respectful manner throughout all College examinations. Candidates must comply with the instructions and requirements of the examination invigilators, RCR staff and examiners at all times. Please note the following:

  • Candidates attempting to make a copy of, or transmit, any examination materials will be disqualified. This includes writing details of the cases shown.
  • Candidates found with any electronic device during the examination will be disqualified.

11 Further Information

Queries arising from this document should be addressed to the RCR’s Examinations Office, either by email to [email protected] or by telephone on 020 7406 5905. Queries at the time of the examination should be raised with the invigilators. Comments, feedback or complaints following the examination should be brought to the attention of the
Examinations Manager, either by email to [email protected] or by telephone on 020 7406 5905.

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