What Is Exactly an MRCS Exam?
The Membership of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (MRCS) is an intercollegiate, two-step examination conducted for surgical trainees to become members of Royal Colleges of Surgeons (RCS) in the UK. It takes a crucial part in the career of surgeons and allows the trainees to move one step forward and become a surgeon.
Even though getting through the MRCS exam is not an easy task, it is worth your time and hard work because it is a widely accepted postgraduate diploma for surgeons. Comparatively, MRCS would be the best way to become a surgeon.
Demand and Scope for Surgeons
The demand for surgeons in India is high because there is a huge shortage of surgeons in India. In India, primary health centers are filled with only 16% of surgeons, where there is an 84% shortage, which is close to 5,000 surgeons. It needs to be addressed with immediate effect.
However, becoming a surgeon is not a cakewalk. It involves hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Completing an MBBS degree does not qualify one for the surgeon role. They need to get enrolled in a PG medical course to enhance their knowledge and application skills and get specialized as a surgeon.
Regions with a high population are statistically more prone to having accidents and emergencies come up. From traffic accidents to household mishaps, there a multitude of things that could happen that would require immediate medical attention. This is what gives rise to higher demand for general surgeons in such places. Over the years, the world’s population has seen massive growth, which further increases the need of general surgeons to help save people in their time of need.
In places such as India, the population is very high, and general health conditions are not the best they could be. While improvements are being made at a macro-scale, it is the micro-scale that is important here. Emergencies of any kind are still emergencies and need to be looked at by trained medical professionals.
Therefore, in places like India, surgical trainees or MBBS holders are encouraged to take up a career in surgery as there is a huge shortage prevailing in the country.
Why Should You Take the MRCS Way to Become a Surgeon?
Most of the students prefer to take up a PG course after MBBS. However, not all get or can afford the PG medical seat in India.
You might think that a PG course after MBBS can be your first step to excel as a surgeon. However, PG medical degree is not the only option to become an eminent surgeon. There are other ways that can pave the way to become a certified surgeon in India. You can choose PG fellowship courses after MBBS with the required specialization. Most of these programs are designed to provide you with practical knowledge, real-time experience, and required surgical skills. With the gained knowledge and skills, you can take your medical career to the next level.
Among the many, MRCS is the most preferred and suggested one for aspirants who had completed MBBS in India. One main reason for Indian MBBS holders to take up the MRCS exams is that it is accepted by the Indian Medical Council.
As an Indian MBBS holder, the best course after MBBS you can choose is MRCS. The PG course after MBBS is valid only in India. If you want to practice medicine abroad, you have to get through the respective qualifying exams of the country. Therefore, getting through MRCS is the best way to gain access to practice medicine in the UK, India, and most of the European countries.
MRCS examines if the surgical trainee has the basic knowledge, skills, and attributes to become a surgeon and if they are eligible to progress as specialists. The examination is acclaimed worldwide and holds high prestige. If you can get through the exam, then without a shadow of a doubt, you are capable enough to practice as a qualified surgeon. Besides, it opens up plenty of opportunities in reputed hospitals. It also lines you up for whatever medical dreams you had.
Eligibility Criteria for an MRCS Exam
To be eligible for the MRCS exam, a candidate must possess a primary medical qualification that is accepted by the United Kingdom General Medical Council. For candidates overseas, they must hold a primary medical qualification, which is accepted by the Councils of the Colleges. This means that for entry into the MRCS exam, Indians will only need an MBBS degree to be eligible for the examination.
When checking if you have a valid degree or not, be sure to double-check with the International Medical Education Directory.
How to Complete the MRCS Examination and Become a General Surgeon
The MRCS examination is broken up into two parts, namely “Part A” and “Part B.” Part A is a written examination, while Part B is a practical examination. When looking into Part A, we see that it is divided into two parts. Here are the details of the structure of the exam:
- Part A
This is a multiple-choice question (MCQ) examination, which lasts up to 5 hours total. The first paper is on “Applied Basic Science,” which lasts up to 2 hours. The second paper is based on “Principles of Surgery in General,” and it lasts up to 3 hours. The topics covered in both papers are generic surgical sciences and applied knowledge, as well as the core knowledge that is required in all nine specialties.
The papers are held simultaneously to prevent any cheating. The marking system is such that the combined marks of both papers make up the marks of Part A. However, each paper has its individual passing grade that is required to be met by the candidates. Then, the overall score also needs to meet a certain criterion to be considered to have passed the first part of the MRCS exam.
- Part B
Part B of the MRCS exam comprises an “Objective Structured Clinical Examination” (OSCE). As mentioned earlier, this part is a practical examination. The OSCE will most commonly have 18 examined stations; each station will consist of a practical task you have to complete. The exam tests for applied knowledge, which consists of anatomy, surgical pathology, critical care, and applied surgical science.
The examination will also be testing for applied skills, which consists of clinical and procedural skills, history taking, and skills in receiving and giving information. You are only allowed to spend 9 minutes in each station, so the ability to be decisive and deduce or process information quickly is a must.
In addition, there may be one or more preparation stations and one station that is pre-tested. The pre-testing station will not be counted for the final marks of the examination, and candidates are not informed which station is being pre-tested.
While the eligibility criteria for the examination is not very high, to be fully prepared for the MRCS exam and be able to complete it effectively, there are certain things candidates should know.
Although it’s not stated at all how much surgical expertise is required for the exam, people who had a more surgical background or those who worked in the surgical department would typically far much better than those who were not. This is since the nature of the questions asked is more clinically orientated, which makes it slightly difficult for those who do not have much background in that.
Even the second part of the examination is more geared toward skills and routine procedures that one would encounter in any surgical department. Hence, if you already have experience in the surgical department, then you might not have much to worry about the MRCS exam.
However, not everyone gets real-time experience in the surgical department. Logically, it is not possible. Besides, if you do not start practicing medicine after your MBBS, getting exposure to surgical aspects is not at all possible. In such a case, all you need is intensive training.
As surgery is a highly critical and crucial medical specialty, you need to be well-prepared and should know every aspect of surgery.
Why Do You Need a Training to Get Through an MRCS Exam?
We are clear that the MRCS exam needs intensive training. How can we get the required training? There are certain universities like Texila American University that offer PG Fellowship with Master of Surgery along with the in-built training module for the MRCS exam. It is a regular program where you will be studying the course in reputed hospitals across India.
Upon joining this program, you will be given training for the MRCS exam by the MRCS-qualified trainers. With this course, you get double benefits: a Master of Surgery and training for MRCS.
Scope and Recognition After the Completion of the MRCS Exam
Upon completion of the MRCS exam, you have jumpstarted your career and are well on your way to become a surgeon. You can practice as a qualified surgeon and take pride in being a certified surgeon. You will be able to add “MRCS” to your post-nominal along with MBBS. This highly boosts your chances of not just getting recognition but also a high salary.
By becoming a Member of RCS, you will join the network of thousands of like-minded professionals from various countries and grow along with them.
Are you an Indian MBBS graduate looking to take the next big step and pursue a master’s in surgery? Then, try MRCS way to become a Surgeon and have a successful career.