FRCS first pass variance: deanery and specialty contrariety

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FRCS exit examination success may be interpreted as a surrogate marker for UK Deanery-related training quality. The aim of this study was to evaluate relative FRCS examination pass rates related to Deanery and Surgical Specialty.


Joint Committee on Surgical Training-published examination first attempt pass rates were scrutinised for type I higher surgical trainees and outcomes compared related to Deanery and Surgical Specialty.


Of 9363 FRCS first attempts, 3974 were successful (42.4%). Median and mean pass rates related to Deanery were 42.1% and 30.7%, respectively, and ranged from 26.7% to 45.6%. Median (range) pass rates by specialty were urology 76.3% (60%–100%), trauma and orthopaedic surgery 74.7% (58.2%–100%), general surgery 70.0% (63.1%–86%), ENT 62.5% (50%–100%), cardiothoracic surgery 50.0% (25%–100%), oral and maxillofacial surgery 50% (40.0%–100%), neurosurgery 50% (22.7%–100%), plastic surgery 47.6% (30.0%–100%) and paediatric surgery 25% (16.7%–100%). Significant variance was observed across all specialties and deaneries (p=0.001).


As much as threefold variance exists related to FRCS examination first attempt success, trainees should be aware of this spectrum when preferencing deaneries during national selection.

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