Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons

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Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (M.R.C.S.) is a professional qualification for surgeons in the UK and Ireland. It is a multi-part postgraduate medical examination consisting of both theory and practical assessments. Successful completion of the examination is required for the career progression of trainee surgeons. Trainees commonly require multiple attempts at the examination in order to pass and become a member of one of the four surgical colleges in the UK and Ireland, namely the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Each college used to hold examinations independently, but latterly to a common syllabus. However, in January 2004, the four colleges switched over to a common examination, known as the Intercollegiate MRCS. A large and varied collection of commercial revision resources are available that are designed to improve a candidate's chances of success. These resources include courses, books, online question banks and mobile applications.

The separate qualifications used to be Fellowships (F.R.C.S.), but a new set of higher fellowships in specialised fields such as orthopaedics, urology, etc., has been set up to be taken at the end of Higher Surgical Training: this is now the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. Attaining the M.R.C.S. does not give the doctor a right to practise as a surgeon. It is a diploma that is required to progress to Higher specialist training and only attaining an F.R.C.S. in the required speciality along with a C.C.T. (certificate of completion of training), makes the doctor eligible to practise as a surgical consultant in his or her respective field.

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