Predictors of success in the Intercollegiate Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination

DSG Scrimgeour, J Cleland, AJ Lee, PA Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction The Intercollegiate Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS, Parts A and B) is designed to safeguard patients and ensure high standards for trainees wishing to pursue a surgical career. We investigated which factors predict Part A and B success. Methods UK graduates who had attempted both parts of MRCS from September 2007 to February 2016 were included. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to examine the linear relationship between each part of MRCS and logistic regression analysis to identify potential independent predictors of MRCS pass/fail outcome. Results A positive correlation between Part A and B score was identified (r = 0.41, P < 0.01). In Part A, males had higher pass rates than females (odds ratio, OR, 2.78, 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.83–4.19), white candidates were more likely to pass than black minority and ethnic doctors (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.52–1.89), foundation year 1 doctors had higher pass rates than all other grades (e.g. core surgical year 2 trainees vs. foundation year 1 doctors, OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.32–0.77) and younger graduates were more likely to pass than older graduates (OR 2.60, 95% CI 1.81–3.63). In addition to ethnicity and stage of training, Part A performance (number of attempts and score) was an independent predictor for Part B. Conclusions Part A performance is related to Part B score. Many independent predictors of MRCS success were identified, but only stage of training and ethnicity were found to be common predictors of both parts. This article summarises the findings of our most recent MRCS study which was published in The Surgeon (online) in October 2017.1
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-427
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Issue number6
Early online date1 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018



  • MRCS
  • Postgraduate examinations
  • Surgery
  • Validity
  • Predictors

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