Similar to many Membership exams, the 3rd exam is a clinical OSCE. Unlike other Memberships, this is relatively easier to pass with success rates consistently around 60%.
There are 18 exam stations and 2 rest stations, each lasting 8 minutes. Tasks may be any of history taking, physical examination, management, counseling patients, teaching colleagues, communication with patients or colleagues, and procedures. Often multiple tasks are involved. Topics are as broad as for FRCEM Intermediate SAQ but more predictable.
India actually holds the OSCE on separate dates from the UK. Usually, India holds it in June/Dec while UK holds it in Apr/Oct, so check carefully.
Registering for the Exam
This is the only exam out of the 3 that you should book as soon as possible. While not always, the OSCE is often overbooked, and they will only inform you 2-3 weeks before the exam that they couldn’t fit you in. The registration window opens 2 months before the exam.
As of 2019, it will become necessary for you to have passed the FRCEM Intermediate SAQ to be eligible for the OSCE.
Again, you will need to upload your Alternative Certificate of Foundation Competencies and your translated Full Registration cert. You can use the same ones you used before. There is again an additional ~RM1000 admin charge for taking the exam in India.
You will again need a supporting Supervisor (EP/Consultant) whom the college will communicate with to determine your eligibility for the exam. The queries for this is apparently longer than for Intermediate so do keep bugging your boss to check their mail and get it done ASAP. Remember, Often Overbooked.
The OSCE is highly schematic and scored against a marksheet. The MRCEM Part C: 125 OSCEs book by Somani will cover most of the stations and the sample marksheets provided are pretty accurate.
The rest is up to practice. Grab a dedicated partner! Brush up your English and showmanship! No clinical skill is foreign to the Emergency Physician! I was asked to do a full ear examination, including rinne/weber and otoscopy. I have heard of people getting fundoscopy examination as well. Practice!
The exam is held over a few days, with 2 sessions each day. You will only sit one of those sessions, and you’re free to go. You will be assigned your session about 2-3weeks before the exam.
I took mine in Chennai, so I can only speak from my experience there. It is again held at the Apollo Hospital in Annanbakam, waaaay out of the city centre, so arrange your accommodation and transport accordingly.
I am unsure about attire rules, as I did see people attending in scrubs. I would still advise to dress in formal attire, though. You may bring your stethoscope, but other equipment will be provided.
Once at the hospital, the reception will guide you to the gathering area at the back where you will be quarantined with other candidates. You will then be lead to the meeting rooms upstairs where they have multiple rooms set up as osce stations.
What surprised me most was that there are no clocks in the stations, so you have to rely entirely on your own estimation for your 8 minutes. There is also no 1 minute bell; you will only hear a bell to signal the end of the station. I did not manage to complete many of my stations.
Once the exam is over, if you are in the morning session, you will be escorted to a quarantine area for 1-2 hours. Once the afternoon candidates have all begun their session, you will then be allowed out to collect your belongings and exit the hospital.
After the Exam
You will receive your results by e-mail a month later. They will also provide you a performance feedback another month later, or earlier for those who fail.
If you have passed FRCEM Primary and Intermediate SAQ as well, you will also be informed that you have been recommended to the RCEM board for MRCEM award. I will cover details on this in another post.
Thanks for reading!