FRCR Exam Structure and Tips


Exam marking has 2 components: 

  1. WRITTEN:  
    1. Rapid Reporting
    2. Reporting sessions (Long cases)
  2. Oral
    1. Viva Room 1
    2. Viva Room 2


Rapid Reporting:

  1. 30 films in 35 min
  2. Maximum marks: 60
  3. Pass marks: 54 (\previously 27).
  4. Candidates fail examination in rapid reporting as they overcall. Don’t mark ‘Abnormal’ unless you are ABSOLUTELY and 100% sure of the finding. You probably will miss one or two but will still pass this way.
  5. Normal Variants are not abnormal. If you mark them abnormal, you may still get half mark – provided its acceptable.
  6. There should be only one pathology on real exam films and this course. Please don’t waste time on looking for second abnormality. 
  7. If you tick ‘Abnormal’ and don’t write the diagnosis, no mark will be given.
  8. Please ensure that you write sides in full as RIGHT OR LEFT. DON’T use abbreviations as R or L. Putting wrong side or not mentioning side -  in real exam can result in deduction of HALF mark. 


Reporting /Long Cases:

  1. Total of 6 cases.
  2. 60 minutes. 
  3. Max marks = 8 for each case. Total max marks: 48
  4. Passing marks = 36.
  5. Long cases are designed to test ‘attention to detail’, correlation and associated findings. Pay close attention to possible second finding, important negatives and/or associations.
  6. Most failures come from missing second diagnosis.
  7. Adding both diagnosis and important negatives/associations will mostly get you 7 marks.
  8. You will have to type all your reports so please be aware of your typing speed.
  9. Use bullet points. Avoid paragraphs if you can. 


Pay a lot of attention to written exam. If you go into viva with 60 marks in rapid reporting and total of 7 in Long Cases – it would be very unusual to fail examination just because of the viva.



Oral Component:

  1. Two rooms with a total of 4 examiners. Two examiners in each room. 
  2. 30 min each viva with 15 min with one examiner. 
  3. Maximum marks: 8 from each room (two examiners in one room).
  4. Pass marks: 6 
  5. It aims to test your skills to engage in a clinical/radiological debate. You will be checked if you are safe to offer a radiological opinion as a consultant radiologist. 
  6. Prepare your notes and scripts for the typical exam cases – covering all aspects of exam cases including technique, findings, interpretation, differential diagnosis, likely diagnosis, clinical management and next radiological investigation.
  7. You have only 15 minutes with each examiner. Aim for at least 4 films with each examiner. It means almost 4 minutes for each case which is very little time in the exam room. Seeing less than 3 films in the exam can be dangerous. 
  8. Try to use SCRIPTS for important high yield cases. SCRIPT are standard reports for common pathologies with associations and important negatives. You will see examples in your handbook and during lectures. Try to make a diary for exam and make scripts. You should be able to comfortably say the script like rhetoric.
  9. Once you start a film, they will stop you and ask questions or guide the discussion. Please accept that hint and don’t insist or argue with the examiner. That is an INSTANT FAIL. Think of it as discussion with the board of clinicians. For example, you look at a chest x-ray which shows apical consolidation. You offer TB as a diagnosis. Examiner hints that TB testing (serological or lavage) is negative. It means he wants you to consider other diagnoses and is testing the strength of your differential diagnosis. Let them guide discussion and just follow in a discussion like a manner – always considering a variety of options. 
  10. No HERO DIAGNOSIS, please. If you try to diagnose retroperitoneal fibrosis on abdominal x-ray and shout it correctly at first glance without describing steps of findings, interpretation, differential, diagnosis and then management – you will score one mark for diagnosis and nothing else. Means FAIL. 


  1. Mocks are designed to simulate examination.
  2. Don’t challenge your examiner (in the examination or course tutors) as it will inevitably result in failure. 
  3. Couse is planned to hold up to 4 mock examinations. It means 4 nearly complete FRCR examinations back to back. It will get you in very good shape for the exam. 
  4. Work with your tutors closely for feedback and tailored techniques to improve your viva skills.
  5. Mocks will be slightly more strict than the actual exam so don’t worry if you are struggling. It is intentional.