Exam Policies and Procedures

Find below the College's key examination policies and procedures. (Policies and regulations specific to each examination are available through the application process.)

First Time Applicants Procedure

It is possible to apply for many of our examinations online. After entering your details and paying online, you will be required to post your supporting documentation to the College. At the end of the online application process, you will receive an email detailing the information you need to send and the date by which it must be received by the College. We hope that you find this online facility easy and quick to use.

If first-time applications are not eligible online, or if you prefer not to apply online, first-time applicants may still submit a paper application along with the required payment and supporting documentation to the College by post. 

Late applications will not be accepted, and no allowance will be made for postal or other delays.

Failure to submit the documentation listed on the candidate checklist may result in your application form being rejected and a delay in the processing of your application.

Copies of letters and certificates will only be accepted if they have been verified as true copies by your Consultant or an authorised hospital official and stamped with the official hospital stamp (the signature and stamp must be original). Please also note that if the official hospital stamp is not in English, applicants will be required to obtain an official English translation from a translation agency.

Re-sit Applicants

If you have previously been accepted as a candidate for the examination you are applying for, you are not required to resubmit certificates. Candidates in this category may apply to re-sit the examination online.

Appeal Regulations

Download: Intercollegiate Appeals Regulations

Download: Intercollegiate Complaints Procedure

Fee Concession for Refugee Doctors Procedure

The Intercollegiate Committee for Basic Surgical Examinations (ICBSE) has agreed on a programme of fee concessions for refugee doctors appearing for the MRCS and DO-HNS.

Download: ICSBE Fee Concession for Refugee Doctors Procedure


Applicants who are ineligible for an examination due to failing to provide the required documentation by the closing date will not be enrolled in the examination. Applicants in this category will have their fees refunded, less a 20% administrative charge.

Attendance at the Examination

Candidates must bring their passport or official identification to each part of the examination. If you are unable to provide a passport, you must produce a document with your name, signature, and a current photograph. If you do not provide some form of photographic identification, as detailed above, you may not be admitted to the examination.

Withdrawal from the Examination

Requests to withdraw from the Examination must be made in writing or by email.

Download: Intercollegiate regulations for Guidance on Withdrawing from the Examination.

Withdrawal from the Examination on Medical, Compassionate or Visa Refusal Grounds

Applications for consideration of a refund on medical grounds must be accompanied by a medical certificate.

Applications for consideration of a refund on compassionate grounds should be supported by the consultant or surgical tutor responsible for training.

Applications for consideration of a refund on the grounds of being refused a visa must be accompanied by a refusal letter from the Embassy/Consulate.

Applicants in these categories will have their fees refunded, less a 20% administrative charge. All such applications must be submitted to the Examinations Section of the College within 14 days of the commencement of the examination. Refunds will not be considered if the supporting documentation is received after this date.

Assessment of Examinations and Examiners

As part of its commitment to Quality Assurance, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh regularly reviews the structure of its examinations and their conduct. This includes assessing examiners to ensure adherence to proper practices and uniform standards.

Therefore, when you attend the College for an examination, you may find appointed quality assurance assessors involved. Additionally, newly appointed examiners may be present to observe the examination.

These assessors and observers will be introduced to you by the examiners. It's important to note that they will not participate in your examination. Their role is to observe, listen, and report on the examiners' conduct. They will not ask you any questions or comment on your responses to any questions.

Plagiarism Policy

The College regards plagiarism as a serious offence. Candidates are advised to read the document below before submitting any paperwork for an examination.

The malpractice policy specific to each examination can be found in the information pertaining to that examination diet.

Download: Plagiarism Statement

Race Equality Policy

RCSEd's Policy Statement Of Intent:

The College is committed to the principle of equal opportunities in employment and education. It firmly opposes any form of less favourable treatment, whether through direct or indirect discrimination, towards employees, job applicants, or examination candidates based on their race, religious beliefs, creed, colour, disability, ethnic origin, nationality, marital/parental status, sex, or sexual orientation.

Aligned with the principles of racial equality, the College will actively work to eliminate any potential for unlawful discrimination. It will also promote equality of opportunity and foster positive relations among people from different racial groups.

Cancellation Policy

Download: Cancellation Policy

Additional Attempts Policy

Please find below information relating to the MRCS and DO-HNS Additional Attempt Policy:

Investigation of Anomalous Behaviour in Online/Remote Examinations

Following the online/remote delivery of an examination, the College may need to investigate any anomalous behaviour identified during the exam or in post-examination reviews. Candidates will be contacted and given five working days to respond to the College and provide any requested information.

Download: Investigation of Anomalous Behaviour in Online/Remote Examinations

Reasonable Adjustments Policy for Candidates with a Disability or Specific Learning Difficulty

The Equality Act 2010 and Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011 require the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) to make reasonable adjustments for candidates who are disabled and would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled candidates. RCSEd must take reasonable steps to mitigate this disadvantage. This policy outlines the process for applying for reasonable adjustments in relation to all parts of RCSEd examinations and the criteria under which such adjustments can be granted.

Download: Reasonable Adjustments Policy 

Suspected Malpractice Policy

Download: Intercollegiate Candidate Code of Conduct

Download: Intercollegiate Policy for Concerning or Dangerous Candidate Behaviour

Download: Intercollegiate Suspected Candidate Misconduct Investigation and Sanction Procedure

Download: RCSEd Suspected Malpractice Policy

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