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 which details the information you are required to send and the date by which is must be received in 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 form.

Copies of letters and certificates will only be accepted if they have been verified as a true copy by your Consultant or 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 for which you are applying, you are not required to resubmit certificates. Candidates in this category may apply to re-sit the examination online.

Appeal Regulations

Download: RCSEd Appeals Regulations

Download: RCSEd Complaints Procedure

Appeals Regulations for Intercollegiate MRCS & DO-HNS

Information regarding the appeals regulations for the Intercollegiate MRCS Examination and the DO-HNS Examination can be found by downloading here.

Information regarding the Intercollegiate Committee for Basic Surgical Examinations (ICBSE) Complaints Procedure can be found by downloading here.


Fee Concession for Refugee Doctors

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

Download: ICSBE Fee Concession for Refugee Doctors Procedure



Applicants who are ineligible for an examination as a result of failing to provide the required documentation by the closing date will not be enrolled into 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 not in a position 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. Please refer to the specific 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 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 how these are conducted as well as assessing the examiners to make sure that they are all following proper practices and examining to the same standard.

For this reason when you come to the College for an examination you may find that there are appointed quality assurance assessors involved in the examination. You may also find that newly appointed examiners are present to observe the examination.

Assessors and observers will be introduced to you by the examiners but it is important to realise that they will take no part in your examination. They are there to watch, listen to and report on the examiners and will not ask you any questions or comment on your response to any questions.

Plagiarism Policy

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

The malpractice policy relating to each individual examination can be found under the information on diets for that examination.

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 and declares its opposition to any form of less favourable treatment, whether through direct or indirect discrimination accorded to employees, job applicants or candidates for examinations, on the grounds of their race, religious beliefs, creed, colour, disability, ethnic origin, nationality, marital/parental status, sex or sexual orientation.

In line with the philosophy of race equality, the College will actively seek to eliminate any potential for unlawful discrimination and will promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people of 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 anomalous behaviour which has been identified during the exam or in post-examination reviews. Once contacted, candidates will have five working days to respond to the College to provide any information requested.

Download here.

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 where a candidate, who is disabled, would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. The RCSEd is required to take reasonable steps to overcome that disadvantage. This policy outlines the processes to follow in applying for a reasonable adjustment in relation to all parts of all RCSEd examinations and the basis for which reasonable adjustments can be granted.

Download:  Reasonable Adjustments Policy 

Suspected Malpractice Policy

This document:

  • defines malpractice in the context of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) examinations
  • describes the procedures to be followed in cases where there is reason to suspect that the regulations have been broken
  • prescribes the sanctions to be applied to different types of malpractice.

Download here.


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