We offer two exams for ophthalmic trainees: MRCSI (Ophth) and FRCSI (Ophth).
The collegiate MRCSI (Ophth) is an internationally-recognised exam that assesses competency in clinical ophthalmology and the relevant basic sciences. It focuses on the assessment of the key components of clinical competence: knowledge, clinical skills, communication, clinical reasoning ability and professionalism. Applicants are required to demonstrate competence in all of these areas to achieve success in the exam.
The exam is aimed at trainees in their first three years of Basic Specialist Training (BST) in ophthalmology. The standard of the MRCSI (Ophth) exam is commensurate with the degree of competence in clinical ophthalmology and relevant basic sciences required to perform the duties of a junior registrar or first-year trainee in Higher Specialist Training (HST). Therefore, to pass the exam, you will need to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge and clinical skill that enables you to work with a degree of clinical independence in all areas of ophthalmology but under the supervision of a senior clinician/consultant ophthalmologist.
In 2017, the MRCSI (Ophth) exam was revised in the context of the new training pathway in Ireland – performance in the exam now forms an important part of the scorecard for trainees in the BST programme in Ireland aiming to enter Specialty Training.
The exam is mandatory for trainees on the National Training Programme in Ireland and is open to trainees from other jurisdictions with similar clinical experience. Applicants must be at the end of their second year of training or later to qualify for the exam and must have passed the FRCOphth Part 1 of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in London or the MRCSI (Ophth) Part 1 (discontinued in 2015).
The exam is divided into three parts:
- MRCSI (Ophth) Clinical Optics and Refraction
- MRCSI (Ophth) Written
- MRCSI (Ophth) Clinical
The collegiate FRCSI (Ophth) exam is exclusive to higher specialist trainees in Ireland. To be eligible to sit the exam you must hold MRCSI (Ophth) and be in Year 4 or 5 of HST.
The exam syllabus is identical to that of the Part 2 written and Part 2 clinical MRCSI (Ophth) exam. You will need to demonstrate that you are competent to practice independently as a general ophthalmic surgeon by possessing the requisite knowledge, clinical skills, communication skills, clinical reasoning ability and professional values. The standard expected will be that of a general ophthalmic surgeon without a specific subspecialty interest.
The exam takes the form of a one-hour viva with set questions that cover the breadth of clinical ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery – a minimum of three examiners conduct the exam and take turns asking the questions and recording the answers. The expected answers to the set questions will be approved by the FRCSI (Ophth) exams committee.