Online Question Bank For
The FRCS Vascular Surgery Exam

Exam Advice

A comprehensive exam revision guide for section 1 of the FRCS (Vascular Surgery)

The FRCS is probably one of the most difficult exams you will do. Part of the challenge lies in the stage of life you are at and juggling family, friends, work and need to operate. It’s really important that all of those around you are onboard with what you are trying to achieve and understand the pressures on you to attain those objectives.

General Advice

A good way to approach this is by starting early typically 3-6 months before the exam and really do your best. Don’t use an attempt as a trial because you only have 4 attempts, and they go really quickly.

Another great way of maximising your time is by creating a thorough timetable factoring in your personal and work time aswell, identifying dead time such as waiting for the computer to load or walking from one ward to another. I would also recommend getting a group together for moral support during the journey and have sessions where you discuss the questions that you’re not quite sure on. The JCIE have some sample questions that are useful and meant to be taken from the exam question pool but some have said they are dissimilar to the exam, so be mindful of that. There are currently 5 questions on the website but there has been a recent email to suggest they will increase the number of sample questions to 50 so keep checking the site intermittently. You can access them at this links

SBA Sample Questions – https://www.jcie.org.uk/Utils/DocumentGenerator.aspx?Type=CMS&docID=f739dc03-a341-42c6-9cd0-cf92a8fafb19

Oral Sample Questions https://www.jcie.org.uk/Utils/DocumentGenerator.aspx?Type=CMS&docID=50ad277d-87d0-43ae-82a0-ef1000d1c235

Trust your instincts during the exam; the questions aren’t designed to be deceptive. Effective exam strategies and managing your time efficiently are crucial, as the exam’s pace is intentionally fast to create pressure. Remember, there’s no penalty for wrong answers, so it’s important to respond to every question. If you’re uncertain about an answer, make an educated guess, mark it for review, and revisit it if time allows at the end. However, initially attempt to answer every question to prevent time shortage and missed opportunities.

The exam is predominantly clinical, with a lesser emphasis on basic science or anatomy. Be prepared for numerous imaging-based questions, some on surgical techniques, and a few on uncommon vascular conditions

Bear in mind that the question stem is carefully thought out and normally every word counts. As you go through the question banks you will often answer questions wrong because of a missed word like ‘least’ or ‘first step’ so make sure you read every word in the question.

Everyone revises slightly differently and so you have to have insight as to the best way that you work. In terms of revision we would certainly recommend you starting with an area that is familiar to you because psychologically it will help and motivate you during this period of study. Have a particular deadline for finishing the area that you know well and then move to more challenging areas that you’re not familiar with.

You may have heard a lot of people talk about marginal gains when referencing the exam and this is very true. Often people will fail by 1 mark and that can be really gutting. A recount or reassessment of your paper usually doesn’t lead anywhere and is expensive. Furthermore, the final positive outcome is that you void your attempt rather than have your marks changed which makes the process less than worthwhile unless you’re on your last attempt. Make sure that when you create your timetable every area is covered on the syllabus, and this will maximise your chances for success.

Below I provide a comprehensive review of all the resources that I have identified that are useful for the exam and am happy to share them with you.

Take some time to read the JCIE regulations as these will be a good starting point for revision and read through the syllabus to give a good overview of the task ahead of you. It is important to note some changes to eligibility criteria to apply to sit the exam; the main mone is having previously sat(and persumably passed) the intercollegiate MRCS exam. 

June 2015 Regulations https://www.jcie.org.uk/Utils/DocumentGenerator.aspx?Type=CMS&docID=a067854a-66b4-406a-91fd-c442a5c85ff8

Syllabus Blueprint 2016https://www.jcie.org.uk/Utils/DocumentGenerator.aspx?Type=CMS&docID=173c8b5c-dd00-4545-85f7-fe80b965c462

 

Mr M. Rafay. S. Siddiqui

Books and reading material resources

A guide to the written resources (Books)

Unfortunately there is no dedicated vascular SBA question book. This is frustrating because it potentially means a greater cost outlay for yourselves by trying to access the vascular surgery questions from the variety of books available. Having said that bear in mind there will potentially still be some general and emergency surgical questions in the exam too. You may choose to get one or two books from the library to reduce that cost but in my opinion you should try and buy a copy for yourself. If you want to focus then in terms of questions and style the first 3 books listed (Molloy/Wilson/Siddiqui) are probably the ones to invest in.

Overall however, there are 8 major books used by candidates for the FRCS. Each of these books have a vascular section within them. Six of these are focussed towards the UK exam and the other 2 are American based books for the ABSITE exam but do have valuable information for the FRCS. I have to remind everyone that no singular resource is perfect and there will always be areas in which they can improve and so with the books, in particular, that should be borne in mind when using them for revision. There are a couple of other lesser known books and generally aren’t used by most candidates although some may find it useful. It is also imperative to ensure that you are up to date with guidelines from NICE and ESVS as these are the underpinning of any decision made in clinical practice. The ESVS guidelines can be accessed at this site and you can download them for offline reading at your leisure https://www.ejves.com/content/guidelines.

1) Molloy, R. G., In MacKay, G. J., In Roxburgh, C. S., & In Quinn, M. M. (2020). SBAs and EMIs for the general surgery FRCS. (Known as the Blue Book)

Potentially the most used book for the FRCS, it covers a good breadth and depth of knowledge required for the FRCS exam. The questions are challenging and do appear similar to the exam. The explanations are well thought out and have good diagrams too. The book comprises of SBAs (Single best answers) and EMIs (Extended matching items) as it was published a year before the switch to just Single Best Answers. Even so, the EMIs give valuable information and the book is the most reflective of the exam out of the current available books on the market.

2) Wilson, A., & Hildebrand, D. (2018). FRCS general surgery: 500 SBAs and EMIs. (Known as the Green Book)

The Green book got a bit of flack over the years for being a good book, but with errors. No book is going to be perfect but there is a second edition, and I would hope these corrections have been made. It also includes SBAs and EMIs. The questions in the book are quite challenging and start to give you a flavour of what the exam is really like. When doing the questions, it is very easy to miss the key words like ‘likely’ OR ‘most appropriate’ and this is why, in my opinion the book has great value. A lot of the exam is about technique and understanding the direction of the question and this book certainly helps with that.

3) Siddiqui MRS, Baguneid M, Bhowmick A, Bhoday J (Eds). Higher FRCS: SBAs for Section 1 of the General Surgery FRCS Examination

This is a new book and attempts to map on to the general surgical syllabus. It has an extensive expert authorship and will also has some robotic and peritoneal malignancy questions which is the first book to do so although may not be relevant to the vascular exam. It focuses on SBAs which is the new format for the section 1 exam. It has about 400 questions and is a completely independent set from the question bank online. Because of the common team, there is a discount on the generic higher FRCS online question bank(but not the vascular site – primarily because of its low introductory price currently). The generic higher FRCS question bank has a section of vascular surgery questions which are trumped by the greater number in highervasc.co.uk and so its not really worth getting both question banks. Due to the international faculty there is a range of questioning styles which help with knowledge and technique for the exam. The editorial team is really supportive aswell and will respond quickly to any queries making the academic after sales support excellent.

4) Datta, P. K., & Selvasekar, C. R. (2016). FRCS (General Surgery) The Road to Success. Doctors Academy.

This book is more of a mini-textbook and is written in a question answer style. This allows for a good approach to the exam although may be more suitable for part 2 for general surgery although may be useful for the vascular exam. You can also often get this from the library or online as a pdf. The big advantage of this book is that covers a wide area of topics including areas such as skin and gives a lot of basic knowledge which lays the foundation upon which to build a greater understanding of the subject material. It will almost certainly help from the part 2 perspective too.

5) Aroori, S., & Puneet, . (2011). MCQs for FRCS. London: Radcliffe Pub.

This is an older book and has quite a few questions in it. This is a good book to revise to towards the end of your revision process. This is because the explanations are quite brief and so the focus is on testing your ability to answer a completely new set of questions and asked in a slightly different way. It would work well with the website surgery online discussed below to assess your understanding of the syllabus. It asks questions in a true false manner so isn’t really in the style of the exam but does go through a lot of knowledge. When using these books make sure you don’t bother with the cub-specialities as these are unlikely  to come up in the vascular exam.

6) Fernandes, R., & Royal College of Surgeons of England. (2019). FRCS general surgery: Section 1.

This book is nicely divided into specific areas which try to map on to the syllabus. It has a good approach and has a good bariatric section which is useful. It maybe more useful towards the end of revision or to plug any gaps in your knowledge rather than being the main focus for revision. The vascular section may not always be in keeping with the other question books/banks and as such it may be better to peruse the book via a library rather than buying it outright.

7) Fiser, S. M. (2009). The comprehensive ABSITE review. Richmond, Virginia: Hancock Surgical Consultants, LLC.

Although I don’t have first-hand experience of this book it is considered to be an excellent revision tool for the FRCS. It is primarily aimed at the American audience and their ABSITE board exams but many candidates that I have come across have used this book as part of their revision. The level of detail is good and would certainly be of a similar standard to the FRCS. Again focus on the relevant areas such as vascular, trauma, emergency and general surgery. 

8) Behind The Knife ABSITE Podcast Companion. Published by Behind The Knife – The Surgery Podcast, 2020

Without doubt Behind the Knife podcasts are excellent and if the companion to the podcast is anything close to the actual podcasts, it will be amazing. This came out after I had passed my exam, but I have been told by people taking the exam recently that it is a very well-thought out book and is certainly useful. One of the areas to be aware of is that although the management and cancer workups are very similar between the UK and the USA, there are some small variations so always ensure that the info is corroborated with a UK source/guideline too. Its got a good vascular section and a section on statistics too.

 

Textbooks & Reading Material

The companion series books are excellent books and were traditionally viewed as the go to resource for FRCS revision. The role of these books has changed slightly and are mainly used for the part 2. It will definitely be helpful to read before part 1 to supplement knowledge and improve understanding but without using the online question banks, most have struggled to pass because the exam is a combination of knowledge and technique. The question banks focus on the technique side along with knowledge which can then be consolidated with books such as the companion series. I have listed some commonly used textbooks below but bear in mind that these need to reused in conjunction with question books and banks to ensure you get an appropriate feel in terms of technique and knowledge. The general view is that although the vascular companion series book is detailed it needs supplementation with other textbooks for more nuanced consolidation of knowledge. In addition to the vascular companion series book, it would be handy to go through the core topics in general and emergency surgery to help with the variable amount of general, trauma and emergency questions that come up in the exam.

The syllabus is one of the most fundamental documents you will read as part of your revision. This document gives you the framework of all the areas that could potentially be tested in the exam. From my own experience my program director used to tell me at every appraisal that I should look at the syllabus and read it but I never really did until the year of my exam. It is an extensive document and each of these topics are fair game, certainly for part one.  I would highly encourage everyone to read and reread it, to get an overview for your revision. It can be accessed at the following site.

https://www.iscp.ac.uk/media/1113/vascular-surgery-curriculum-aug-2021-approved-oct-20.pdf

There is a nice introduction on vascular topics from the VSGBI and can be accessed here. I would suggest one of the initial resources that you could read in a day and feel like you have achieved something which is all good psychologically to face the more complex and larger subject areas

https://jvsgbi.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/FINAL-211123-AS-SPREADS.pdf

Other Textbooks

1) Thompson, Matthew M., editor. Oxford Textbook of Vascular Surgery. Oxford University Press, 2016 – The “Oxford Textbook of Vascular Surgery” is a comprehensive resource that covers various aspects of vascular surgery. It includes contributions from over 130 specialist contributors and is a valuable study material for surgical trainees, especially those in their final two years of training. The textbook provides in-depth discussions on the epidemiology, vascular biology, clinical features, and management of diseases that affect the vasculature. It also includes dedicated chapters on topics such as paediatric surgery, damage control surgery, and amputations. Additionally, it offers online content and informative videos demonstrating current surgical techniques, making it a practical resource for practicing surgeons. The book is closely aligned with the published Intercollegiate Surgery Curriculum, which makes it particularly useful for those preparing for the Intercollegiate Examination. Overall a comprehensive textbook which is useful to ensure you have a good grasp of the subject and fills in any gaps in knowledge you may have. You can purchase it from amazon here https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/es/Matthew-Thompson/dp/0199658226?language=en_US

2) Loftus, Ian, and Robert J. Hinchliffe, editors. Vascular and Endovascular Surgery: A Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice. 7th ed., Elsevier Health Sciences, 2023 – This work is part of the Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice series and is recognized as an essential reference for trainees in general surgery and those preparing for the FRCS examinations. The seventh edition of this book, as detailed on Elsevier Health and Barnes & Noble, is a revised and updated version that includes current references and resources, addressing recent clinical developments in areas such as aneurysm repair, lower limb revascularization, and venous interventions. It provides evidence-based recommendations to support clinical practice and is designed to be a concise and practical guide for both surgical trainees and established consultants. You can purchase it from amazon here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vascular-Endovascular-Surgery-Companion-Specialist/dp/070208462X

3) Bhattacharya, Vish, and Gerard Stansby, editors. Postgraduate Vascular Surgery: A Candidate’s Guide to the FRCS and Board Exams. 2nd ed., World Scientific Publishing Europe Ltd, 2018 – A key feature of this guide is its practical approach, aimed at equipping candidates with the knowledge and understanding necessary to excel in their exams. It covers a range of topics, from the fundamentals of vascular surgery to more complex surgical procedures and post-operative care, ensuring a well-rounded comprehension of the field. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Postgraduate-Vascular-Surgery-Candidates-Clinical-ebook/dp/B07DNT4M68

 4) Parvin, Simon D., and Jonothan J Earnshaw, editors. Rare Vascular Disorders: A Practical Guide for the Vascular Specialist. TFM Publishing, 2005 – This book is a comprehensive guide intended for vascular specialists and covers a wide range of rare vascular conditions. It provides guidance on treatment approaches in situations where there is limited information or experience available. The book is structured to offer pertinent surgical literature and covers topics such as major vessel arteritis, Behcet’s disease, Moyamoya disease, and radiation-induced arterial disease. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rare-Vascular-Disorders-Practical-Specialist/dp/190337832X

Other books that you consider reading are the ATLS manual, the CCrISP manual and Top Knife.

 

Online and starter revision resources

There are 2 starter courses, 7 major online question banks and 4 other online resources for the FRCS section 1. We present a short review on each for your help and reference.

Starter courses

Doctors Academy

Doctors Academy are well known for their educational resources and offer a great 1 or 2 day course for the part 1 FRCS. The course covers a lot of subject matter which is a great way to really kickstart your revision. It also helps midway to clarify areas that you didn’t know much about. They cover some technique and go through questions during the course too. This is a great resource for those who aren’t quite sure about where to start or how. Places are usually limited so you should regularly look at the website. Although a course designed for the general exam,  it covers vascular, emergency and general which are all areas you could come up against in the exam. Even more importantly they cover an element of exam technique which is a significant component to any exam with SBAs.

https://www.doctorsacademy.org//frcs

Higher FRCS Starter Course

Higher FRCS starter course is another great starter course. The advantage is that it is tailored for any stage and goes through the process of application to the first few weeks of revision. It is delivered via zoom which makes it easy to access and there are plenty of dates and availability due to the online nature of the course. It runs for about 3 hours and covers cancer protocols, exam technique and uses a really nice interactive platform called mentimeter to allow audience participation. It’s well worth attending, not too long and gives a valuable set of resources that could save you weeks in the initial period of revision. Although designed for the general surgery FRCS, it is relatively affordable and has transferrable techniques and advice into the vascular exam.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/frcs-section-1-tips-and-techniques-tickets-158506554371

Online Resources

Higher Vascular Surgery

The newest question bank released in December 2023, it has over 350 single best answers. It is the first UK based Vascular question bank and focuses on guidelines from the UK and those generally followed by UK clinicians. It mainly focuses on clinically orientated scenarios and is divided into emergency, general and vascular. It is easy to use and is similar to exam in its style and depth of knowledge. It has an evolving image and protocol based question section which is being expanded on regularly. The site is very easy to use and focuses on the user experience during revision and serves as a useful adjunct to the other resources available. The aim is to map it to the syllabus and questions will be added over the following 3 to 6 months. It is in a beta version and therefore has an introductory price which is very affordable currently. Higher Vascular is part of the Higher FRCS family of question banks and the questions in Higher Vascular Surgery exceed those that are in the Higher FRCS question bank (which focuses on more general topics). It is therefore better to go for the more focused question bank as it is cheaper.

https://www.highervasc.co.uk 

https://www.highervascular.co.uk

 

Efrcs

No list is complete without mentioning efrcs. It is probably the most used resource for the FRCS. It has a range of questions just shy of 1000 questions. They also have an additional set in their timed test section so don’t miss out on them. The resource includes both extended matching and single best answer questions. It all helps in terms of revision. They also have questions on anatomy and physiology of which there can be a few questions in the exam about. The developers regularly update their questions. It is really well laid out in a simple format too. There are a few image based questions that will help prepare you for the exam too. It is important to note that Efrcs existed prior to the separation of vascular surgery from general surgery and therefore covers the main general surgical specialities. It is also useful to reiterate that they do include anatomy and physiology (although not specifically vascular); is one of the few banks that covers the basic science. In many candidates experience there isn’t much basic science but sometimes if there are the odd 1/2 questions, they are easy wins and in the part 1, every mark counts.

https://www.efrcs.com

Companion FRCS

A great set of questions of over 600. It really does begin to feel like the exam when doing these questions. Many of the questions are image based and the site has a timed test feature too. The layout and design is slick and clean with easy to navigate features. The questions are good and have the advantage of highlighting key words and why the other options are wrong which can be equally useful to hone in on the knowledge required for the exam. The descriptions often have good diagrams and clear explanations which all help. They have also added explanations to their timed tests which is a great bonus. The way to use this question bank is to primarily use the areas that may come up such as vascular, emergency, general, critical care and anaesthesia 

https://www.frcscompanion.com

VESAP

The Vascular Education and Self-Assessment Program (VESAP), as provided by the Society for Vascular Surgery, is an educational resource designed primarily for professionals in the field of vascular surgery. VESAP serves as a comprehensive tool for self-assessment and learning, aiding vascular surgeons, residents, fellows, and other healthcare practitioners specializing in vascular diseases.

This program offers a diverse range of modules covering various aspects of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy. It includes a substantial number of questions, each accompanied by detailed explanations and references, to enhance understanding and knowledge in the field. These modules span topics like cerebrovascular disease, upper extremity vascular disease, and many more, ensuring a broad scope of study.

VESAP is also notable for its flexibility, being accessible online and through a mobile app. This allows users to engage with the material in a variety of settings, catering to different learning styles and schedules. The program is structured to support professionals in fulfilling their continuing medical education requirements and to assist in preparing for various certification examinations related to vascular surgery. It is overall an excellent resource but does have its downsides of being US based and it can feel a bit expensive. The advantage is that you can collectively purchase it and login separately which encourages collaborative revision (a very underrated aspect of any revision) but it does mean you may have someone having done some of the questions before and you would need to reset them to attempt them.

https://vascular.org/vascular-specialists/education-and-meetings/vesap

OnExamination

A massive resource that includes SBAs and EMQs. A range of types of questions and separated out into subject areas. Some of the questions may not be very similar to the exam but are useful to keep your mind thinking about the topics and areas of interest. One of the biggest advantages to OnExamination is the app which allows you to take the questions anywhere on the go. This means that all the dead timings like waiting for a coffee or walking along a corridor can be used to answer another question. The exam is all about marginal gains and OnExamination certainly helps with this side of revision. In addition some libraries purchase bulk licenses and so you can actually get a month or two for free via the local hospital library. Be selective when using this resource in terms of the topics, some questions are more at the level of MRCS rather than FRCS

https://www.onexamination.com/products/frcs-general-surgery

Surgery Online

A good resource to test yourself on a brand new set of questions. There are about 400 SBA and EMQ questions which all help for the exam. The questions are not divided into subjects which gives you a real ‘test feel’ to the site. A useful resource to revise from but most useful towards the end of the revision period. The downside is that because the bank isn’t divided into subjects, when going through it you may find questions that clearly will not come up in the vascular exam e.g. polyp surveillance guidelines in colorectal surgery. In that case just skip the irrelevant ones and judge your performance overall.

https://www.surgeryonlinefrcs.com

Grab the FRCS

This is a resource that is available as a beta version but still under construction and will focus on part 1 and part 2. The organisers have offered an initial introductory rate to reflect the beta nature but it is an upcoming resource that is well laid out and will be useful practice prior to the exam. it has a vascular section and looks promising based on the aims that it is intending on achieving. 

https://www.grabthefrcs.com

ASPIRE digital

This is a great series of webinars which you can register to listen to and attend especially for the ASPIRE residential (or virtual now) days. You need to be a member of the society to access the resources but they can be found under the education section of the site.

https://www.vascularsociety.org.uk/

Audible Bleeding

Another excellent resource with a range of podcasts, videos and an ebook which gives a great overview of the important topics. It is updated regularly and will post guideline links which are really useful

https://www.audiblebleeding.com/

Oxford Vascular Collaterals

The Oxford Vascular Collaterals website is a comprehensive online educational platform aimed at vascular professionals. It covers the UK Vascular Surgical Curriculum, offering resources like video lectures, live sessions, and various modules. Topics include vascular trauma, carotid disease, paediatric vascular practice, and key surgical guidelines. Access to content requires subscription verification through an NHS email or confirmation as a healthcare professional. The site also features expert-led sessions, curriculum insights, and discussions on seminal papers and clinical trials relevant to vascular surgery​. It is an absolutely incredible resource. It is an essential resource and it is imperative to go through for both parts of the exam. 

https://www.theoxfordvascularcollaterals.com/

BSET webinar series

A great series of webinars with a range of topics covered and easy to access free from the website below. You can also access some of the ASPIRE webinars from here too. 

www.bset.co.uk/education

A guide to the written resources (Books)

Unfortunately there is no dedicated vascular SBA question book. This is frustrating because it potentially means a greater cost outlay for yourselves by trying to access the vascular surgery questions from the variety of books available. Having said that bear in mind there will potentially still be some general and emergency surgical questions in the exam too. You may choose to get one or two books from the library to reduce that cost but in my opinion you should try and buy a copy for yourself. If you want to focus then in terms of questions and style the first 3 books listed (Molloy/Wilson/Siddiqui) are probably the ones to invest in.

Overall however, there are 8 major books used by candidates for the FRCS. Each of these books have a vascular section within them. Six of these are focussed towards the UK exam and the other 2 are American based books for the ABSITE exam but do have valuable information for the FRCS. I have to remind everyone that no singular resource is perfect and there will always be areas in which they can improve and so with the books, in particular, that should be borne in mind when using them for revision. There are a couple of other lesser known books and generally aren’t used by most candidates although some may find it useful. It is also imperative to ensure that you are up to date with guidelines from NICE and ESVS as these are the underpinning of any decision made in clinical practice. The ESVS guidelines can be accessed at this site and you can download them for offline reading at your leisure https://www.ejves.com/content/guidelines.

1) Molloy, R. G., In MacKay, G. J., In Roxburgh, C. S., & In Quinn, M. M. (2020). SBAs and EMIs for the general surgery FRCS. (Known as the Blue Book)

Potentially the most used book for the FRCS, it covers a good breadth and depth of knowledge required for the FRCS exam. The questions are challenging and do appear similar to the exam. The explanations are well thought out and have good diagrams too. The book comprises of SBAs (Single best answers) and EMIs (Extended matching items) as it was published a year before the switch to just Single Best Answers. Even so, the EMIs give valuable information and the book is the most reflective of the exam out of the current available books on the market.

2) Wilson, A., & Hildebrand, D. (2018). FRCS general surgery: 500 SBAs and EMIs. (Known as the Green Book)

The Green book got a bit of flack over the years for being a good book, but with errors. No book is going to be perfect but there is a second edition, and I would hope these corrections have been made. It also includes SBAs and EMIs. The questions in the book are quite challenging and start to give you a flavour of what the exam is really like. When doing the questions, it is very easy to miss the key words like ‘likely’ OR ‘most appropriate’ and this is why, in my opinion the book has great value. A lot of the exam is about technique and understanding the direction of the question and this book certainly helps with that.

3) Siddiqui MRS, Baguneid M, Bhowmick A, Bhoday J (Eds). Higher FRCS: SBAs for Section 1 of the General Surgery FRCS Examination

This is a new book and attempts to map on to the general surgical syllabus. It has an extensive expert authorship and will also has some robotic and peritoneal malignancy questions which is the first book to do so although may not be relevant to the vascular exam. It focuses on SBAs which is the new format for the section 1 exam. It has about 400 questions and is a completely independent set from the question bank online. Because of the common team, there is a discount on the generic higher FRCS online question bank(but not the vascular site – primarily because of its low introductory price currently). The generic higher FRCS question bank has a section of vascular surgery questions which are trumped by the greater number in highervasc.co.uk and so its not really worth getting both question banks. Due to the international faculty there is a range of questioning styles which help with knowledge and technique for the exam. The editorial team is really supportive aswell and will respond quickly to any queries making the academic after sales support excellent.

4) Datta, P. K., & Selvasekar, C. R. (2016). FRCS (General Surgery) The Road to Success. Doctors Academy.

This book is more of a mini-textbook and is written in a question answer style. This allows for a good approach to the exam although may be more suitable for part 2 for general surgery although may be useful for the vascular exam. You can also often get this from the library or online as a pdf. The big advantage of this book is that covers a wide area of topics including areas such as skin and gives a lot of basic knowledge which lays the foundation upon which to build a greater understanding of the subject material. It will almost certainly help from the part 2 perspective too.

5) Aroori, S., & Puneet, . (2011). MCQs for FRCS. London: Radcliffe Pub.

This is an older book and has quite a few questions in it. This is a good book to revise to towards the end of your revision process. This is because the explanations are quite brief and so the focus is on testing your ability to answer a completely new set of questions and asked in a slightly different way. It would work well with the website surgery online discussed below to assess your understanding of the syllabus. It asks questions in a true false manner so isn’t really in the style of the exam but does go through a lot of knowledge. When using these books make sure you don’t bother with the cub-specialities as these are unlikely  to come up in the vascular exam.

6) Fernandes, R., & Royal College of Surgeons of England. (2019). FRCS general surgery: Section 1.

This book is nicely divided into specific areas which try to map on to the syllabus. It has a good approach and has a good bariatric section which is useful. It maybe more useful towards the end of revision or to plug any gaps in your knowledge rather than being the main focus for revision. The vascular section may not always be in keeping with the other question books/banks and as such it may be better to peruse the book via a library rather than buying it outright.

7) Fiser, S. M. (2009). The comprehensive ABSITE review. Richmond, Virginia: Hancock Surgical Consultants, LLC.

Although I don’t have first-hand experience of this book it is considered to be an excellent revision tool for the FRCS. It is primarily aimed at the American audience and their ABSITE board exams but many candidates that I have come across have used this book as part of their revision. The level of detail is good and would certainly be of a similar standard to the FRCS. Again focus on the relevant areas such as vascular, trauma, emergency and general surgery. 

8) Behind The Knife ABSITE Podcast Companion. Published by Behind The Knife – The Surgery Podcast, 2020

Without doubt Behind the Knife podcasts are excellent and if the companion to the podcast is anything close to the actual podcasts, it will be amazing. This came out after I had passed my exam, but I have been told by people taking the exam recently that it is a very well-thought out book and is certainly useful. One of the areas to be aware of is that although the management and cancer workups are very similar between the UK and the USA, there are some small variations so always ensure that the info is corroborated with a UK source/guideline too.

 

Online resources to look out for!

FRCS guide

This is a resource that is due to come out this year or early 2024 and attempts to mimic the exam in its style. The exact number of questions will vary between 300-500 questions – definitely a useful addition to the ones listed above

Online Community Resources

Facebook

There are 2 Facebook pages related to the FRCS general surgery. These provide updates on features of their question banks and give helpful tips and tricks to give an added dimension to your revision.

https://www.facebook.com/vascularFRCS/

https://www.facebook.com/HigherFRCS/

https://www.facebook.com/frcscompanion/

There are 3 FRCS related community groups which post useful information about the exam and experiences from candidates and well worth joining to keep up to date.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/4904996052860240/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1171998452846874/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1850665048498879/

 

Social Media

There are currently 3 major social media resources

Twitter

@HFrcs – This is the Twitter handle for the Higher FRCS question bank (www.higherfrcs.co.uk). This is an excellent resource and a new question is posted every fortnight, independent to its question bank. It generates some really stimulating discussion and advice from candidates who have recently passed also get posted. It has a real community feel to it and posts some nice snippets of information about relevant topics and guidelines. It currently has over 870 followers making it the largest dedicated FRCS Twitter account for the general surgery part 1 exam.

@frcscompanion – This is the Twitter handle for the FRCS Companion question bank (www.frcscompanion.com). The Twitter account provides regular updates about the website including new features and also sends messages of support to those taking the exam.

Instagram

h_frcs – This is the Instagram handle for the Higher FRCS question bank (www.higherfrcs.co.uk). There are some nice pictures of cancer flowcharts and how the site works too. There are also some nice snapshots of challenging questions to get you thinking about the exam too.

Online Presentations

Higher FRCS has produced a really good presentation for the FRCS exam looking at parts 1 & 2. They talk about the exam and approach to it including some practical tips on how to start revising. It was used as part of the revision advice in the Emergency and Trauma Symposium run by the Moynihan Academy in December 2021.
You can access it from the link below. There’s also a welcome presentation to the website which has some useful tips too. The main other presentation about the FRCS is slightly older now but has some good advice on the approach to take with the exam and general tips that are worth considering over the course of your revision. Below is also a personal account of someone who has recently passed the exam with some good top tips.
YouTube

There are also some nice generic general surgery presentations that may also be useful to watch but are not specific to the FRCS however begins to gear your mind towards SBAs and the exam format.

Podcasts

There are a range of Podcasts available to revise from and it can be quite overwhelming to begin with. The main sources for Podcasts are the ASGBI, Royal College of Surgeons and St Marks.

One of the best podcast series is the ABSITE review by Behind The Knife which gives an incredible overview of all the major subject areas in an hour. It’s easy listening and fun, something I would recommend everyone revising for part 1 to do.

https://behindtheknife.org/podcast-series/absite/

Don’t forget local and regional teaching days

The local and regional teaching days are designed to target deficiencies in knowledge and are very useful. It can be tricky when it clashes with clinical work but they are designed for you and some regions also have FRCS teaching days as part of the regional teaching. The ASGBI are recently looking into developing a nationwide teaching program that brings local hospital teaching to a global audience and is certainly something to look out for.

We would advise you  to make sure you pay attention to the MDT discussions especially for sub-speciality MDTs such as diabetic foot or vascular planning MDTs. Dont be shy to ask questions either in or out of the MDT context to drill down the decision making thought process as this is something that will certainly be tested in part 2. Take time to review imaging for vascular cases to give a good understanding and try and create a study group to consolidate your learning and also act as cheerleaders through the gruelling process of revision. Dont forget rare conditions, statistics and vasculitides.

The key to part 1 is having detailed and broad knowledge with updated guidance as well as practising exam technique. It is important to read the list of papers on the iscp website as they may certainly come up in part 2 but will help in revising for part 1. You can access the list here: vascular-frcs-papers.pdf (iscp.ac.uk)

Each of these resources have their benefits and pitfalls. We would encourage you to try to use all of these resources to give you the maximum chances of success as they enhance your revision in slightly different ways and in different circumstances.

I really hope everyone passes

Good luck!

Higher Vasc – Higher FRCS – Higher VIVA

error: Content is protected !!
Loading, please wait...