Cardiff MRCS OSCE Course: Four-Day Intensive Preparatory Course for MRCS OSCE

Provided by

About the course

This four-day preparatory course will provide the attendee with a thorough understanding of the topics on which to focus and the areas to prepare for the MRCS OSCE. The course will be delivered through a robust method of small group teaching, individual OSCEs and interactive discussions, all of which aim to guide the attendee to prepare for each component of the exam (all stations will be covered during the four days).

Day 1 will focus on the knowledge component, with emphasis primarily placed on surgical anatomy and surgical pathology. Day 2 will be divided into a morning session that covers clinical and procedural skills and an afternoon session that covers applied surgical sciences and critical care. Day 3 will consist of a series of mock vivas, complemented by practicing answering high-yield topics in basic sciences. Day 4 will consist of clinical examination stations in the morning and communication skills stations in the afternoon.       

The programme and the teaching sessions reflect the changes introduced to the exam due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The course will be delivered in a socially-distanced manner, with all appropriate precautions taken in order to comply with the regulatory guidelines.

Topics Covered:


  • Brachial plexus and upper limb nerve injuries
  • Shoulder and back
  • Arm, ante-cubital fossa and forearm
  • Wrist and hand
  • Skull base, foramina and cranial nerves
  • Circle of Willis and dural venous sinuses
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Face, mandible and parotid gland
  • Neck, larynx and pharynx
  • Thorax, mediastinum, heart and lung
  • Diaphragm
  • Anterior abdominal wall, inguinal region and external genitalia
  • Peritoneum, lesser sac, epiploic foramen and greater sac
  • Small and large intestine
  • Rectum, anal canal, pelvic floor and perineum
  • Femoral triangle
  • Gluteal region
  • Adductor canal
  • Popliteal fossa
  • Lower leg, compartments, ankle and foot
  • Lower limb nerve injuries
  • Vascular anatomy of the neck, abdomen, and upper and lower limbs

Pathology and Microbiology:

  • Basic pathology
  • System-specific pathology
  • Pathology definitions
  • Tumour markers and metastasis
  • Cancers of the testis
  • Cancers of the thyroid
  • Malignant melanoma
  • Colorectal malignancies
  • Cancer of the breast
  • Cancers of the salivary glands
  • Cutaneous malignancies
  • Carcinoid tumour
  • MEN syndromes
  • Vascular pathologies
  • Diverticular disease
  • Surgical microbiology
  • Necrotising fasciitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Clostridium difficile infection

Applied Surgical Sciences and Critical Care Physiology:

  • Acid-base imbalance (metabolic and respiratory acidosis/alkalosis) and their management
  • Fluid balance and fluid replacement therapy
  • Bleeding and coagulation
  • Management of sepsis and septic shock
  • Homeostasis and thermoregulation
  • Ionotropes
  • Normal ventilatory cycle
  • Causes and management of post-operative respiratory failure
  • Intermittent positive pressure ventilation
  • Acute (adult) respiratory distress syndrome
  • Applied critical care physiology during the peri-operative period
  • Thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
  • Parathyroid hormones, their disorders and calcium metabolism
  • Function of the pituitary and adrenal glands
  • Renal autoregulation
  • Renin-angiotensin system
  • Cerebral autoregulation
  • Space-occupying lesions
  • Head Injuries and management
  • Assessment, pathophysiology and principles of management of burns
  • Principles of epidural anaesthesia/assessment
  • Pain pathways
  • Resuscitation, temperature regulation and hypothermia
  • Principles in the management of long bone fractures and pelvic trauma
  • Compartment syndrome

Clinical and Procedural Skills:

  • Surgical scrubbing
  • Safe use of local anaesthesia
  • Knot tying (Reef, Surgeon’s, tying at depth, instrument tie)
  • Suturing techniques (simple, mattress, continuous, subcuticular)
  • Surgical excision of a cutaneous lesion
  • Urinary catheterisation
  • Cannulation and venepuncture of high-risk patients
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Performing an FNA
  • Insertion of a chest drain
  • Organising a theatre list and theatre list prioritisation

Clinical Examination Topics:

  • Examination of the abdomen and abdominal organs
  • Examination of hernia
  • Examination of varicose veins and leg ulcers
  • Examination of peripheral vascular disease
  • Examination of lumps and lymph nodes
  • Examination of cranial nerves
  • Examination of cardiorespiratory system
  • Examination of the hip, knee, shoulder and back

Clinical Consultation Skills:

  • Information giving and information gathering
  • Challenging situation/patient
  • Difficult consultation
  • Breaking bad news
  • Explaining a diagnosis or discussing management options
  • Consent in surgery
  • Telephone communication


Related article

Donna Cummins offers guidance for budding dermatology trainees looking for the right course or event to match their interests and stage of training