Changes to the MRCGP CSA Exam

The RCGP has announced important changes to the number of cases and marking of the MRCGP CSA. From the September 2011 sitting of the exam, all 13 cases will count compared to the previous 12 cases + 1 pilot case. The way that the overall marks for the exam and the way a Pass or Fail for the overall exam is decided will also change.

In previous sittings, examiners marked each candidate in 3 domains, and then awarded one final grade based on their overall impression of the performance for that case. The grades were – Clear Pass, Marginal Pass, Marginal Fail, and Clear Fail. Only the grade for the overall impression for each case counted towards your exam result. To get an overall pass in the CSA, candidates needed to get a pass in 8 or more out of the 12 assessed cases.

From September, the examiners will not give a separate grade based on the overall performance. Instead, the grades given for the 3 domains (Data gathering, Interpersonal Skills and Clinical Management) will be converted to a numerical value, with the total score for each case being the total score from each domain.

The pass mark will no longer be fixed, but will instead be set each day using the borderline group method, which has previously been used to set the pass standard for the PLAB OSCE examinations.

The Emedica CSA Preparation Course includes teaching on the new mark scheme. Each course only takes 6 GP registrars, allowing each candidate to have 4 mock CSA practice cases. There is detailed 1 to 1 feedback after each case using the new marking criteria. Our mock CSA cases are done in a realistic setting with professional simulated patients and timed in the same way as the real exam.

Further reading:
RCGP information on the changes to the CSA.

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