Exams and Qualifications

FRCR: An Overview for Clinical Oncologists

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Understanding the FRCR postgraduate qualification for Clinical Oncologists

Clinical Oncologists wanting to relocate to the UK from overseas at registrar level or above will need to attain FRCR in Clinical Oncology. We’ve written this article to give Clinical Oncologists with an overview of the FRCR exams.

What is the FRCR qualification in Clinical Oncology?

First FRCR exam in Clinical Oncology

  • Entry requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • FRCR 1 Marking
  • Dates Locations and Costs
  • Royal College Resources
  • Practice papers

Final FRCR Part A in Clinical Oncology

  • Entry requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • Marking
  • Dates Locations and Costs
  • Royal College Resources

Final FRCR Part B in Clinical Oncology

  • Entry requirements
  • Exam Structure
  • Marking
  • Dates Locations and Costs
  • Royal College Resources

What is the FRCR qualification in Clinical Oncology?

Our FRCR overview for Clinical Oncologists begins by detailing what the FRCR qualification is.

FRCR stands for: Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists.

The Royal College of Radiologists are the professional body responsible for the specialties of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Radiology in the UK. The FRCR postgraduate qualification is awarded by The Royal College of Radiologists to doctors who have successfully passed the FRCR exams.

To obtain a licence to practice via the postgraduate route, the GMC require Clinical Oncologists to hold the full FRCR qualification.

The FRCR exams are split into 3 parts and must be completed in the below order:

  1. First FRCR
  2. Final FRCR Part A 
  3. Final FRCR Part B
Training

Clinical oncology specialty training can be summarised in the below three stages, beginning at ST3 and proceeding until ST7.

  • Core clinical oncology training (ST3-4) – Candidates must pass the First FRCR exam at this stage.
  • Intermediate clinical oncology training (ST4-5)
  • Advanced clinical oncology training (ST6-7) – Candidates will take the Final FRCR exams.

Success in all three parts of the FRCR examination will result in the award of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists and furthermore, entitles the use of the post-nominal letters FRCR.

Continue reading our FRCR overview for Clinical Oncologists to find out what you can expect in each part of the exam.

First FRCR exam in Clincal Oncology

Entry Requirements

Trainees who are looking to enter clinical oncology training at must have acquired the full MRCP(UK) diploma. 

Trainees must complete the First FRCR exam during their core clinical oncology training at ST3 or ST4 level.

Exam Structure

The purpose of the first FRCR exam is to assess whether trainees have an appropriate overall knowledge of the sciences that underpin clinical oncology. This includes: 

  • physics as applied to radiotherapy
  • radiobiology
  • cancer biology including molecular biology
  • the pharmacology of systemic anti-cancer treatments
  • medical statistics 

Made up of single best answer questions, the exam consists of four papers overall. The papers are divided into the following modules:

  1. Cancer Biology and Radiobiology:

Made up of 50 questions and lasting for 2.5 hours. 

  • Clinical Pharmacology:

Made up of 40 questions and lasting for 2 hours. 

  • Physics: 

Made up of 50 questions and lasting for 2.5 hours. 

  • Medical Statistics: 

Made up of 40 questions and lasting for 2 hours.

Marking

The first FRCR exam is marked by computer, with 1 mark being given for each correct answer. 

Dates, Locations and Costs

Applicants are able to take the First FRCR exam in several locations worldwide, including Dublin, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, India, London and Manchester.

Usually held in both, February and August, the First FRCR exam for Clinical Oncology costs £123 for Members or £145 for Non-Members.

For more details on dates, please click here. This page will also detail any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam. 

Royal College Resources

Specialty Training Curriculum for Clinical Oncology

Clinical Oncology syllabus

First FRCR Exam – Guidance notes for candidates

Final FRCR Part A in Clinical Oncology

Entry Requirements

Candidates sitting the Final FRCR Part A exam in clinical oncology will be in the advanced stage of their specialty training (ST6/ST7), thus would have also completed the First FRCR exam.

Exam Structure

The Final FRCR Exam Part A comprises of two single best answer papers. It assesses a candidates knowledge of a wide range of common and important disorders in oncology, and the ability to apply clinical understanding and also make clinical judgements. 

Paper 1: This paper lasts for 3 hours and focuses on the following tumour types: 

  • Respiratory (24 questions)
  • Urology (24 questions)
  • Head and neck (24 questions)
  • Skin (12 questions)
  • Central nervous system (12 questions)
  • Gynaecology (24 questions)

This paper has 120 questions in total. 

Paper 2: This paper also lasts for 3 hours and focuses on the following tumour types:

  • Breast (24 questions)
  • Lower gastrointestinal (24 questions)
  • Upper gastrointestinal (12 questions)
  • Haematology (12 questions)
  • Miscellaneous (38 questions) and image-based (10 questions)

This paper has 120 questions in total. 

Marking

Similarly to the First FRCR exam, the Final FRCR Part A is marked by computer and 1+ mark is given for each correct answer.  

Dates, Locations and Cost

Applicants are able to take the Final FRCR Part A exam in several locations worldwide, including Edinburgh, Hong Kong, India, London, Manchester and Singapore.

Usually held in both the Spring and Autumn, the Final FRCR Part A exam for Clinical Oncology costs £343 for Members or £404 for Non-Members.

For more details on dates, please click here. This page will also detail any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam. 

Royal College Resources

Final FRCR Part A Sample Questions

Candidate answer sheet

Advice for candidates

Candidate Reference Sheet

Examiners reports

Candidate examination instructions

Final FRCR Part B in Clinical Oncology

Entry Requirements

Lastly, the Final FRCR Part B exam can be taken by candidates who have passed the Final FRCR Part A exam. 

Exam Structure

The Final FRCR Part B exam consists of a clinical test and an oral test.

Clincal exam

  • The clinical exam will last for 40 minutes.
  • Candidates will rotate through five stations of eight minutes each. 
  • A different pair of examiners will be at each station. When a candidate reaches their station, they will present information about a patient. This information may be supported by investigation results and also appropriate x-rays or scans. 
  • Candidates will then be asked a series of questions, including to identify and discuss clinical findings, discuss clinical patient management and comment on treatment plans for those patients who are receiving radiotherapy. 
  • Candidates should be “bare below the elbow” (as for usual clinical practice) during the clinical examination and must bring a stethoscope, 15 cm ruler, small torch and pen. 

Oral exam

  • The oral exam will last for 44 minutes. 
  • There are two pairs of examiners. Candidates therefore spend 22 minutes with each.
  • There are eight assessments in the oral exam. Each station allows for four independent assessments of a candidate performance.
  • Each examiner leads the questioning for about eleven minutes. The discussion on each topic will usually last for about five and a half minutes. Candidates are asked a number of focused questions during discussion time. 
  • This exam presents an opportunity to examine areas that are particularly difficult to explore in a written form. Particularly radiotherapy planningassessment of diagnostic imaging and clinical management

Marking

As shown above, the Final FRCR Part B exam consists of five clinical stations and eight structured oral assessments.

In order to generate a pass or fail, the 13 sets of marks are considered as a whole. There is therefore no concept of passing one part only (i.e just the clinical exam). 

For detailed information on how results are determined, click here to view the scoring system. 

Dates, Locations and Cost

This exam is only held at one venue in the UK based in London.

The Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists and the Hong Kong College of Radiologists also hold a joint examination. This is organised by the Hong Kong College and is held in Hong Kong once a year at the Autumn sitting.

Usually held in both, April and October, the Final FRCR Part B exam for Clinical Oncology costs £490 for Members or £577 for Non-Members.

For more details on dates, please click here. This page will also detail any changes to the timing, content or structure of an exam. 

Royal College Resources

Click here to view demonstrations videos

Oral Examination – Instructions for candidates

Sample oral questions

Advice for candidates

Generic examiners reports


If you are interested in working in the UK, want to discuss available job opportunities or may have already begun your journey and need further advice, please contact our team today.