Update following the FFICM OSCE/SOE examination results

Published 12/11/2021

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine has received several comments regarding the low pass rate of the OSCE component of the FICM October 2021 exam. We wanted to provide an update and reassurance of the analysis we have conducted this week, together with our next steps and future milestones.

Ongoing analysis

We are still undertaking a detailed analysis of the examination diet. We understand the desire for urgent response - however, we must ensure that the investigation is thorough and accurate. We can say that from analyses to date, the questions, exam conditions and pass mark for the OSCE (as standard set via the Angoff process) are commensurate with previous sittings. We therefore need to try and understand the reasons for the pass rate being so low for the October OSCE. 

Differences to FRCA

For avoidance of confusion, this is a different situation to that of the recent RCoA CRQ Final Written FRCA examination, which was voided because security of the examination was compromised with candidates having a range of in-exam experiences.


We have invited TPDs, FTs, RAs and Heads of School and StR representatives to one of two engagement events next week so that we can consider the factors in more detail and gain counsel from those most directly affected as to the steps forward. We had considered how the pandemic and redeployment may have affected the ability to obtain specific experience in other areas and - importantly - the stress and anxiety experienced by StR doctors over the past few months especially. However, we cannot make changes or representations without feedback from doctors in training and their trainers.

In terms of timing, we are speaking with examiners this evening (12 November) and holding engagement events next week for trainers (16 November) and representative StRs (18 November). Responses to the engagement events will also feed into the examination review and we intend to publish an update regarding the findings on 25 November 2021 – this may be the findings themselves or, if unanticipated circumstances cause a delay, a date by which we will update you.

Independent review

The review will cover the results of the exam itself as well as a recommendation for future exams – in addition, it will feed into a broader independent review of the entire Royal College of Anaesthetists exams function which is being commissioned by the College and will include FFICM.

Thank you to everyone who has contacted us about the FFICM OSCE/SOE examination results. We will make sure those representations are heard as we carry out the review.


Planned timeline

  • 12 Nov: FFICM Examiners’ meeting (as part of review process)
  • 16 Nov: Engagement event for regional and national training leads
  • 18 Nov: Engagement event for regional and national StR representatives
  • 25 Nov: Release of final review report (or, in the event of an unanticipated delay, details of timings of the next update)
  • Ongoing: FFICM incorporation into full RCoA examinations review