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Final FCAI Clinical and SOE 

2.1 Eligibility

An individual is eligible to enter for the Final Examination leading to the award of Fellowship of the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland who:

  • Has passed within 10 years preceding the current examination date, or is exempt from, the Membership CAI (previously known as the Primary). Please see exemption details at 2.2
  • Has completed 36 months in the practice of anaesthesia. Additionally, where the applicant is on the Irish National Anaesthesia Training Programme, he/she must have completed 36 months within the training programme.
  • Where a candidate has previously attempted the FCAI and is subsequently accepted onto SAT they will remain eligible for the FCAI.

2.2 MCAI Exemption

A candidate for the Final Fellowship examination shall be exempt from passing the Membership Examination, who within the 10 years preceding the date of application, has obtained one of the following qualifications:

  • The Primary or Final Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthesiologists (UK)
  • The Fellowship of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthesiologists.
  • The Fellowship of the College of Anaesthesiologists of South Africa.
  • The Fellowship in Anaesthesia of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
  • The Diplomate Certificate of the American Board of Anesthesiology.
  • The Diploma in Anaesthesiology of the European Society of Anaesthesiology.
  • The Fellowship in Anaesthesiology of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan since April 1998.
  • Overseas Qualifying Examination of the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland.
  • Doctor of Medicine (Anaesthetics) University of West Indies since and including November 2013
  • Any other degree or qualifications as may be from time to time approved by the Council of the College

2.3 Structure FCAI Written Examination

The written exam includes a Multiple Choice Question paper (MCQ) a Single Best Answer paper (SBA) paper and a Short Answer Question paper (SAQ). The following changes to the Fellowship Written (FCAI) examination will be introduced on a phased basis between January 2018 and Spring 2019:

Paper Spring 2018 Autumn 2018 Spring  2019
1 Short Answer Questions (SAQ) 10 Qs – 3 hours 10 Qs – 3 hours 10 Qs – 3 hours
2 Single Best Answers(SBA) 50 Qs – 100 mins 70 Qs – 140 mins 90 Qs – 180 mins
3 Multiple True False (MTF) 30 Qs – 60 MINS 20 Qs – 40 mins 0 questions

Final Fellowship CAI Clinical/SOE Exam

Application Opening Date Application Closing Date Exam Date Venue
01 Feb 2021 22 Mar 2021 20 Apr 2021 Online
04 Oct 2021 08 Nov 2021 30 Nov 2021 Online

In addition to the above changes the 10 Questions on the SAQ paper will have 3 to 6 sub parts. The allocation of marks for these sub parts will appear on the question paper. The marks for both MCQ & SBA papers are combined to give the MCQ result. To pass the written examination, candidates have to be successful in both the MCQ & SAQ components individually. The MCQ and SBA paper includes questions on:

  • Anaesthesia
  • Pain Management
  • Intensive Care Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Anatomy related to anaesthesia practice
  • Physics and clinical measurement

One mark is awarded for each correct answer. Negative marking is not used in the FCAI MCQ i.e a mark will not be lost for an incorrect answer. A question booklet and an optical mark sheet will be provided to record your answers, ‘Candidates should ensure that marks are clearly made on their optical reader sheets as ambiguous or unclear marks will not be processed by the optical reader. Allowances for a candidate who made ambiguous or unclear marks on their answer sheet will not be made during the correction process. The SAQ paper contains 10 questions and is conducted over 3 hours. All questions are compulsory. Topics for the examination can be found in the CAI Syllabus of Examinations but may broadly include: principles and practice of Clinical Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Physics and Clinical Measurement.

2.5 Structured Oral Examinations (SOEs)

Clinical case scenario. Case study to be read by candidates (10 minutes) to be followed by 30 minutes of examination during which the candidate is asked to discuss the case including relevant investigations and peri-operative/critical care management. You will be asked to comment on artifacts such as relevant ECGs and chest radiograph. SOE 1 – 25 minutes. A structured oral examination on clinical anaesthesia and pain management. Clinical artifacts may be used to direct a discussion. SOE 2 – 25 minutes. A structured oral examination on Intensive Care topics (Clinical artifacts may be used to direct a discussion), Clinical Measurement and application of Basic Sciences to Anaesthesia.

2.6 Overall marking scheme FCAI

Excellent 4
Pass 3
Borderline Fail 2
Outright Fail 1

Recommended resources for FCAI preparation

General Books

  • BMJ Education (formerly CEACCP) – **ESSENTIAL**
  • Dr Podcast Scripts for the Final FRCA – Leslie, Johnson
  • Physics, Pharmacology and Physiology for Anaesthetists: Key Concepts for the FRCA – Cross, Plunkett


  • MCQs for the Final FRCA – Henderson
  • Q Base Anaesthesia Series
  • SAQ’s for the Final FRCA – Shorthouse **Highly Recommended**
  • Short Answer Questions in Anaesthesia – Bricker
  • SBA and MCQ’s for the Final FRCA Rakesh Tandon – Oxford Specialty Training

VIVA Books

  • Clinical Anaesthesia Viva Book – Barker **Highly Recommended**
  • The Anaesthesia Science VIVA Book – Bricker **Highly Recommended**
  • Structured Oral Examination in Clinical Anaesthesia: Practice Examination Papers – Mendonca