Membership CAI MCQ

The Membership of the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland (MCAI) MCQ is an internationally recognised high stakes assessment of anaesthetists in training knowledge. The MCAI MCQ is a national test of knowledge as laid out in the MCAI syllabus agreed with the Medical Council of Ireland. The examination is embedded in the curriculum and anaesthetists in training may not progress to the OSCE/SOE components of the MCAI without success in this examination.

Key Dates

Download the Examination Calendar 2020  – including details of Membership CAI MCQ Examinations (.pdf)

Opening Closing Exam Date Location Fees

29 June 2020


30 Jul 2020


02 Sep 2020

Dublin €600.00
Baharain, Cairo, Jordan, Oman, Penang, Perdana €800.00

Apply for Examination

Step 1:

Check if you are eligible to sit exam.
You must be a registered medical practitioner, with a primary medical qualification acceptable to the Irish Medical Council, and have been employed as an anaesthetist for 6 months, prior to exam date.  Please read the full Examinations Regulations.(pdf)

Step 2:

Download reference template for your Head of Department to sign.

Step 3:

Apply online from 2nd March 2020

Prepare for Examination

The MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) Examination consists of two parts:

1. Multiple true/false (MTF) questions
Paper 1 covers the following categories:
– Physiology
– Pharmacology
– Physics, clinical measurement, statistics

These are essentially a test of knowledge. Each MTF is a five-part question; so there are 90 questions across the three categories and a total of 450 responses required on the answer sheet. The total testing time for this paper is 180 minutes.

2. Single best answers (SBA) questions
These are designed to examine the application of the knowledge tested in the MTF section. The paper is composed of 50 questions combining physiology, pharmacology and physics / clinical measurement / statistics. The total testing time for this paper is 120 minutes.
Total examination time is 5 hours.

Please read the full Candidate Examinations Guide for more information.

Reading Materials

Here we have compiled a number of resources trainees have found useful for the MCAI. We hope this helps a little with your initial preparation for exams:

  • Principles of Physiology for the Anaesthetist. Peter Kam and Ian Power. CRC Press
  • Physics in Anaesthesia’. Ben Middleton.  Scion Publishing.  **Strongly recommended**
  • Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care – Peck, Hill **Essential**
  • Basic Physics and Measurement – Kenny
  • Essentials of Anaesthetic Equipment – Al-Shaikh **Essential**
  • Respiratory Physiology – West
  • Dr Podcast Scripts for the Primary FRCA – Leslie, Johnson
  • Q Base Anaesthesia Series – for MCQs


Question Banks

Examinations Contact:  Mark O’Rourke,

Frequently Asked Questions

1.Your bank card details

2.Your digital passport-sized photo (jpg)

3. A signed Head of Department Declaration (pdf)

If you are applying for your first exam with the college you can put the number Zero in the college ID field when applying, if you are approved onto the exam the college will send you an ID. If you have already been assigned an ID, please use this to apply for the exam.

If you cannot have your head of department sign the letter please make sure your college tutor or your Human Resources department can verify that you have been employed as an anaesthetist for 6 months. The letter will also need to be officially stamped by your department.

If you’re applying from Ireland you must be registered with the Irish Medical Council. Candidates applying from outside Ireland must submit their own national medical council registration number.

No. You must be registered with the Irish Medical Council to work in Ireland. The CAI cannot help with this process. The IMC can be contacted at

You do not need to be in a training post. You must be employed as an anaesthetist for 6 months prior to your exam application.