Membership CAI – OSCE and SOE Examinations

The Membership of the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland (MCAI) is an internationally recognised high stakes assessment of anaesthetists in training knowledge.The MCAI is a national test of knowledge and skills as laid out in the MCAI curriculum agreed with the Irish Medical Council. The examination is embedded in the curriculum and anaesthetists in training may not progress to SAT 3 without possession of this examination.

Key Dates

Download the Examination Calendar 2019 including details of Membership CAI OSCE/SOE Examinations (.pdf)

Opening Closing Exam Date Location Fees
23 Sep 2019 11 Oct 2019 05 & 06 Nov 2019 Dublin, Ireland €800.00
23 Sep 2019 11 Oct 2019 05 – 07 Dec 2019 Perdana, Malaysia €1400.00
07 Feb 2020  28 Feb 2020 24 & 25 Mar 2020 Dublin, Ireland €800.00
07 Sep 2020  12 Oct 2020 10 & 11 Nov 2020 Dublin, Ireland €800.00

Apply for Examination

Step 1:

Check if you are eligible to sit exam.
You much be a registered medical practitioner, with a primary medical qualification acceptable to the Irish Medical Council, and have been employed as an anaesthetist for 12 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 30 September 2019

Prepare for Examination

The MCAI Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) consists of 18 stations in approximately 108 minutes (5 minutes per station). There are 2 pilot stations. These stations do not contribute to the final mark but are used to ensure validity of the questions before they are used in examinations. There is 1 rest station. Therefore 15 stations are used to calculate the result of the OSCE.

The MCAI Structured Oral Examination (SOE) is conducted over a 25 minute period with 2 examiners in each subject. Each SOE consists of 5 x 5 minute sections. 25 minutes comprising four questions in pharmacology and one question in physics. 25 minutes comprising four questions in physiology and one question in clinical measurement

*From September 2019 both SOEs will increase to 30 minutes with an extra physics and clinical measurement question.

Please read the full Candidate Examinations Guide for more information.

Preparation Course – Tuesday 15th October (Dublin) and Sunday 28th April 2019 (Kuala Lumpur)

The MCAI Course is designed to prepare candidates for the Membership OSCE/SOE examination.   It is consultant led and aims to replicate many aspects of the OSCE and SOE exam experience and includes practice SOEs, practice OSCE circuits and examiner feedback.   It is reserved for MCAI OSCE/SOE exam candidates.

How to Apply to Preparation Course in Dublin or Kuala Lumpur:  Download and complete Application Form (.doc)

Dublin Venue: College of Anaesthesiologists

Time: 09.00 – 16.30

Fee: €290 includes lunch & refreshments

This preparation course is open for applications shortly after applications open for the examination.

For more information contact after your exam application submission.

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
  • The Objective Structured Clinical Examination in Anaesthesia: Practice Papers for Teachers and Trainees – Mendonca, Balasubramanian
  • The Physiology VIVA- Kerry Brandis (Australian book, need to order online **Highly Recommended**
  • Dr Podcast Scripts for the Primary FRCA – Leslie, Johnson


Question banks

Examinations Contact:  Eoin Lumsden,

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 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.

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 to sit Membership part 1 and 12 months to sit part 2.