CSA/RCA Examinations

Non-urgent advice: Aim of the RCA/CSA

“Test a doctors ability to gather information and apply learned understanding of disease processes and person-centred care appropriately in standardised context, make evidence-based decisions, and communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.”

Non-urgent advice: What is the CSA and RCA

The CSA (clinical skills assessment) is one of the three components of the MRCGP qualification – necessary to complete GP training in the UK. It aims to test various aspects of General Practice through the form of clinical stations with simulated patients. The CSA has currently been suspended due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and has been temoporarily replaced with the RCA (Recorded Consultation Assessment). You are expected to sit the RCA/CSA in your ST3 year.

You will find the CSA/RCA Blackboard module helpful as you start to prepare for this. It is highly recommended to prepare for this with your peers, and you will get support from your CS/ES and TPD.  In Bradford, you will have access to the ST2 ‘Introduction to the RCA/CSA’ modular course as well as 4 structured sessions before your RCA submission date instead of HDR.  You will be funded to attend an external preparation course such as the complete CSA course or the 14fish RCA package). Your trainers have access to training about the RCA and are given access to a CSA toolkit on your ePortfolio that can help develop your consultation skills.

The Revision and Exam Techniques Blackboard course is available to all who have failed an exam.  It is run by a psychologist and looks at studying and managing exam related anxiety.

If you have failed the CSA/RCA once, you will be given access to the Enhanced RCA Booster Course on Blackboard.  If you fail twice you will be able to access  an Enhanced Group Support and be given 3 sessions with a Clinical Skills Expert.  If you have 3 or 4 RCA fails, you will be given 1:1 support as well as a further 3 sessions with a Clinical Skills Expert.

Non-urgent advice: Structure of the CSA

– On desk will be an iPAD with all the cases for that session as well as peak flow chart, prescriptions, med 3s, tuning fork and tongue depressors.
– Examination couch as well
– Buzzer rings to mark start and end of consultation
– 2 minutes between each case
– Break of 10-15 minutes after 7 cases, water coffee and tea. With all other candidates and cannot speak about exam
– At the end they will knock on your door and leave
– Could well include home visits and children simulators over 11
– Need to bring your own BNF, Stethoscope, Ophthalmoscope, Auroscope, Thermometer, Patella Hammer, Tape measure, PEFR meter and disposable mouth pieces (EU standard)

Non-urgent advice: Marking Schedule for the CSA

-13 cases
– Marked on the 3 domains of data gathering, clinical management and interpersonal skills.
– Each domain has an equal numerical score
– Marked as clear pass ( 3), pass ( 2), fail (1) and clear fail (0)
– Total 9 for each case- 117 overall
– Examiner  also marks whole case as pass, fail or borderline
– For borderline cases score is added and averaged
– Based on this they will integrate the scores and produce the pass mark – around 72 +/-2

Non-urgent advice: Top Tips for the CSA

– Get a revision group together- minimum 4 people, start at least 6 months before the exam
– Have a consultation plan
– Videoing – do lots, watch with trainer.
– Practising cases with your trainer
– Courses: most CSA courses are pretty good.
– Practise from CSA books with have a marking schedule
– Be yourself and try to relax a little. Tell yourself “This is going to go well”. The consultation will flow better.

YH HEE CSA webpage YH HEE CSA course to help those who have been unsuccessful