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The FRCEM SBA is a theoretical exam mapped to the full Emergency Medicine 2021 curriculum.

For more details regarding the MRCEM Primary like who can sit the exam, where the exam takes place and how it is marked and when the results are given visit the RCEM Exam pages.


The FRCEM SBA examination consists of 180 SBA questions presented across two papers each lasting two hours. An hours break is provided in the middle of the exam.

Curriculum Category Syllabus Questions
SLO1 Care for physiologically stable patients attending the ED across the full range of complexity Allergy Cardiology Dermatology Ear, nose and throat Elderly careEndocrinology Environmental emergencies Gastroenterology and hepatology Haematology Infectious diseases Maxillofacial / dental Mental Health Musculoskeletal (non-traumatic) Nephrology Neurology Obstetrics & Gynaecology Oncological Emergencies Ophthalmology Pain & sedation Palliative & end of life carePharmacology and poisoning Respiratory Sexual health Surgical emergencies Urology Vascular 35
SLO3Resuscitate and stabilise patients in the ED, knowing when it is appropriate to stop Resuscitation 35
SLO4Care for injured patients across the full range of complexity Pain and sedation 35
SLO5 Care for children of all ages in the ED, at all stages of development and children with complex needs DermatologyEar, nose and throatGastroenterology and hepatology Infectious diseases Musculoskeletal (non-traumatic) Neonatal emergencies Neurology Ophthalmology Respiratory Resus (BRUE, SUDIC protocol) Safeguarding and psycho-social emergencies in children Surgical emergencies 30
SLO6 Proficiently deliver key procedural skills needed in Emergency Medicine Advanced airway management POCUS Chest drain Adult sedation Paediatric sedation Pericardiocentesis Non-invasive ventilation Escharotomy Lumbar puncture 20
SLO7Deal with complex or challenging situations in the workplace MedicolegalLegislation Organ/tissue donation Information governance Safeguarding Evidence and guidelines 10
SLO8Lead the ED shift Patient flow management Risk management Clinical governance 5
SLO12Manage, Administer and lead Serious adverse event investigation tools (RCA/5 whys/Fishbone analysis) Complaint management
SLO10Participate in Research and manage data appropriately Diagnostic methodology Randomised control trials Systematic review Statistical techniques 10
SLO11Participate in and promote activity to improve the quality and safety of patient QI theories and methodologies Principles of measurement for improvement, judgement, and research Measures and methods of assessing variation
Total 180

RCEMLearning Exam Support

You can revise for the SBA exam with our SBA modules, we have two types:

SBA Revise – These SBA modules contain 10 SBA questions from across the curriculum and you will be provided feedback on each question as you work your way through the module.

SBA Questions – There are a wide range of different SBA topics that we have on RCEMLearning. Each SBA is focused on a different EM curriculum topic.

SBA Explained – We have a large number of videos from RCEM examiners explaining a wide range of SBA exam topics and components. These are to assist you in understanding aspects of the SBA exam.

Getting Ready for the exam

Preparing for the FRCEM (Fellowship of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine) SBA (Single Best Answer) exam requires a focused and systematic approach. Here are some steps to help you prepare effectively:

Understand the Exam Format:

Familiarise yourself with the structure and format of the FRCEM SBA exam. Understand the types of questions, time limits, and scoring system. This will help you develop an appropriate study strategy.

Review the Exam Syllabus:

Carefully review the exam syllabus to identify the key topics and areas that will be tested. Ensure that you have a solid understanding of the core subjects, including emergency medicine, critical care, resuscitation, trauma management, and relevant guidelines.

Collect High-Quality Study Resources:

Gather study resources specifically designed for the FRCEM SBA exam. This may include textbooks, question banks, online courses, and practice papers. Ensure that the resources are up to date, aligned with the exam syllabus, and cover a wide range of topics.

Practice SBA Questions:

Regularly practice solving SBA questions to familiarize yourself with the format and improve your ability to select the most appropriate answer. Utilize question banks, practice papers, and online resources that provide FRCEM SBA-style questions. Pay attention to the explanations provided for incorrect answers to enhance your knowledge.

Time Management:

Time management is crucial during the FRCEM SBA exam. Practice answering questions within the allocated time to enhance your speed and efficiency. Develop strategies to quickly identify key information, eliminate distractors, and select the best answer. This will help you manage your time effectively during the exam.

Review Relevant Guidelines:

Familiarize yourself with the latest clinical guidelines, protocols, and algorithms relevant to emergency medicine. Ensure you understand how to apply these guidelines in different clinical scenarios. This will not only help you answer SBA questions accurately but also enhance your clinical decision-making skills.

Utilise Online Resources:

Take advantage of online resources that offer FRCEM SBA-specific study materials, including question banks, mock exams, and interactive learning platforms. These resources often provide detailed explanations, references, and the opportunity to track your progress.

Join Study Groups:

Collaborate with other candidates preparing for the FRCEM SBA exam. Join study groups or online forums to discuss challenging topics, share knowledge, and solve practice questions together. This collaborative approach can help you gain different perspectives and reinforce your understanding of various concepts.

Analyse Your Performance:

Regularly review your performance in practice exams and question banks. Identify areas of strength and weakness. Focus on improving weaker areas by revisiting related topics, consulting additional resources, and seeking clarification where needed.

Maintain a Positive Mindset and Well-being:

Exam preparation can be demanding, so its important to take care of your mental and physical well-being. Practice self-care, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and engage in activities that help you relax and reduce stress. A positive mindset and well-being contribute to better focus and performance during the exam.

Remember, consistent practice and exposure to a variety of SBA questions are key to success in the FRCEM SBA exam. By following these steps and dedicating sufficient time and effort to your preparation, you can increase your chances of achieving a favourable outcome.

Good luck!

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