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FRCA Resource List

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AnaesthesiaUK would like to thank Dr James Bowness (Clinical Lecturer in Anaesthesia, University of Dundee, Honorary Specialty Registrar in Anaesthesia, NHS Tayside) and Drs Malcolm McLeod & Alexandre Eros for putting together this comprehensive collection of educational resources to help preparation for the FRCA.

Drs Bowness and Taylor are the co-authors of Anatomy for the FRCA, which AnaesthesiaUK would like to highlight (see below for notes). This book provides clear, easily reproducible diagrams with concise, clear notes to aid you anatomy revision.

The authors also run an annual Anatomy for the FRCA course (March each year) at the School of Medicine in St Andrews, Fife. The course price of £50 - 70 includes a free copy of the book and 20% reduction on other Cambridge University Press texts. The faculty include anatomists and anaesthetists from throughout Scotland (in a 1:1 faculty:delegate ratio), making use of cadaveric material, illustrations and live ultrasound.

General exam material

RCoA website

A search of the RCoA website will reveal some helpful material. Videos explaining the format of the exam and examples of borderline and good candidates are available.

The Chairman’s reports and previous exam papers (mainly for the Final FRCA - which are still mostly in SAQ format although one CRQ paper is available as of 2020) are also available.  These are essential to read as the exam reports give an indication of the RCoA thought processes behind the questions and how/why candidates did not succeed.  Questions that have previously been answered poorly also have a habit of raising their head a few years down the line!

You can also order the college’s guides to the Primary and Final FRCA.  These are an essential read for each stage of the exam, and include practice questions from the RCoA question bank (which do come up in future papers).  These books are currently being updated.

e-Learning in Anaesthesia

Online learning platform supported by the RCoA. Comprehensive library of modules covering most of the primary FRCA. Many come with MCQs which occasionally pop up in the actual exam. Final FRCA candidates will also find MCQs and SBAs to practice with.

BJA Education

Regular educational supplement to the BJA. Topics are covered in depth and (anecdotally) seem to regularly form the basis for FRCA SAQ (presumably also CRQ) and viva questions.

The sheer amount and depth of information probably make for a better reference rather than a revision guide, and there are some topics which are unlikely to form a question in the exam - these can be spotted quite easily when the reader is in the mindset of FRCA revision.

More recent articles require a subscription to access online. Older articles are free.

Anaesthesia tutorial of the week

Available online for free. Does cover some subjects that are not covered by BJA education.


Online and mobile device based question bank. Subscription rates are based on how long you want access for. Although it is associated to the BMJ the questions are not official RCoA endorsed (and seem to more accurately reflect genuine exam questions for the Primary FRCA).

On the plus side it does mean you can justifiably spend your time between cases on your phone!


Another very useful resource.  Although we don’t have data to prove this, a greater number of practice questions encountered seems to correlate positively with exam success.  Similarly to OnExamination, the questions may not always reflect the the ones found in the exam.

Northern Ireland Deanery SAQ Website

Comprehensive list of SAQ with sample answers. With the move to CRQs for the final FRCA, the style of answer required in the exam is likely to be different (ie more succinct). The topics covered are however unlikely to change significantly.

General Anaesthesia Texts

Fundamental of Anaesthesia 4e

Editors: T Lin, T Smith, C Pinnock
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN 10:

A comprehensive account of the basic sciences relevant to anaesthesia, with a useful section on clinical anaesthesia.  The updated fourth edition is well presented and easier to read.  Due to the size (912 pages), it is difficult to read throughout and probably more useful as a reference book.


Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Perioperative Medicine A to Z

Editors: S Yentis, Ni Hirsch, J Ip
Publisher: Elsevier
ISBN 10:

An extremely useful and comprehensive reference text, for quick answers to specific questions.  A very valuable tool, but not one which can be used as a core text for any specific domain of the exam.


Training in Anaesthesia - the essential curriculum

Editors: C Spoors, K Kiff
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 10:

Another useful and thorough text, providing a two-side overview on a wide range of anaesthesia subjects. It gives a broad coverage of the basic sciences and many different clinical topics. Another useful resource.


The Oxford Handbook of Anaesthesia 4e

Editors: KG Allman, IH Wilson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 10:

A part of the hugely successful ‘Oxford Handbook’ range, also available in electronic format.  This book presents a comprehensive account of anaesthesia from a clinical perspective.  Very useful resource although, for the purposes of the exam, perhaps more of a reference book.

Science Texts


Anatomy for the FRCA

Authors: A Taylor, J. Bowness
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 978-1-108-70188-4

An anatomy revision text targeted at areas relevant to the FRCA examinations. This book provides a comprehensive, exam-orientated clinical anatomy book for anaesthetists preparing for all parts of the FRCA. It covers all body regions, relating underlying anatomy to practical procedures and anatomical principles, through exam-style questions (SAQs, OSCE, SOE and MTF MCQs).  To aid understanding and retention of knowledge, most questions place their focus around practical procedures or common anaesthetic/FRCA topics.  A large number of illustrations, photographs and ultrasound images are included.

The initial chapter presents a full exam paper of each question type, with subsequent chapters detailing a question and answer for each paper - this allows candidates to revise on their own (and view the answers subsequently) or to practice with colleagues


Anatomy for Anaesthetists 9e 2014

Authors: by Harold Ellis  (Author), Andrew Lawson (Author)

ISBN-10: 111837598X
ISBN-13: 978-1118375983

This book has been adapted form the Ellis series of medical anatomy books, including ‘Applied Anatomy for Students and Junior Doctors’. It does not make specific reference to the FRCA examinations. Some detail is unlikely to be asked in the FRCA. There are many good illustrations and explanations which are helpful if struggling to understand a concept encountered from clinical practice. However, the price may be prohibitive for many.


Concise Anatomy for Anaesthesia

Authors: by Andreas Erdman (Author)

ISBN-10: 0521869099
ISBN-13: 978-0521869096

Written in bullet point format - this makes it concise but difficult read (except for reference). The illustrations are not as useful as in other anatomy texts. As above, it does not make specific reference for the exam and is at the higher end of the price range.


Quick Draw Anatomy for Anaesthetists

Authors: by Joanna Oram Fox (Author)

ISBN-10: 1911510142
ISBN-13: 978-1911510147

Although we have not read this recently-published book, it appears to have been well received and is a winner of the BMA book awards.  Designed around diagrams candidates can draw themselves, to aid understanding.  Very competitively priced.

Physics/ Equipment


Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care

Authors: Tom Peck, Sue Hill
ISBN: 9781107657267

A classic pharmacology textbook, now in its 4th edition and frequently viewed as a core pharmacology book for the FRCA. It covers most if not all the required material for the primary and is still useful as a refresher when studying for the final FRCA.

There is a lot of information in this text, which could be slightly daunting when first starting to study pharmacology. A good approach may be to read little and often, trying to link information with clinical experience.


Drugs in Anaesthesia & Intensive Care 

Authors: E Scarth, S Smith

This book presents an alphabetical list of drugs used in anaesthesia and intensive care. Each drug is listed in the popular FRCA format (Uses, Chemical classification, Presentation, Method of action, ….).

A good book when practicing for the primary Viva – even with non-anaesthetic friends!  Also a useful reference book.


Basic Physics and Measurement in Anaesthesia

Authors: PD Davis, GNC Kenny

Provides a thorough and detailed account of physics for the FRCA, made highly relevant to the exam.  Very clear explanations of concepts even a physics novice can follow!  Essential reading for the Primary FRCA.


Equipment in Anaesthesia & Critical Care, 2013

Authors: D Aston, A Rivers, A Darmadasa

The book is based on the RCoA curriculum and is intended for candidates studying towards the FRCA. It has clear descriptions of topics and uses plenty of photos, tables and diagrams. Highly recommended if you are looking for an equipment textbook.


The Essentials of Anaesthetic Equipment 

Authors: B El-Sheik, S Stacey

The fifth edition of this equipment textbook was published in 2018, which will make it slightly more up to date than the Aston, Rivers & Darmadasa book. The latest chapter covers point of care testing which is absent from some of the other books.


Wards Anaesthetic Equipment

Authors: A Davey, A Diba

 The 6th edition was published in 2012. Another comprehensive textbook about anaesthetic equipment. A bit more expensive than other textbooks in this category.



West's Respiratory Physiology: 10th Edition (John B West)

Viewed by many as the “gold standard” respiratory physiology textbook. The chapters cover most aspects of respiratory physiology in depth with many diagrams and illustrations. It also includes many diagrams and equations commonly featured in the FRCA.

For the keen there are hour long talks by the author covering the material in each chapter available on youtube!


Basic Physiology for Anaesthetists 

Author: D Chambers, C Huang, G Matthews

The second edition was published in 2019 and attempts to cover the entire physiology curriculum for the primary FRCA. The previous edition garnered generally positive reviews online.

Combination of Sciences


Physics, Pharmacology and Physiology for Anaesthetists

Authors: E Plunkett, M Cross

Excellent book covering all three areas. Less of a textbook, it is more suited to studying for the viva. Each topic is briefly summarised and explained with a simple diagram(s), many of which are commonly requested/expected of candidates during the viva. Many of the diagrams, graphs and equations come up regularly in the FRCA. Bordering on essential - particularly for the Primary FRCA viva.

Primary FRCA


Dr Podcast Scripts for the Primary FRCA

Editors: Goodwin, Leslie & Johnson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Price: £37.70

This book presents a thorough review the basic sciences for the Primary FRCA through a series of vivas.  Good for revision close to the Primary FRCA SOE, when basic reading has been covered - to test knowledge, exam style and probe for weaknesses!  Also available as a podcoast.


Primary FRCA in a box

Authors: S Armstrong, B Clifton, L Davis

Not a book – it’s a box with over 200 revision flashcards in it. Unsurprisingly it’s not intended for in depth explanations of complex topics, but it is excellent for revision both alone and in group sessions.


OSCE Questions for the Primary FRCA (Oxford Specialty Training)

Authors: Whiten, Coppel, Richardson & Kemp

One of the successful Oxford Specialty Training series - another useful preparation resource, for practice questions/OSCE stations close to the exam.


The Objective Structured Clinical Examination in Anaesthesia

Authors: Mendonca, Balasubramanian

Another useful exam preparation book, similar to the above.



The Anaesthesia Viva Books

Book 1: Physiology & Physics (Urquhart, Blunt & Pinnock)

Book 2: Physics, Clinical Measurement & Safety (Blunt, Urquhart & Pinnock)

Although slightly older now, extremely useful revision and practice exam material for closer to the Primary SOE.

Final FRCA



Final FRCA: 300 SBAs, 2015

Editors: K. El-Boghdadly, I. Ahmad
Publisher: JP Medical Ltd

This book presents 10 complete 30 single best answer (SBA) mock papers for the final FRCA. Each of the 300 SBAs is accompanied by a detailed explanation and references to further reading. The explanations would also help with revision for the true/false part of the FRCA.

CRQs (previously SAQs)


CRQs for the final FRCA 2019

Authors: M. Ashraf Akuji, F. Martin, D. Chambers, E. Thomas
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This is one of the few revision books based on the new CRQs format for the written part of the final FRCA. It contains ten complete CRQ examination papers with their answer templates. The style is quite similar to the example CRQs released by the RCoA. The authors also provide references to relevant resources such as BJA education articles for each topic. 


CRQs in Anaesthesia 2019

Authors: T. Vasu, M. Kodivalasa, P. Ingle, M. Ahson, L. Nanda
Publisher: tfm publishing

A revision guide for the final FRCA based on the constructed response question (CRQ) format. The book is divided into chapters covering the six mandatory sections of training and two separate sections on general duties and optional units. Each chapter contains a number of CRQs with their suggested answers.

The authors also run a course in Leister which provides a free copy of the book (priced at £120 as of 2020).   


The final FRCA Short Answer Questions: A Practical Study Guide 2019

Authors: E. Combeer
Publisher: CRC Press

This very popular book is a revision guide based on the short answer questions for the final FRCA. It is divided into chapters, each of which covers a subspecialty found in the FRCA syllabus (including pain medicine, ICM, paediatric anaesthesia and more). The topics are covered by looking at relevant past paper examples and presenting detailed answers. 

The final FRCA has recently changed its format from using SAQs to CRQs – however the topics covered in the book are likely to remain very relevant. Anecdotally, the FRCA from 2019 (which contained CRQs) many of the questions were similar to the content covered in this book.

“This was my main resource for my SAQ CRQ revision. It was also used by almost every candidate that I saw at the MSA written course in Liverpool (did feel almost like a biblical/hymn book)  - please turn to page x of the combeer bible”


VIVA (aka SOE)


The Anaesthesia Science Viva Book, 3e 2017

Authors: S. Bricker
Publisher: Cambridge University press
ISBN: 978-1-316-60881-4

This third edition of the ever popular textbook contains detailed, accessible summaries of the core questions in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and clinical measurement that may be asked as part of the oral section of the final FRCA exam.

It is not in a Question and answer style of some other viva books. For impromptu viva practice at work it may require some pre-reading by the colleague examining you. The topics are covered by Quite extensive prose with limited (though artistic) diagrams.


Dr Podcast Scripts for the Final FRCA 2011

Editors: R. Leslie, E. Johnson, A. Goodwin, G. Thomas
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This book is split into 4 sections: Medicine, Surgery, Emergency and Intensive Care medicine and Regional/Anatomy

The topics are covered in a question and answer style – which makes it easy for your colleagues to viva you with minimal preparation. Although published in 2011 the content can feel a little dated and I think this book would benefit from a 2nd edition.

The podcasts are available online and can be useful to recap a revision session. I also found it useful to hear the style in which people answer questions.


Structured Oral Examination in Clinical Anaesthesia: Practice Examination Papers  – 13 May 2009

Author: Cyprian Mendonca, Carl Hillermann  , Josephine James  , Anil Kumar  

ISBN-10: 1903378680
ISBN-13: 978-1903378687

10 SOES with 1 long 3 short cases and 4 clinical science Qs

Easy to follow answers including tables allowing a colleague to examine you with minimal preparation


The Clinical Anaesthesia Viva Book 2009 2e

Author Julian M. Barker

ISBN-10: 0521720184
ISBN-13: 978-0521720182

Broken down into 3 sections:

Advice on viva technique

Short cases (49)

Long cases (25)

Appendices on CXR and PFT interpretation

This is a clinical viva book only (no science SOE Qs). Easy to follow answers including tables allowing a colleague to examine you with minimal preparation.


The Final FRCA Structured Oral Examination: A Complete Guide (Masterpass) 2015

Authors:  Bobby Krishnachetty, Darshinder Sethi

ISBN-10: 1909368253
ISBN-13: 978-1909368255

Succinct answers (almost to the point of not making sense they are so succinct therefore some prior knowledge is required.

Appendices on 

  • CXRs and CTs
  • ECGs
  • Risk scoring
  • Pre-op risk stratification and optimisation
  • Trials in anaesthesia & ICM
  • Causes of abnormal blood results 
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