...
Register for 24 May Free UKMLA PLAB 2 Booster Webinar  Register Here 
  Register for 24 May Free UKMLA PLAB 2 Booster Webinar  
  • Award Winning for medical education
  • Over 10 Years of Teaching Experience
  • Interest-free Payments Up to 3 Instalments with PayPal
  • Excellent Trustpilot
  • Award wining for medical education
  • Over 10 Years of Teaching Experience
  • Interest-free Payments Up to 3 Instalments with PayPal
  • Excellent Trustpilot

The MRCGP SCA (Simulated Consultation Assessment): What it is and how to Prepare

If you are preparing for the MRCGP SCA (Simulated Consultation Assessment) then this blog is for you!

– Register for our next Free SCA Booster Webinar here
– Join our SCA Telegram teaching group here
– Start our most comprehensive SCA Ultimate Package here

img 1

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

What is the MRCGP SCA?

The SCA is the RCGP’s permanent replacement for the CSA (clinical skills assessment) and the more recent RCA (recorded consultation assessment). It is often the last of the three components of the MRCGP qualification needed to complete GP training in the UK (the other two being AKT and WBPA). It aims to test various aspects of General Practice through the form of live, virtual consultations. Areas tested include clinical, practical, communication and professional skills related to General Practice.

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

Brief Background

Pre March 2020 the CSA (clinical skills assessment) was the ‘Part 2’ exam for MRCGP. It was a role-play based exam that was taken at the RCGP premises in London and consisted of 13 x 10-minute live role-plays with trained actors. 

From March 2020 until November 2023 the RCA (recorded consultation assessment) was used as a temporary replacement for CSA – brought in due to the Covid pandemic. This involved trainees submitting 13 live recorded consultations with real-life patients from their ST3 practice – with these being marked at a later point by RCGP assessors. 

From November 2023 onwards, the new MRCGP SCA (simulated consultation assessment) has been used.

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

What is the format?

The MRCGP SCA exam is taken virtually through an online exam platform, from a local GP practice – in most cases this will be your own training surgery.

There are 12 simulated, live consultations with a role-player which will be assessed remotely by an assessor. Role-players are trained, calibrated and standardised.

Each case is 12 minutes long, with 3 minutes reading time between cases. 

Cases can be video or telephone consultations. In the majority of them you will be able to see the simulated patient. Others will be audio only.

Role-players are usually playing patients directly, however you may have cases with parents, carers or other healthcare professionals such as social workers.

Booking is via the RCGP website. 

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

Exam Purpose

The exam is designed to assess a GP trainee’s ability to integrate and apply clinical, professional and communication skills appropriate for general practice. According to the RCGP website, trainees should be able to demonstrate that they: 

– can keep patients safe 
– can adapt in treating different types of patients and illnesses
– can manage risk, medical complexity and uncertainty
– can exhibit appropriate behaviour, attitude and concern when managing patients.

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

Which topics could come up?

Essentially, anything! Cases will reflect real life general practice, including types of patients and the various issues that GPs can see in day-to-day practice.

A Blueprint has been developed by the RCGP which uses the same clinical experience groups as in WPBA (work-place based assessment).

Blueprint list of Clinical Experience Groups:

  1. Patient less than 19 years old
  2. Gender, reproductive and sexual health, including women’s, men’s, LGBTQ+, gynae and breast
  3. Long-term condition, including cancer, multi-morbidity, and disability
  4. Older adults, including frailty and people at the end of life
  5. Mental health, including addiction, smoking, alcohol, substance misuse
  6. Urgent and unscheduled care
  7. Health disadvantage and vulnerabilities, including veterans, mental capacity, safeguarding, and communication difficulties
  8. Ethnicity, culture, diversity, inclusivity
  9. New presentation of undifferentiated disease
  10. Prescribing
  11. Investigation / Results
  12. Professional conversation / Professional dilemma

Our SCA Packages cover teaching and resources to handle all types of GP consultation.

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

How will the MRCGP SCA be marked?

Each case is marked in three domains:

– Data gathering and Diagnosis.
– Clinical management and Medical complexity.
– Relating to others (Interpersonal skills).

All 3 are focused on heavily in our All-in-One SCA Ultimate Package.

‘Data gathering and diagnosis’ assesses your ability to first gather, and then utilise data from various sources. These include relevant history taking and examination skills, as well as interpretation of results and clinical letters. Data gathering is not restricted to clinical issues – understanding the patient’s thoughts, as well as impact on their psychosocial life is also part of understanding key issues of the case. Being efficient, relevant and systematic is important as time can quickly add up – leaving enough time for management is key to using the data effectively.

‘Clinical management and Medical complexity’ assesses your ability to use the data that you have elicited, both in terms of managing the clinical problem AS WELL AS managing the situation as a whole. Clinical decision-making, managing patient expectations, health promotion and effective use of resources may feature here.

‘Relating to others’ is essentially Interpersonal skills – and runs throughout the twelve-minute consultation, assessing your ability to communicate effectively and with a patient-centered approach. It is not simply ‘being nice to the patient’ – adapting techniques for different situations is key – done so in a fluid, non-rehearsed way. It also focuses on areas such as ethics, equality and diversity, explanations and attitude.

These 3 domains are awarded one of four grades:

CP (clear pass): Domain clearly demonstrated above the standard of a newly qualified, independent GP
P (pass): Domain sufficiently demonstrated at the standard of a newly qualified, independent GP
F (fail): Domain insufficiently demonstrated at the standard of a newly qualified, independent GP
CF (clear fail): Domain clearly demonstrated below the standard of a newly qualified, independent GP

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

How can I find out more?

You can find out more on the RCGP SCA page: https://www.rcgp.org.uk/mrcgp-exams/simulated-consultation-assessment.

We will also be updating this blog as well as our YouTube videos as more information arises. 

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

How we can help you pass MRCGP SCA?

Our most comprehensive SCA package is our SCA Ultimate Package – saving you time and planning. All of our SCA resources and material are included in this mega-bundle: SCA-145 Online video course, 3x SCA Audiobook courses, Live Mini-SCA Mock Exam session, Online Case Bank, Data Gathering Flashcards and Medical ‘How to Explain’ Flashcards. Access to all material is for 12 months allowing for a complete preparation plan. It will cover key aspects of SCA preparation – balancing both scoring high marks and effective time management, in 5 different teaching styles to suit each type of learning. Click here for full details and samples.

All of our individual SCA resources and packages are here.

To register for our next free SCA Booster webinar click here.

To join our SCA Telegram teaching group for daily teaching click here.

The MRCGP SCA: What it is and how to Prepare

On a final positive note...

Any final ‘exit’ exam is bound to lead to some anxiety. 

Consultations in General Practice however always need core skills. If you start early, you’re efficient in your consultation practice and don’t rely on just one method of preparation, you have every chance of flying through this new assessment.

Good luck and do contact me for any queries that you may have 🙂

#CanPassWillPass

Author Bio — Dr Aman Arora

Dr Aman Arora is a GP who is now 100% committed to transforming medical education, helping doctors across the globe to ace their exams and enhance their careers. He is proud to hold FRCGP (Fellow of Royal College of General Practitioners). Read more about Dr Aman’s journey here.

Previous roles include:

  • GP Training Programme Director
  • HEWM Advanced MRCGP AKT Trainer
  • GMC PLAB 2 Examiner
  • NHS GP Appraiser
  • MSRA Question-writer
  • GP Recruitment Examiner
  • HEWM IMG Board Member

Author Bio — Dr Pooja Arora

Dr Pooja Arora is a GP with a background in Medical Politics, where she passionately focuses on improving the opportunities and working conditions for junior doctors. She is proud to hold FRCGP (Fellow of Royal College of General Practitioners).

You can find out more about Pooja’s previous roles and qualifications here.

Other blogs that may interest you:

5 Powerful Ways to Maximise Your MRCGP SCA Practice

The SCA (Simulated Consultation Assessment) exam is one of the 3 components of MRCGP (the other two being AKT and WBPA). If you are reading this blog, you have likely a) started preparing for…

Read More

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP SCA Exam

The SCA (Simulated Consultation Assessment) exam is one of the 3 components of MRCGP (the other two being AKT and WBPA). Being a relatively new exam, can understandably create a level of uncertainty and…

Read More

How I Passed the MRCGP SCA Exam in my first attempt – Dr Melissa Morton

If you are a GP trainee preparing for your MRCGP SCA exam, this blog is a must to help you pass. We are lucky to have Dr Melissa Morton – a GPST3 who recently…

Read More
X