Anaestheasier's CRQ Top Tips

Anaestheasier's CRQ Top Tips
Photo by MChe Lee / Unsplash

The CRQ component of the written Final FRCA exam is far from easy.

Spanning 12 questions over a total of three hours, essentially any topic can come up, whereupon you will be grilled on all the minutiae of indications, complications and considerations of whatever they've decided to examine you on.

It's tough, and you need two things:

  • To have revised a lot of topics in a decent level of detail
  • Luck on the day

There are plenty of candidates who revise diligently for months only to find that the particular selection of questions that came up on the day just wasn't reflective of their overall knowledge, and unfortunately for an exam with such a broad syllabus, this is unavoidable.

But what you can do, is at least optimise your chances for getting as many marks as possible on the subjects that you do know at least something about.

Many candidates lose easy marks

This is repeatedly mentioned throughout the examiner reports over the last few years - candidates are dropping marks through simple errors like:

  • Not reading the question properly
  • Trying to scatter gun as many answers as possible
  • Failing to be specific enough

And that's where this post comes in.

There isn't a substitute for doing the work, but good technique can stop you losing marks that you deserve for having dedicated yourself to studying.

Here are all of our best tips and tricks for playing the game, and mopping up those extra marks that might just tip you over the pass mark.

Best of luck!

General advice

  • Use BJA education articles, and of course - our posts - to study each topic in the right level of detail
  • Use mark schemes in CRQ textbooks and sites like this to figure out the high yield buzzwords
  • The National Audit Projects come up frequently
  • Only the first thing you write per line will be taken into consideration
  • As you will certainly know already - any question with a 'never' or 'always' statement is usually false
  • They're really picky about signs vs symptoms, and history vs examination - you will not get marks for something in a category they haven't asked for

  • Split your answers:

For example the question "How can you reduce the chance of pulmonary toxicity in patients on bleomycin?" for 3 marks.

  • Avoid oxygen therapy where possible
  • If you have to give oxygen, the lowest FiO2 possible should be used
  • Aim saturations no more than 88-92%
  • Only give high oxygen concentrations in life-threatening emergencies

Each of the above bullet points is good for a mark, whereas "Avoid oxygen, and give lowest possible FiO2 if necessary" may only score you one mark if you lump it together.

  • If you're staring at an empty answer box and totally drawing a blank, sepsis is accepted as a risk factor, complication, indication, contraindication in a disproportionately high number of questions