The CSA assesses a doctor's ability to integrate and apply clinical, professional, communication and practical skills to general practice. It simulates patient consultations based on scenarios drawn from general practice.
The CSA has a similar format to the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) encountered throughout Medical School and other areas of medical training.
The CSA consists of 13 consultations set in a single consulting room, each lasting 10 minutes. The cases are based on real-life scenarios and test a doctor’s ability to gather data, make evidence-based decisions and communicate effectively, both with patients and colleagues. It is a challenging assessment that requires both a broad knowledge base and a good working understanding of GP consultation styles and skills.
The patients encountered in the consultations are played by trained role players. The cases are written by experienced working GPs, and each consultation is marked by a different assessor.
There are currently eight separate sittings of the MRCGP CSA each year, and each sitting occurs over a period of between 6 and 12 days duration.
More information about the MRCGP CSA can be found on the Royal College of General Practitioners website.