Each station has a pre-determined set of marking points. Examples of these can be found here (PDF 874.9KB) with further explanation below.
The performance of each candidate at each station is assessed in part using a checklist score. This is a list of items that the candidate must perform satisfactorily in order to achieve a score for that item. The items vary for each station. If the candidate attempts an item, but it is not performed satisfactorily, no score will be given. The items are weighted according to importance.
Non-technical skills score
For each station (except procedure stations without a surrogate patient), the examiner will award a score for the performance of the candidate for non-technical skills.
For each station (except non-technical skills stations), the examiner will award a score for the performance of the candidate for their process. Each station type has a different guide with descriptors to aid the examiner in assigning a process score.
Global competency score
The overall competence of the candidate in each station is assessed on a scale of 1 to 6. This score does not contribute to the station score for the candidate.
Threat to patient safety
Any candidate who is a threat to patient safety, endangers themselves or others, will fail the station.
Determining station scores and passing standards
Score for each station
Non-technical station with surrogate: 75 per cent from checklist, 25 per cent from non-technical skills
Procedure stations with no surrogate: 75 per cent from checklist, 25 per cent from process
Examination/History taking/Procedure stations with surrogate: 75 per cent from checklist, 12.5 per cent from non-technical skills, 12.5 per cent from process
The mark required to pass each station is determined by the borderline regression method. This is performed by constructing a regression of the station score against the global competency score for all candidates and setting the cut score at the station score that corresponds to the borderline pass score.
The minimum pass mark for the whole examination is the sum of the 16 station scores plus one standard error of measurement.
In order to pass the exam, candidates must meet the component requirement that is to pass at least two stations of each type (examination, non-technical skills, history and procedure) and achieve equal to or greater than the minimum passing score for the whole exam.
Minimum standard pass
A candidate who on two separate attempts has achieved a combined score that lies within one standard error of measurement of the pass mark and who has passed all 4 components on the same attempt will be deemed to have passed.
Examiner feedback is only provided to unsuccessful candidates. Those who are successful will receive a breakdown of stations passed and failed, but no feedback.
During the examinations, examiners are required to select from a series of descriptors of deficiencies in performance for any candidate with a global competency score “borderline pass” or less at that station. There is also an opportunity for examiners to provide optional free text feedback.
These forms of feedback may be used to assist in the process of the supervisor discussing performance with failing candidates.
All unsuccessful candidates will be provided with a feedback report within five business days of the release of results.
This report will also be sent to the candidate’s current surgical supervisor, who will be asked to arrange a counselling meeting within four weeks.
This meeting should help to provide the candidate with some insight into the reasons why they were unsuccessful and help them to prepare for their next attempt.