How to prepare for MRCEM Intermediate SBA (Written Exam)

If you’re looking for the best MRCEM Intermediate SBA (single best answer) preparation tips, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you will learn about eligibility for applying, exam style, what to read and how to prepare for your second exam. We’ve searched the internet and spoken to former candidates to create this guide for all of your MRCEM resources and guidance.

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All you need to know about MRCEM Intermediate

Am I eligible to apply for MRCEM Intermediate SBA?

To apply for the MRCEM Intermediate SBA, you need to hold a medical qualification approved by the GMC for purpose of registration, have completed the UK Foundation Training (FY1 and FY2) and have passed MRCEM Primary or equivalent if before August 2021.

What is the format of the exam?

MRCEM Intermediate is a single best answer exam, just like MRCEM Primary. MRCEM Intermediate replaces FRCEM Intermediate SAQ as of August 2021. The exam is 180 questions to be answered over 4 hours. This is presented as two 90 question papers sat on the same day with an hour break in the middle. RCEM delivers its written examinations electronically via the computer-based testing company, Pearson VUE.

How much does it cost?

At the time of writing this, the price of the exam was as follows:

  • MRCEM Intermediate SBA – £335

How do I register?

You can apply for the MRCEM Primary exam directly on the RCEM website. Online applications for all examinations will open at approximately 10 am (GMT time) on the application opening date listed on the exam information page, in the dates and fees section. Applications close automatically at 5.00 pm (GMT time) on the listed closing date.

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How can I prepare for MRCEM Intermediate?

Similar to the preparation for MRCEM Primary, it’s important to digest the curriculum being tested so that you can road map the areas you need to study and make sure you don’t spend time on areas that won’t be included in the exam. The points are distributed through the SLOs more evenly than in the first exam so sufficient time is needed to be able to revise for this exam.

The MRCEM Intermediate SBA is conducted in English and candidates are advised that IELTS Level 7 is the expected standard for completion of the MRCEM and FRCEM examinations.

Curriculum Preparation

The content of the exam is mapped out to the Specialty Learning Outcomes (SLO) of Year 1-3 in the RCEM Emergency Medicine Curriculum. In addition, the RCEM Clinical Syllabus will be sampled across the examination and syllabus categories.

  • SLO 1 Complex Stable Patient – 55 questions
  • SLO3 Resuscitate – 40 questions
  • SLO4 Injured Patient – 30 questions
  • SLO5 Paediatric Emergency Medicine – 25 questions
  • SLO6 Procedural Skills – 20 questions
  • SLO7 Complex or Challenging Situations – 10 questions

The syllabus categories and highlighted descriptors are quite thorough so it would be best to review the blueprint


With six SLOs to complete in the Emergency Medicine Curriculum, adequate time should be made up to study each of the categories. After integrating the curriculum into your study schedule, it’s a good idea to concentrate on the high-yield areas. After that, you’ll need time to go over the question banks at least once and then go over them again to rectify any errors on your first try. Finally, you should take a few practise exams to ensure that you understand the question structure and that you are confident in your ability to answer the questions in the allocated time frame. You are required to answer one question per minute like you did in MRCEM Primary. Previous applicants have suggested allowing 6 months alongside a job or placement or 2-3 months if this is your primary focus.

“For SBA it took me two attempts and a lot of time for sitting with a good amount of confidence. I had an ongoing Fellowship in critical care during these 2 years”

Dr. Khan


The first sitting of the MRCEM Intermediate SBA format was in September 2021 so we have been unable to speak to a high volume of previous candidates, but we have found a few doctors who have shared their experience and resources. We have also used everything we had learned from the MRCP and MRCEM Primary testimonials to find the top-rated resources and question banks about MRCEM Intermediate SBA.

The first step is to analyse the SLOs in the RCEM Emergency Medicine Curriculum

  • Curriculum
  • Online SLOs

Following on from this you should do additional reading within the areas you have mapped out to ensure you understand the concepts behind each area rather than relying on memorising practice questions.


Go Emergency Medicine is a YouTube channel that offers free 30-minute summaries of the topics which may come up in the exam. The episode is split into chapters and includes visuals from textbooks and a voiceover. You can find additional resources available on YouTube just by searching “MRCEM Intermediate SBA”.

Question Banks

Once you have spent some time understanding the curriculum and studying the SLOs in more depth, you should move onto question banks to familiarise yourself with the previous questions which have been asked and ensure the structure is as you are expecting. The top two question banks which have been referred to us are:

  • MRCEM Success
  • ExamPrep

Practice Exam

In the last month of revision, focus heavily on practice exams. This will give you the confidence to get through the 180 questions in the set time frame.

Top tips for revision

  • Timed practice is crucial as time passes more quickly than you think.
  • You might be sitting this exam at home so it’s important to make sure the environment is set up and you have a reliable computer and internet connection.
  • Some doctors have advised the questions are not too difficult but intricate analysis and deep knowledge of NICE guidelines are crucial.

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