Intercollegiate Specialty Board Meeting in Vascular Surgery

Summary of Key Points Highlighted in the Meeting


Section 1         Thursday 4 January 2018

Section 2         Mon 14/Tue 15 May 2018 in Leeds

Section 1         Tuesday 3 July 2018

Section 2         Mon 12/Tue 13 November 2018 in Leicester



Section 1:

Paper 1            Single Best Answer

Paper 2            Extended Matching Items


Section 2:


Long Cases (x1 40 minute clinical during which 2 patients will be seen)

Short Cases (x1 40 minute clinical during which 4 patients will be seen)



4 x 30 minute oral examinations as follows:

  1. Case-Based Discussion - Aneurysm & Lower Limb - 2 cases will be covered
  2. Case-Based Discussion - Endovascular & Miscellaneous - 2 cases will be covered
  3. Emergency Vascular Surgery Oral comprising:

Trauma - 2 themes will be covered

Peri-operative management / critical care - 4 themes will be covered

  1. Elective Vascular Surgery Oral comprising:

Basic Principles and Interventional Radiology - 4 themes will be covered

Academic Foundation* - covering understanding & methodology analysis, critical appraisal & interpretation

(*Academic Foundation: candidates may be tested on any one of the key published Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) and important vascular papers as determined by the SAC in Vascular Surgery.  The list of top RCTs and important vascular papers is available via the Vascular Surgery Curriculum



Points Highlighted from the meeting:

1        After every Section 1 examination, the following steps are taken to finalise candidates’ results and to determine the pass mark. 



Step 1: Review questions which have been highlighted because of odd patterns of candidate responses

Questions with odd performance statistics are reviewed by the panel of examiners, and removed from the paper before candidates’ scores are finalised if the consensus is the question was problematic.


Step 2: Determine the cut score, using the Angoff method of standard setting

The cut score is set using the Angoff method, in such a way that it reflects the minimum performance acceptable for a candidate deemed “competent” within the purpose of this examination: a day-one consultant in the generality of the specialty.


Step 3: Apply the GMC and AoMRC standards on managing borderline candidates by adding one SEM to the Angoff cut score to determine the pass mark

Candidates whose scores falls within one Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) of the Angoff-determined cut score are defined as “borderline candidates” by the GMC [1]. Guided by the purpose of this examination, in the interest of patient safety and to meet the GMC and the AoMRC standards surrounding borderline candidates [1, 2], one SEM is added to the cut score to determine the pass mark.


[1] Holsgrove, G. (2010) Reliability issues in the assessment of small cohorts:

[2] AoMRC (2015) Guidance for standard setting: A framework for high stakes postgraduate competency-based examinations:



  1. Example of Session 1 questions can be found on the JCIE website. Upon request no additional questions are to be provided. JCIE do not advocate ‘how to pass the exam’ textbooks, and prohibit any passing on of questions to them. They are positive about the exam and its development. I have been asked to recommend to trainees to develop group learning assessing clinical cases as seen on a ward round or MDT and set their own questions as to what they would expect a Day One Consultant to know. A suggestion is that all trainees sitting the exam develop practice question and pool them together. Link for JCIE question writing template:


  1. A revision course is expected to announce for preparation for Section 2 examination.
    1. Academic Foundation will consist of paper review from a list of selected 20 papers  The list of top RCTs and important vascular papers is available via the Vascular Surgery Curriculum


4        You must cover all aspects of the Curriculum, not just Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

Good Luck!