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2. Principles of Surgery


The Principles of Surgery (POS) examination is offered annually at all centres where Royal College examinations are written.

This examination, developed by an inter-specialty test committee, allows the other components of the examination process to be made more specific to the specialty concerned, and since it may be written after two years of surgical training, and since "feedback" will be provided, candidates will be helped in assessing their in-training progress.

Candidates must pass the POS examination, the final examinations, and satisfactorily complete the required residency training to obtain Certification by the Royal College.

At the present time, the POS examination is voluntary for candidates in the other surgical specialties. Candidates who pass the POS examination will receive credit and will not be required to repeat that examination if it has become mandatory in their specialty by the time they come to their final examinations.

Residents who wish to be ruled eligible for the final examinations in the surgical specialties identified above must have successfully completed the POS examination.


The six-hour examination contains approximately 300 multiple choice questions covering the categories listed in the outline of contents for the POS examination. See Objectives of Training

The POS examination is part of the examinations process leading to certification in:

  • cardiac surgery
  • general surgery
  • neurosurgery
  • orthopedic surgery
  • otolaryngology
  • plastic surgery
  • urology

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