DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.608 ISSN:

1005 Core Surgical Training Applications: Moving Goalposts and the Introduction of the MSRA

L Tincknell, M Spazzapan, T Pasha, M Fortune-Ely, L Songra, I Ogunmwonyi, M Sarsam
  • Surgery



The core surgical training (CST) application has changed year-on-year for the past 3-years. The 2023 application cycle saw the inclusion of the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) for long-listing. Our aim was to assess the impact of the new CST application requirements on applicants.


A questionnaire was distributed to attendees of a CST preparation course. Demographic data were collected. A Likert scale was used to determine agreement with a series of statements regarding the CST application and inclusion of the MSRA. Respondents were also given free text to express opinions regarding CST applications.


One hundred fifty-eight (158) responses were collected, 67 [42.4%] were FY2 doctors, 66 [41.8%] were FY3/out of training in the UK, 8 [5.1%] outside of the UK, 14 [8.9%] FY1s and 3 [1.8%] were in another non-training post.

Eighty-nine (89) [56.3%] respondents applied to CST only, with 60 [38.0%] stating that inclusion of the MSRA made them more likely to apply to other specialties requiring the exam. 16 [10.1%] applicants felt that the MSRA was a fair addition to the application progress.

The common themes of qualitative data included: frustration at the short notice given to criteria changes, as applicants felt they spent years preparing their applications. Concern was expressed that candidates with no interest in surgery may consider applying due to inclusion of the MRSA.


Changing the CST application criteria had an overall negative effect on applicants. Most respondents reported the need for changes to applications to be communicated earlier in advance.

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