Examinations

Compulsory Examinations 

The Training Program training requirements include successful completion of four examinations:

  • Clinical Examination
  • Generic Surgical Science Examination
  • Neurosurgery Surgical Science Examination
  • Fellowship Examination in Neurosurgery 

In addition to the above, trainees must present for either the Basic or Intermediate Module of the Training Seminar Examination as part of each Training Seminar. 

Generic Surgical Science Examination

The Generic Surgical Sciences Examination is designed to demonstrate that the candidate understands anatomy, pathology and physiology at levels required for surgical training. All trainees are required to pass this exam in order to progress through the training program. For trainees commencing on the Training Program prior to the 2018 training year, the  Generic Surgical Sciences Examination must be completed prior to or during Basic Training or the trainee will be dismissed. For trainees commencing on the Training Program from the 2018 training year or later, successful completion of the Generic Surgical Sciences Examination will be an eligibility requirement to apply for the Training Program. For the recommended reading list, format, policies (including maximum attempts), dates, venues, fees and the registration process please visit the RACS website at www.surgeons.org. All aspects of the management of this Generic Surgical Science Examination are managed by the RACS directly.
View details relating to the Generic Surgical Science Examination here

Clinical Examination 

The Clinical Examination is a practical exam which tests candidates' clinical application of the basic sciences. The exam is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) consisting of 16 five-minute stations. Candidates are assessed as they undertake four instances of each of four station types: physical examination, counselling, history taking and procedure.

For trainees commencing on the Training Program prior to the 2016 training year, the Clinical Examination must be completed during Basic Training or the trainee will be dismissed. For trainees commencing on the Training Program from the 2016 training year or later, this is no longer a training requirement as relevant clinical scenarios have been included in the selection interview, testing the clinical application of basic sciences relevant to neurosurgery. For the format, policies (including maximum attempts), dates, venues, fees and the registration process please visit the RACS website at www.surgeons.org. All aspects of the management of this Clinical Examination are managed by the RACS directly.

View details relating to the Clinical Examination here

Neurosurgery Surgical Science Examination

For trainees commencing on the Training Program from the 2016 training year or later, this is no longer a training requirement as a Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination (see below) now forms part of the selection process for the Training Program in Neurosurgery.

Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination 

 The Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination is not a training requirement during the Training Program. It is a selection tool used as part of the selection process for the Training Program.   For full details please visit the selection registration and application page of this website. 

The Examination will be a single paper with 70 multiple choice neurosurgery anatomy questions and scored out of a total of 280 marks. The Examination will run for 100 minutes. The recommended reading is Last's Anatomy, Regional and Applied, 9th Edition, 1998 (reprinted 2003) – McMinn R.M.H., Churchill Livingstone. Applicants must score a minimum of 70.00% (196 out of 280 marks) for the Examination to be deemed suitable for selection.

As the Examination is part of the selection process all applicants must sit this each year they apply for the Training Program (results do not carry over from one year to the next as it is a suitability and ranking tool). Details on the timing for the next Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination can be found by visiting the selection registration and application page of this website. Please note presenting for this Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination is limited to applicants for the Training Program only. 

The fee for the Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination is included in the selection application fee (there is no additional fee). The Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination will be held in a single location, with one sitting only, as part of the selection process. Selection points (used in ranking all applicants) are also applied in accordance with the Selection Regulations. 

This Examination is run by the Board of Neurosurgery and the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia.

Training Seminar Examination 

The Training Seminar Examination will have two modules; Basic and Intermediate.

The Basic Module will consist of up to 50 multiple choice questions. Of those, 30 will be taken from Last's Anatomy, Regional and Applied, 9th Edition, 1998 (reprinted 2003) – McMinn R.M.H., Churchill Livingstone. The remaining may be taken from the Training Seminar pre-reading. All questions will have a statement and four possible answer stems. There is an answer key which has five options which range from certain combinations of answer stems being correct to all answer stems being correct. Trainees must select a single letter from the key. Trainees will have up to 60 minutes to complete the Basic Module. Answers to the neuroanatomy component will then be presented and discussed and each trainee, and their supervisor, will receive the results.

The Intermediate Module will consist of 2 essay questions and 2 short answer questions, taken or adapted from previous Neurosurgery Fellowship Examination papers. The questions will be selected based on a limited syllabus which will be made available to trainees. The questions will be scored using the same method as the Fellowship Examination. Trainees will have 120 minutes to complete the Intermediate Module. Answers will be marked and sent to trainees only within 30 days of completion for feedback purposes and to assist in their preparation for the Fellowship Examination. 

Fellowship Examination 


The Fellowship Examination in Neurosurgery must be completed while a trainee is undertaking Advanced Training. To be eligible to apply for the Fellowship Examination the trainee must have completed a minimum of 6 months of satisfactory training as part of the Training Program immediately prior to application.

A trainee cannot present for the Fellowship Examination if they have an active Performance Improvement Notice (see section 3.2) or an active Unsatisfactory Performance Notice (see section 3.3) at the time of the Fellowship Examination or at the time approval is sought to present for the Fellowship Examination.

Trainees who satisfy Regulation 7.1.4 and 7.1.5  must be assessed by the Board Chair as being adequately prepared to present for the Fellowship Examination. To determine if a trainee is adequately prepared the Board Chair may consider: 

  • the performance of the trainee in the Training Program including satisfaction of any conditions applied to the trainee;
  • feedback from the current and/or previous supervisors; and
  • the trainee performance in the Training Seminars including the Training Seminar Examination .

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 The Fellowship Examination comprises a written component and a clinical/viva component. These are made up of seven segments in total, divided into two written papers and five clinical/viva segments.


The required standard for the Fellowship Examination is a level of competency equivalent to that of a consultant surgeon in his or her first year of independent practice. The nine surgical competencies espoused by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons are used as a guideline for the examiners who follow pre-agreed marking guidelines and the predetermined standard. The Fellowship Examination is blueprinted to the Training Program curriculum.

The Fellowship Examination is ran by the RACS, not the Board of Neurosurgery.  Full details can be found on the RACS website including application processes, dates, format and conduct information.

The following past exam papers for the Fellowship Examination in Neurosurgery are provided to assist trainees in their preparation.

2016 August Papers
2016 April Papers
2015 August Papers
2015 April Papers
2014 August Papers
2014 April Papers
2013 August Papers
2013 April Papers
2012 August Papers
2012 April Papers
2011 August Papers
2011 April Papers
2010 August Papers
2010 April Papers
2009 September Papers
2009 April Papers
2008 September Papers
2008 April Papers
2007 August Papers
2007 April Papers
2006 September Papers
2006 May Papers
2005 September Papers
2005 April Papers
2004 September Papers
2004 April Papers
2003 September Papers
2003 April Papers
2002 September Papers
2002 April Papers
2001 September Papers
2001 April Papers