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How Do I Prepare For the MSRA?

The MSRA (Multi-specialty Recruitment Assessment) is an entrance examination for getting into most specialty training positions in the UK (1). You only get invited to take the test after you apply for a training job on Oriel, the site that administers all the training job applications in the NHS. The vacancies for the training job applications usually open twice a year with the first round opening in November and the second round opening in mid-August. All vacancies are advertised on Oriel.

Invitation to Sit the MSRA

After applying on Oriel, and if the MSRA is a requirement for the application, you get invited to sit the MSRA exam sometime between January and February of the following year for the first round applications and in September for the second round applications (2). For the January MSRA exam, the resumption date for the job would be in the first week of August and the September MSRA examinees will have their start date in the first week of February the following year.

A screenshot of the Oriel interface- click on ‘Vacancies’ to see available vacancies. You need to keep an eye out for the job adverts you are interested in.

About the Second Round Entry

The second round of applications has very few openings and is highly competitive, in fact, most specialties do not have any job openings in the second round.

What is the MSRA about?

The exam has two components; the Clinical Problem Solving (CPS) and Professional Dilemmas (PD) papers, both of which are written on the same day as a computer-based test (1). It is administered by the Pearson Vue company and the test can be taken anywhere in the world with a Pearson Vue Centre. The CPS component of the exam has 97 questions and lasts for 75 minutes, whilst the PD component has 50 questions and last for 95 minutes, with a five-minute break between the papers. To read more about the MSRA content; click the button below:

After applying for a job on Oriel and getting a place to sit the MSRA exam, the recruitment team should send you an up-to-date blueprint and sample questions for the exam to prepare you for the exam, watch out for this in your email.

Top Tips for the MSRA Examination

Most people who have scored very high scores in the exam report having done a lot of past questions (3). Therefore, adequate preparation is necessary for success in the exam. A few resources reported to be high-yield include question banks like PassMedicine, MCQbank and eMedica. High scorers report to have completed at least two of the question banks and went over them at least once.

It is also important to review the material sent by the recruitment team and familiarise yourself with the test items and common abbreviations.


  1. MSRA Test Blueprint and Information 2019
  2. GPNRO recruitment website
  3. How to Prepare for the MSRA so you get your 1st choice job- useful resources and MSRA revision tips from Dr Zeinab Dafalla who scored 623

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