RANZCR anatomy examination

Last revised by Dr Joshua Yap on 28 Aug 2022

The RANZCR anatomy examination is one of two examinations comprising the RANZCR Phase 1 examinations, with the other examination being the applied imaging technology (AIT) examination.

These examinations can be sat together or independent of each other, however trainees have a maximum of four consecutive opportunities to complete both examinations. The examinations are typically attempted early in the first year of radiology training.

Format

The examination is 3 hours in duration (with 5 minutes reading time) and consists of:

  • 120 labeling questions: 20 questions with 6 labeling items per question, worth 0.25 mark per labeling item (1.5 marks per question)
  • 60 multiple choice questions: best of five possible answers, worth 1 mark per question
  • 30 very short answer questions: worth 1 mark per question
  • 20 short answer questions: worth 3 marks per question

Since September 2013 the examination has been delivered electronically. Currently it is delivered on the Practique system via online proctoring. All the images are downloaded locally prior to commencement of the examination to prevent slow loading times during the examination.

Answers are typed into text boxes which do not have headings (other than the labeling questions which have the headings "Label 1", "Label 2", etc.).

Content

There are six topic areas (body regions) covered in the examination with the following approximate weightings:

  1. brain (20%)
  2. head and neck (15%)
  3. spine (10%)
  4. thorax (15%)
  5. abdomen and pelvis (25%)
  6. limbs (15%)
Technique

This examination tends to be the more time-constrained of the two RANZCR Phase 1 examinations, and effective time management is crucial.

Labeling questions are assessed on digital images, which can be of any clinical imaging modality including plain radiograph, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT, angiography, and MRI. The images can also be shown in various planes, e.g. axial, sagittal, coronal, etc. Six labels will be present on a single image. It is important to be as specific with your answers as possible (as if you are reporting the location of a minuscule lesion at the tip of the labeling arrow), e.g. writing "middle turn of the left cochlea" instead of simply "cochlea". A list of practice labeled imaging anatomy cases can be found here.

The very short answer questions only require a single word or phrase to be written, e.g. the answer to the question "which vertebra is known as the vertebra prominens?" is simply "C7". Therefore providing excessive detail will likely be a poor use of time.

The short answer questions, however, require more in depth information, and it may be useful to write headings within the text box provided to organize your answers. Bullet points are generally advocated. Each short answer question will typically test one of the following points regarding a given anatomical structure:

  • general gross anatomical description (include average size measurements if remembered)
  • relations, boundaries, course, and/or contents
  • articulations and/or attachments (e.g. ligaments/tendons/muscles)
  • action or function
  • arterial supply
  • venous drainage
  • nerve supply
  • lymphatic drainage
  • development (if clinically relevant, e.g. elbow ossification)
  • variant anatomy

Typing skills are important, and improving your typing speed will essentially provide you with more time to complete the exam. One tip is to type, rather than dictate, a few of your reports during your day to day work.

Past papers

Past papers are available from the RANZCR website. The links below contain playlists with cases highlighting related gross and variant anatomy on a variety of modalities with relevant pre-reading for each past paper. Note that the examination format has since changed however the depth of knowledge required will remain similar.

NB: Details are correct at the time of writing. Please check with RANZCR for updated details.

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