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How to Prepare for EDAIC Part 2

  • September 01, 2021

Following on from our recent Blog on how to best prepare for EDAIC Part 1, this Blog explains what to expect and how to revise for Part 2 of the examination suite.

What should I know about the EDAIC Part II exam?

The Part II EDAIC is an oral examination. The examination of each candidate is held in a single day during which there are four 25- minute oral examinations - (or vivas, as they are known) - two in the morning and two in the afternoon. In each of these, the candidate is examined by a pair of examiners, thereby meeting eight examiners in all. As far as possible, candidates are not examined by examiners from their own training hospital. The two morning vivas concentrate on applied basic sciences and the afternoon vivas relate to clinical topics.

Usually, but not invariably, each pair of examiners comprise one whose mother tongue is that of the language in which the candidate has chosen to be examined and the other who has a good working knowledge of the language. It is accepted that candidates may not be using their mother tongue and some allowance for linguistic difficulties is made.

In the vivas, the examiners use "Guided Questions" (GQ's) which have been set in advance by the examination committee. Each GQ opens with a brief scenario. Ten minutes before the viva, the scenario is handed to the candidate. It is written in his/her chosen language. This gives the candidate time to collect his/her thoughts and prepare to answer questions on the topic presented. These opening questions are then followed by questions on the other topics listed in the examiner's GQ.

The first examiner asks questions for the first 12½ minutes after which a bell rings and the second examiner takes over.

What will be tested within EDAIC Part II?

Whereas the Part I EDAIC basic science MCQ's are designed to test factual recall of relevant basic science knowledge, the Part II basic science vivas are designed to test that the candidate understands the relevance of basic science knowledge applied to the practice of anaesthesia and critical care. With this in mind, the following subjects will always be tested:

  • Pharmacology - The principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics will be examined in some detail. An intimate knowledge of the pharmacology and toxicology of drugs used in anaesthesia is expected as well as many of the drugs in common use in intensive care.
  • Physiology - Physiology of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems will be examined in some detail. A good knowledge of neuro, renal and hepatic physiology as applied to anaesthesia and intensive care will also be expected.
  • Applied Anatomy - It is expected that anaesthetists will know the essential anatomy of areas into which they may insert needles cannulae and endotracheal and endo-bronchial tubes. Applied anatomy of the heart and lung is also examined.
  • Physics and clinical measurement - Anaesthetists monitor and measure numerous clinical parameters and take action on the information displayed. It is expected therefore that they should understand the principle of action, limitations, accuracy, and sources of error in these monitors. Some of the basic physics of gases and vapours, and principles of electrical safety are essential knowledge for the informed anaesthetist. The principle of action and causes of failure in anaesthetic machines and ventilators is also essential knowledge.
  • Instrumentation
  • Clinical Anaesthesia – All candidates for EDAIC II should have experience in all types of anaesthesia and intensive care. These vivas will include questions on both general, regional and special anaesthetic techniques as applied to neuro-, cardiac and paediatric surgery, obstetric anaesthesia and the management of acute and chronic pain.

Similarly, the Part I EDAIC clinical MCQ papers are mainly concerned with testing the candidate's factual clinical knowledge whereas the Part II clinical vivas are concerned with testing the understanding and application of that knowledge

What am I being marked on?

Some reasons for candidates failing include:

  • Inability to apply knowledge and/or basic science to clinical situations
  • Inability to organise and express thoughts clearly
  • Unsound judgement in decision-making and problem-solving
  • Lack of knowledge and/or factual recall

In essence the examiners ask themselves the following questions:
a) Does the candidate have a good foundation of knowledge? Can the candidate apply that knowledge and understand its relevance to the practice of anaesthesia and intensive care?
b) How does the candidate approach a problem? Is the approach logical and well thought out?
c) Have alternative options been explored and understood? Is the candidate dangerous? The Part ll examination may only be taken after the candidate has completed his/her training for specialist accreditation in their respective country. A wide general knowledge in anaesthesia, intensive care and subjects allied to anaesthesia is therefore expected.


What should I read before I take the exam?

The most common question BDI Resourcing get asked when discussing EDAIC Part II, is “Which books shall I read?”. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer particularly since the EDAIC is an international exam, and the examiners and candidates come from different backgrounds.

A basis for reading is the standard text book(s) of anaesthesia favoured in the candidate’s country. Familiarity with current topics from international and national journals is also required. We would recommend reading all of the information on the ESAIC website as they regularly update a recommended reading list.

Where can I get training for the exam?

Although there are at present no official specific courses for the EDAIC exam, other courses of preparation for basic science and clinical exams, which are based on vivas will be appropriate. After all, the content of the EDAIC is based upon basic science and clinical practice applied to anaesthesia and intensive care, which does not vary greatly between different countries in Europe.

Comprehensive practical experience of anaesthesia supported by wide background reading is the best preparation for the exam. More specifically, practice the presentation and discussion of cases and viva questions with your tutors, colleagues and mentors.


If you are an international Doctor with EDAIC, who would like to relocate to the UK , email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your relocation journey to the UK.

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