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Information for candidates - Level 1 MEBCTS


The primary aim of The European Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EBCTS) is to encourage common high standards and qualifications in cardiothoracic surgery in all European countries and beyond.  This should potentially allow for the mutual recognition of these qualifications between European countries and elsewhere.

The standards are set to award certificates of the Board to surgeons who have attained levels of knowledge and proficiency that can be recognised as appropriate for early and established independent specialist practice in the generality of Cardiothoracic Surgery and sub-specialist areas.  From 2020 the MEBCTS examination will be divided into 2 specialties: Adult Cardiac/Congenital or Thoracic. You may apply for one or both examinations in the same year.

Question writing panel

The Board has an experienced Question Writing Panel for the Level One MCQ examination

The Candidates

Candidates applications will be reviewed to ensure that they are eligible to take the examination. Candidates should read the Regulations of the European Board carefully before applying to ensure that they are eligible to take the examination.

Application for examination

The Board intend to set up examinations at least once a year. All applications and required documents will have to be submitted online before 31 May of the year of the examination. 

The documents required are:

  • A completed EBCTS online application form

  • A recent photograph

  • A copy of national medical diploma.

  • A copy of licence to practice medicine

  • A copy of ‘national specialist diploma’ or CCST (Completion of Specialist Training) and/or official Specialty recognition registration number issued by the appropriate official body of that Country.

  • Two completed Structured Reference Form’s (one must be from the Head of Department or Head of Training) (template provided during application)

  • A detailed logbook of procedures performed and assisted (template provided during application)

Note: all documents which are not in English must be accompanied by an official signed and stamped translation.


Examination Fee

  • The fee for the Level one examinations will be €750 for the first speciality and €1,200 for both specialities (Adult Cardiac/Congenital AND Thoracic) of which €300 is for assessment of the file.

  • The file will not be processed until payment is received in full.

  • If the candidate is found not to meet the eligibility criteria, €450 will be refunded (€900 if applied for both specialities).

  • Should a candidate be unable to sit the examination on the appointed date, he will be offered one alternative date and the fee will be held.

  • If the candidate does not take the examination and does not inform the EBCTS Secretariat one month in advance, no fee will be refunded.

  • The candidate who attends the examination and is not successful will be offered a further five opportunities to re-take the examination (6 attempts maximum). A fee of €450 will apply to each speciality re-sit.

The MEBCTS Examination - What to expect

The Level One examination is a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) examination consisting of a 4 hour, 180 question paper.  This examination will be quality assured using standard set questions and passmark.

The Level One examination will be held at Test Centres and will comprise separate papers in Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery which can be taken individually or together.

This method of professional delivery of high stakes examinations is established and secure.


The examination paper will be marked and results issued within 1 month of the examination date.


Confirmation of the examination results will come by e-mail from the EBCTS office.  A copy of your diploma will be sent by email.  A hard-copy by post on request.


Certificates will be awarded by the European Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery with recognition by the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Union of European Medical Specialties (UEMS)


Previous variants of the European Board exam are the equivalent to the current Level 2 (FEBCTS) examination.

1986-2012 – European Board of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgeons – FEBTCS
2013-2016 – European Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery – FEBCTS

EBCTS is not a regulatory or standards setting body and EBCTS certification is only a confirmation that a surgeon has passed a particular exam or reached a certain standard. EBCTS certification does not supersede the responsibilities of local, national, or wider formal professional assessment of 'fit for practice' accreditation

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