Quate Exam

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QUATE Aptitude Test
Information to candidates

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QUATE Cervical cytology examination – 12th EFCS Tutorial Friday June 12th 2020.

A QUATE examination will be held during the 12th EFCS Cytology Tutorial in Trieste. The examination will be held on Friday 12th June 2020 starting at 13.30 hours. The QUATE exam will not finish until after 19.00 so results will be sent to candidates once marked.
Candidates who wish to sit the exam MUST register using the QUATE application form ( https://www.efcs.eu/quate-introduction/). The application form MUST be sent to Dr Paul Cross (paul.cross1@nhs.net) and Mr Allan Wilson (Allan.wilson@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk).
The fee for the QUATE examination is separate to that of the Tutorial and MUST be paid before the exam. Details are given on the QUATE application form.
The fee for the Cytology Tutorial does NOT include the fee for the QUATE examination.
More general information on the exam can be found on the EFCS website (https://www.efcs.eu/quate-introduction/).
An outline of the actual examination and some recommended educational material can be found at (https://www.efcs.eu/quate-exam/).

NO registration or payment can be taken on the day of the exam.
All candidates MUST register for the exam before the deadline of Friday 23rd May 2020.
All candidates MUST complete and send the QUATE examination form as requested.

Proof of payment and photo identification will be required on the day of the examination.
Proof of registration for the Tutorial will also be required for those who are paying at the lower QUATE examination rate.

National societies are encouraged to support QUATE examinations and if you have any questions about the exam please contact either the QUATE examiners Mr Allan Wilson (Allan.wilson@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk) or Dr Paul Cross (paul.cross1@nhs.net).

General information

The Exam comprises two components; written and practical

The pass mark for each section of the exam is as follows:

  • Written 50%
  • Screening test 75%

Candidates must pass both sections in order to be awarded an overall pass.

The examination papers will be marked on the day of the exam.
Successful candidates will receive their certificate on the day.  Those that fail will receive feedback on where they failed.

Written Paper

Comprises Multiple Choice Questions only.        

  • 50 questions in one hour
  • Choose the bestanswer from the five listed
  • It is in your best interest to attempt ALL the questions.
  • Marking
    • one mark for each correct answer
    • zero for missing or incorrect answers.

The written paper is usually available in both English and the language of the host country.

There is a useful mock examination that sits on the Eurocytology website.  Candidates can assess their competence using this.  The link is: http://www.eurocytology.eu/en/quate
Please note the pass mark on the Eurocytology website is set at 80%.  In the real exam it is 50%


    • 16 slides to screen.
    • Slides are rotated every 8 minutes for both conventional smears and LBC slides.
    • The slides will be screened in two batches of eight slides.

    A refreshment break will be provided between the two screening sessions.

    • You will not see the slide again once you have passed it on. Do not mark the slide in any way.
    • You MUST choose ONE answer ONLY in the diagnostic category and mark this on the answer sheet.
    • All slides are considered satisfactory for reporting.
    • If HPV changes (koilocytosis) are present the slide must be called abnormal and graded accordingly.
    • Marking
      • two marks for a correct answer
      • zero for a missing answer, overcalling a negative slide or a major discrepancy in the grading of an abnormality (for instance LSIL called cancer)
      • Some slides carry one mark for an almost correct grading such severe dyskaryosis  calledLSIL or a glandular lesion called as squamous.
      • Calling an abnormal slide normal (negative) will result in a minus score which means you will fail the exam.
      • An overcall of a negative smear as abnormal in the screening test scores zero.

    Repeated overcalling of negative slides is the most common reason for failing the screening test.

    There is no exact syllabus  for the QUATE examination, but candidates are expected to have a good understanding of the general principles and cytological findings found in the operation of a cervical cancer screening programme. This would include a knowledge and understanding of :

    • the causesof cervical cancer
    • principles of screening programmes with an emphasis on cervical screening programmes
    • laboratory processing and handling of cervical cytology samples
    • cytological reporting of cervical screening samples
    • common infections and incidental findings identified in cervical screening samples
    • the common histology and types of cervical cancer
    • common treatment options for cervical cancer and FIGO staging
    • relevant European guidance relating to cervical screening programmes

    The above list is not exhaustive, but indicates the wide range of knowledge required for candidates for this examination.  Standard text books will cover much of this, but web based resources such as :

    EFCS : http://www.efcs.eu/

    Eurocytology :http://www.eurocytology.eu

    IARC :https://www.iarc.fr/

    Cy-Test :https://cytest.crs4.it/moodle/

    EFC :http://efcolposcopy.eu/recommendationsguidelines/

    Reading of cytology journals, such as Cytopathology, can also help. See :http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2303