Hands and feet

September 2009

Professional

Lessons from the past

Historical trends in the RACGP examination

Volume 38, No.9, September 2009 Pages 708-710

Russell Jones

Morton Rawlin

Kaye Atkinson

Jan Radford

Leon Au

Dene Egglestone

Assessment within any medical specialty college is often an area that elicits deep feelings within the medical community. The speciality of general practice is no exception, and there are a number of deeply held and widespread beliefs about The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Fellowship examination. This article seeks to publish historical data from past RACGP Fellowship examinations. It is anticipated that readers with an interest in past, present and future trends will find this information useful, and it is intended that the information contained in the article will be used to inform the many debates which focus on the RACGP Fellowship examination.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) examination has been the major route to Fellowship of the RACGP for 50 years. Over that time the examination has changed in detail, but not in the delivery of, best assessment practice.1 Assessment within any medical specialty college is often an area that elicits deep feelings within the medical community. The speciality of general practice is no exception, and there are a number of deeply held and widespread beliefs about the RACGP Fellowship examination. Such beliefs are often contradictory yet held with equal passion by their proponents. They include, for example, that the Fellowship examination:

  • is too easy, or too difficult
  • becoming easier over time, or becoming more difficult over time
  • has a pass mark determined by a hypothetical pass rate, or has a pass rate determined by a pass mark.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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