Practice Experience Program Specialist – Fellowship Exams Policy


1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the requirements for Partially Comparable Participants of the Practice Experience Program Specialist (PEP SP) to sit the Fellowship Exams.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to:

    1. Partially Comparable PEP SP Participants enrolling in or attempting Fellowship Exams (Candidates), and

    2. RACGP staff.

2.2 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the PEP SP Requirements for Fellowship Policy, and the PEP SP Participant Handbook - Partially Comparable Stream.

2.3 This policy will come into effect as of 01 July 2024.

3. General principles

3.1 The Fellowship Exams assess the Candidate’s competency for unsupervised Comprehensive Australian General Practice.

3.2 The RACGP believes participation in an education or training program with appropriate supervision is the most suitable way to prepare for the Fellowship Exams.

3.3 The RACGP limits the number of Fellowship Exam attempts that the Candidate can sit in a determined period. This ensures the Candidate progresses towards admission to Fellowship in an appropriate timeframe and maintains the knowledge and skills developed during their RACGP-Approved Program.

3.4 The Participant will have access to RACGP exam support resources.

4. Eligibility requirements

4.1 Prior to the Participant enrolling in Fellowship Exams, the RACGP must determine the Participant has or will satisfactorily complete the following by the time of the Fellowship Exam:

    1. The Training Program has been completed as per the PEP SP Participant Handbook - Partially Comparable Stream, and

    2. Supervisor reports have been submitted to the RACGP within six months of commencing work, as required by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA).

4.2 To be eligible to enrol in exams, the Participant must hold current Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Medical Registration at all times while on the PEP SP.

    1. The Participant must promptly disclose to the RACGP all details of any:

      1. Addenda on the Participant’s medical registration, whether in Australia or overseas, and/or

      2. regulatory authority activity, whether in Australia or overseas, that:

        1. has led or may lead to a change in registration status, or

        2. has led to an adverse finding for the Participant or forms part of an ongoing investigation; and/or

      3. other Notifiable Conduct.

    2. Participants with AHPRA Medical Registration Addenda or any other regulatory activity may not be eligible for Fellowship Exams.

    3. The RACGP will manage a failure to disclose the information listed in 4.2.i.a-b as per the Academic Misconduct Policy. To remain enrolled in the Fellowship Exams, the Participant must maintain AHPRA Medical Registration at all times.

4.3 Participants must be Financial Members of the RACGP from the Date of Entry until they have either been admitted to Fellowship, exhausted their Fellowship Exam Candidacy, or withdrawn from the PEP SP.

4.4 Participants on an approved period of leave as per the PEP SP Leave Policy are not eligible to sit the Fellowship Exams.

    1. Participants wanting to sit the Fellowship Exams while on a period of leave may seek an exemption from clause 4.4 from the RACGP.

4.5 If at any time the Candidate becomes ineligible for a Fellowship Exam after enrolment in that exam, they must inform the RACGP and withdraw from the exam. Failure to do so will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.

5. Exam candidacy

5.1 Each Candidate has one Candidacy to sit the Fellowship Exams.

5.2 Candidates may enrol in Fellowship Exams in a maximum of six Exam Semesters.

    1. Exam Semesters relate to the Candidate’s Candidacy, not individual exam attempts.

    2. The Maximum Timeframe determines the number of Fellowship Exam attempts available to Participants. Where a Participant reaches the Maximum Timeframe prior to completing the assessment requirements of the PEP SP Requirements for Fellowship Policy, remaining Candidacy can only be used if the Candidate commences another RACGP-Approved Program.

5.3 Candidacy commences when the Candidate enrols and sits their first exam and will continue independent of any transfers to other RACGP-Approved Programs or withdrawals, unless otherwise advised by the RACGP.

    1. If the Candidate enrols but then fails to sit the exam due to an Unsanctioned Withdrawal, the exam will still be deemed to be the beginning of their Candidacy.

    2. Any Fellowship Exam passed during the Candidacy remains valid for the duration of the Candidate’s Candidacy.

    3. The RACGP will Suspend the Candidacy if the Candidate commences another RACGP-Approved Program.

5.4 If the Candidate does not pass all three Fellowship Exams by the end of their Candidacy, they will be ineligible for Fellowship.

5.5 The RACGP records the start and end dates of each Candidate’s Candidacy and will make these dates available to the Candidate.

5.6 Suspension of Candidacy

    1. Candidates may apply to the RACGP for a standard Suspension of Candidacy for one semester. This suspension may be undertaken at any time during the Candidate’s Candidacy.

      1. A standard Suspension of Candidacy will not extend the Maximum Timeframe.

    2. Candidates may request a Suspension at any time during their Candidacy until they have sat an exam in their final Exam Semester.

    3. The RACGP may permit non-standard Suspension periods in Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances. Approval of any additional Suspension period is at the RACGP’s discretion.

    4. Candidates may not sit exams while their Candidacy is suspended.

6. Amendment of this policy

The Censor-in-Chief (CiC) may, without the consent of the RACGP Board, make Minor, Moderate and Consequential Amendments to this policy at any time.

If the CiC makes amendments, they must advise the RACGP Board of those amendments as soon as practicable.

The RACGP Board may make amendments to this policy at any time.

7. Responsibilities

7.1 Censor-in-Chief

  1. Approving Minor Amendments

  2. Approving Moderate Amendments

  3. Approving Consequential Amendments

  4. Approving suspensions of Candidacy beyond 26 calendar weeks

7.2 Participant

  1. Providing all relevant documentation and supporting evidence regarding their eligibility for Fellowship Exams

  2. Notifying the RACGP of any changes to their eligibility status


  1. Determining the Participant’s exam eligibility status

  2. Assessing the exam eligibility status of Candidates

  3. Recording the start and end date of the Candidate's Candidacy and making this available to the Candidate

7.4 RACGP Board

  1. Approving Major Amendments

8. Glossary

8.1 Addenda

Includes, but is not limited to, restrictions, conditions, limitations, reprimands, supervision requirements, tribunal outcomes, suspensions, undertakings and/or any other remarks or changes on a Participant’s medical registration.

Refer to AHPRA’s website for more information.

8.2 AHPRA Medical Registration

Registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which allows the registrant to practise medicine.

Refer to AHPRA’s website for more information.

8.3 Candidacy

The three-year period, separate to training program time, during which a Participant can attempt Fellowship exams.

For the PEP SP, Candidacy is additionally bound by the Maximum Program time

8.4 Candidate

The medical practitioner eligible to sit RACGP Fellowship Exams.

8.5 Comprehensive Australian General Practice

As defined in the Comprehensive Australian general practice guide.

8. 6 Consequential amendment

An amendment that requires urgent implementation as a necessary result of an amendment to another policy or process.

8.7 Date of Entry

Date the Participant signs the program agreement
8.8 Exam Semester A period during which all three Fellowship Exams are delivered.
8.9 Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances Circumstances which are outside the Candidates control and can reasonably be considered to have been unforeseen, and can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on the Participant. The RACGP considers Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

8.10 Fellowship

Admittance to either:

  1. Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP), or

  2. FRACGP and Rural Generalist Fellowship (FRACGP-RG).

8.11 Fellowship Exams

The exams run by the RACGP to assess the Candidate’s competency for unsupervised general practice anywhere in Australia, including:

  1. Applied Knowledge Test (AKT),

  2. Key Feature Problem (KFP), and

  3. Clinical Competency Exam (CCE).

8.12 Financial Member

An RACGP Member who has:

  1. met the membership category requirements,

  2. had their complete membership application form accepted, and

  3. paid their current membership fee in full.

8.13 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) A 38-hour working week, over a minimum of four days per week. A minimum of 27 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or less than 4 calendar weeks in any one practice, will not be considered. Hours worked beyond this definition of full time will not be considered.

8.14 Major Amendment

An amendment that materially changes the operation of the policy but is not otherwise a Minor or Moderate Amendment (ie a change to one major clause or policy review).

8.15 Maximum Timeframe

The maximum amount of time a Participant can remain on the PEP SP from the day they start their Training Program to the day they are admitted to Fellowship of the RACGP.

  1. Substantially Comparable stream:
    1. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a full-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 12 calendar months of starting their training program.
    2. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a part-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 24 calendar months of starting their training program. Their maximum timeframe will be calculated proportionally to their part-time status.
  2. Partially Comparable stream:
    1. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved Practice on a full-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 24 calendar months of starting their training program.
    2. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a part-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 48 calendar months of starting their training program. The maximum timeframe will be calculated proportionally to their part-time status.

8.16 Minor Amendment  

An amendment to style, to correct grammatical mistakes, change overall formatting, make updates that do not materially change meaning, or any other amendment, which in the opinion of the Censor-in-Chief, does not materially alter the operation of the policy. 

8.17 Moderate Amendment

An amendment that materially changes the operation of a policy by a limited amount (ie a change to one minor clause, or changes that have a limited impact on the outcome of the policy).
8.18 Notifiable Conduct Notifiable conduct holds the same definition as the MBA’s Guidelines for mandatory notifications about registered health practitioners
8.19 Partially Comparable Participant A Specialist International Medical Graduate who has been assessed as Partially Comparable to an Australian trained specialist general practitioner at the point of Fellowship, as per the PEP SP Comparability Assessment Guide.

8.20 Participant

A Specialist International Medical Graduate who has been accepted into the PEP SP.

8.21 Practice Experience Program Specialist (PEP SP)

The route to Fellowship available to Specialist International Medical Graduates who have been assessed as Substantially Comparable or Partially Comparable to an Australian-trained specialist general practitioner at the point of admission to Fellowship.

8.22 RACGP-Approved Practice

A practice approved by the RACGP for the placement of PEP SP Participants. The practice must:

  1. be accredited against the RACGP Standards for general practices,

  2. meet the requirements of Comprehensive Australian general practice, and

  3. meet the location requirements as per the Department of Health and Aged Care's General Practice Fellowship Program Placement Guidelines.

8.23 RACGP-Approved Program

An education or Training Program approved by the RACGP as a suitable pathway to Fellowship, including:

  1. Australian General Practice Training Program,

  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme, 

  3. Fellowship Support Program,

  4. Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream

  5. Practice Experience Program Specialist - Partially Comparable Stream, and

  6. Practice Experience Program Specialist - Substantially Comparable Stream.

These Training Programs are approved specified programs listed in Division 6 of the Health Insurance Regulations 2018 (Cwlth).

8.24 RACGP Staff

Anyone who is an employee or contractor of the RACGP.

8.25 Supervision/Supervised Practice

Supervision by a general practitioner who is both a clinician and a role model, and who takes responsibility for the educational and training needs of the PEP SP Participant while in the practice, in adherence with MBA's guidelines: Supervised practice for international medical graduates.

8.26 Suspension of Candidacy

An Exam Semester during the Candidacy in which the Candidate is not required or permitted to attempt Fellowship Exams. The two types are:
  1. Standard suspension: A single suspension of an Exam Semester available to any Candidate, for any reason, once during their Candidacy.

  2. Non-standard suspension: A suspension of an Exam Semester granted by the RACGP to the Candidate on the provision of evidence of Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances.

8.27 Training Program

The six-calendar-month period that starts from the day the Participant commences work in Australia in an RACGP-approved Practice. Participants must complete the program’s mandated educational activities and workplace-based assessments within this six-calendar-month timeframe.

9. Related Documents, Legislation and Policies

10. Policy Review and Currency

This policy will be reviewed every three calendar years from the last approval date, or when there is a significant change in the intent of the policy. This policy remains valid and applicable notwithstanding if it is overdue for review.



Date of effect

Amended by



Education Policy and Guidance Lead

Amendment details

  • Development of policy based on previous Practice Experience Program Specialist Stream Policies.


Policy owner:


Approved by:


Approved on:


Next Review Due:




 1800 626 901