A guide to showing just cause


1.0 Introduction

This guidance document explains how candidates who have failed an examination segment three times can show just cause to enrol for a subsequent examination attempt. It has been developed in support to the ‘Fellowship Exams Candidate Handbook’.

2.0 Definitions

AKT Applied Knowledge Test

Candidate A medical practitioner who is enrolled in an RACGP Fellowship Pathway

GP General Practitioner

Just cause The provision of sufficient evidence that appropriate educational and learning activities have been or will be undertaken to justify a Candidate’s readiness to undertake an examination

KFP Key Feature Problems

OSCE Objective Structured Clinical Exam

RACGP Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

3.0 Guidance 

3.1 Purpose

The purpose of the just cause process is to help candidates identify and resolve areas of weakness with the aim of improving their current knowledge and skills. By completing the just cause process, including completing the self-reflective activities and the learning plan, candidates will possess an individualised plan specific to improving their performance in any future examination attempt.

3.2 Notification

Candidates who must show just cause are notified of this requirement in their exam results email. Candidates who believe they may be required to show just cause and have not been contacted may contact the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) via phone or email.

3.3 Fees

Candidates who wish to show just cause are subject to a $150 fee. Candidates are required to pay the fee before completing their submission.

3.4 Acceptance of submissions

Just cause submissions are only accepted via the RACGP website. Candidates will be given the link to complete the submissions after paying the just cause fee. No submissions will be accepted by post or email.

3.5 Showing just cause

Candidates required to show just cause must provide the RACGP with a submission that meets the criteria below.

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Criteria

Evidence to be included in the submission

1

Attendance at the RACGP feedback session.

Evidence that the Candidate attended or scheduled at least one feedback session with the state Censor or delegate for the specific exam segment after their most recent attempt.

  • Applied Knowledge Test (AKT): group feedback session
  • Key Feature Problems (KFP): one on one feedback session
  • Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE): one on one feedback session.

2

Displays insight into and reflection on the reasons they have previously been unsuccessful in the exam.

A written reflection covering previous preparation activities undertaken and analysis of the outcome of such preparation.

A practice profile and learning needs selfassessment.

3

Identifies changes they will make in order to prepare for their next exam attempt.

Evidence the Candidate has sought educational support and supervision for their exam preparation.

Evidence the Candidate is actively changing their approach to rectify past deficiencies in exam preparation. 

4

Provides a high quality learning plan to direct study toward the next exam attempt.

A written learning plan with examples of the types of preparation activities that will be undertaken such as attendance at the RACGP educational activities. 

Activities may include:

  • completion of the practice exam
  • exam preparation workshops
  • exam preparation webinars
  • study groups with peers
  • practice sessions with a supervisor
  • other educational activities

For further information see ‘A Guide to Developing a Learning Plan’.

All submissions will be assessed by the RACGP for conformance with the above requirements. Acceptance of a just cause application carries no warranties or guarantees, implied or otherwise, that the steps outlined will ensure a candidate’s success in a subsequent exam attempt.

3.6 Assessment of just cause

The various parts of the just cause submission will be cross referenced during the assessment. The above criteria must all be met, and must be met in a consistent manner.

Candidates must be able to identify some areas requiring revision. All General Practitioners (GPs) should continue learning for the duration of their careers; this is particularly true for those who may be having trouble with assessments. Candidates who are unable to identify any areas requiring minor or major revision do not display insight into or reflection on the reasons they have previously been unsuccessful. It is essential that the candidate’s learning plan is related to the weaknesses identified in the learning needs assessment, and uses the template provided. Accordingly, the weaknesses identified in the learning needs assessment and the topics covered in the learning plan must be largely the same, and the candidate should not propose to study topics they have identified as strengths.

Candidates must propose changes to the study strategies they used for previous attempts. As candidates showing just cause have had multiple unsuccessful attempts at the exams, simply resolving to work harder, do more of the same or re-read the same textbooks again is not sufficient. Learning modes should be diverse and study methods the candidate has previously stated do not work should not be relied upon.

The learning plan must be high quality. It should include detailed information about which resources will be used, and not include statements like “read appropriate websites” or “use appropriate resources”. It is expected that the candidate should identify specific resources related to the area they intend to learn. Similarly, the timing must be specific. It is not sufficient to say “All study completed by exam date”. The candidate must explain which topics will be studied, when, and in what order. High quality learning plans detail which topics will be studied each week.

Just cause submissions which do not conform to the above requirements, or which, in the opinion of the RACGP, are not likely to help the candidate to be successful in any future exam attempt, may be deemed inadequate. If a just cause submission is deemed inadequate then just cause will not be granted, candidates will not be eligible to sit the exam, and they will be invited to submit another just cause submission after the following exam cycle.

3.7 Further exam attempts

A successful just cause submission is valid for three further attempts at the exam segment. After six unsuccessful attempts at the same exam segment, candidates cannot enrol in that segment for one year and must participate in a remediation program prior to re-enrolment.

3.8 Key dates

3.8.1 2018.2 AKT

Just cause submissions for candidates wishing to sit the 2018.2 AKT will open on Thursday 15 March 2018 and close at 8PM AEDT Thursday 29 March 2018. 

Assessments will be made after the closing date. Candidates will be notified of the outcome of just cause assessments by Friday 4 May 2018.

Candidates who fail to submit by the closing date or who do not successfully show just cause in their application may submit a new just cause application in the subsequent exam cycle. Candidates will not be permitted to enrol in the AKT until they successfully show just cause. 

3.8.2 2018.2 KFP

Just cause submissions for candidates wishing to sit the 2018.2 KFP will open on Tuesday 27 March 2018 and close at 8PM AEST Friday 13 April 2018. 

Assessments will be made after the closing date. Candidates will be notified of the outcome of just cause assessments by Friday 11 May 2018.

Candidates who fail to submit by the closing date or who do not successfully show just cause in their application may submit a new just cause application in the subsequent exam cycle. Candidates will not be permitted to enrol in the KFP until they successfully show just cause. 

3.8.3 2018.2 OSCE

Just cause submissions for candidates wishing to sit the 2018.2 OSCE will open on Thursday 5 July 2018 and close at 8PM AEST Thursday 19 July 2018.

Assessments will be made after the closing date. Candidates will be notified of the outcome of just cause assessments by Friday 17 August 2018.

Candidates who fail to submit by the closing date or who do not successfully show just cause in their application may submit a new just cause application in the subsequent exam cycle. Candidates will not be permitted to enrol in the OSCE until they successfully show just cause.

3.9 Reconsideration

Candidates may request for their just cause outcome to be reconsidered in some circumstances. For further details see the ‘Fellowship Pathways Appeals Policy’.

4.0 References

A Guide to Developing a Learning Plan

Fellowship Exams Candidate Handbook

Fellowship Pathways Appeals Policy


Enquiries

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 racgpeducation@racgp.org.au