Fellowship exams candidate handbook


RACGP Fellowship exams

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) Fellowship exams consist of three exam segments:

  • Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) – multiple choice format, computer-based test
  • Key Feature Problems (KFP) exam – combination multiple choice and short answer format, computer-based test
  • Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) – a series of 14 clinical cases conducted with examiners and role players.

The RACGP Fellowship (FRACGP) exams assess a candidate’s competency for unsupervised general practice anywhere in Australia. Each exam segment has a unique and targeted approach to assessing a candidate’s knowledge and ability.

The FRACGP exams are held twice per year.

For further information on each exam, including format, preparation, development, standard setting and results, refer to the RACGP Examinations Guide.

Enrolling in the exams

The RACGP’s Fellowship pathways include a range of policies that relate to eligibility for, enrolment in and completion of the exams. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they understand the requirements of their pathway or program by reading all relevant policies, available on the RACGP website.

Enrolment for the FRACGP exams can be completed at RACGP website.

Details of exam dates, enrolment dates, venues and fees are available at the same location.

Exam enrolment fees are payable by credit card, and payment is processed immediately at the time of enrolment. Upon successful completion of enrolment, the candidate will receive a confirmation email with detailed information about that enrolment.

If a candidate’s credit card is not charged/debited, and the confirmation email is not received, candidates should not assume they are enrolled, and should contact the RACGP immediately to confirm the status of their enrolment. Only candidates with a valid enrolment will be permitted to sit any RACGP exams.

Financial hardship

Candidates are encouraged to enrol into an exam segment as early as possible and not wait until the end of the enrolment period. Any candidate experiencing financial hardship may make a request for an alternative payment arrangement by emailing pathways@racgp.org.au

Although the total fee payable does not change, candidates can secure their place in the exam with a $100 deposit. All unpaid balances must be finalised 20 business days before the scheduled exam date.

If full payment is not received by this date, the candidate will be withdrawn from the exam and refunded any payments made, minus a $100 administration fee per FRACGP exam segment.

Venue allocation

When candidates submit their enrolment, they are asked to select their preferred address. Candidates are allocated to the closest available established exam venue to this nominated address by priority of enrolment date. If the closest exam venue is oversubscribed, candidates will be allocated to the next closest centre, again by priority of enrolment date.

If a candidate’s address changes after enrolling, they must notify the RACGP as soon as possible.

Candidates are advised not to make any travel arrangements to an exam centre until their venue location has been confirmed. Any candidate who has been relocated to a venue other than their closest will be contacted via email by the Assessment Operations team. All candidates are notified of their confirmed venue location approximately four weeks prior to an exam.

  • For the KFP exam and AKT (both computer-based): candidates will receive confirmation of their specific venue location approximately four weeks prior to the date of the exam segment in which they are enrolled.
  • For the OSCE: candidates will receive confirmation of the city their exam will be held in approximately four weeks prior to the exam. Further information regarding the specific OSCE venue location will provided by the relevant state faculty approximately three weeks prior to the exam.

If a candidate is allocated an exam venue that is not their closest and is unable to accept the allocation, they have the option to withdraw from the exam. To do this, candidates must advise the RACGP in writing within five working days of receiving their venue confirmation. Candidates will be refunded the enrolment fee for that exam segment, minus an administration fee of $100.

All candidates are advised to carefully plan their travel to and from exam venues and consider the impact of fatigue and stress on safe travel. If appropriate to the situation, it is recommended that candidates consider overnight accommodation close to their allocated exam venue.

In circumstances where a candidate cannot attend their assigned exam venue for medical or other exceptional reasons, they may make a request to be assigned to a specific exam venue by emailing racgpeducation@racgp.org.au

Such requests must be received no later than the last day of the enrolment period for the relevant exam, and include appropriate supporting documentation. Due to capacity constraints, the RACGP cannot guarantee the approval of such requests.

Remote supervision for the AKT or KFP exam

Candidates may apply to sit the AKT or KFP exam remotely if their usual place of residence is 200 kilometres or two hours’ travel time from an established exam centre.

The request must be made at the time of enrolment, or earlier, by submitting an Application for special consideration. Upon receipt of an application, the RACGP will consider each application on a case-by-case basis and undertake the relevant due diligence with regard to:

  • distance and travel time using Google Maps
  • computer-based technical specification requirements
  • availability of appropriate and approved invigilator.

If the above requirements can be arranged within the available time frame, the candidate will be offered the opportunity to sit the AKT and/or KFP exam in a remote venue.

If the requirements cannot be arranged within the available time, the candidate will be offered the option to undertake the exam at the nearest available established exam centre, or be withdrawn from the exam with a refund of the exam fee, minus a $100 withdrawal fee.

Candidates who are approved to undertake the AKT and/or KFP exam under remote supervision arrangements will be required to pay fees, in addition to the standard exam enrolment fee, to cover any additional costs associated with delivering the exam in the customised conditions.

Note: Due to the resources, costs and logistics involved in conducting the OSCE, it is not possible to undertake the OSCE via remote supervision.

Sitting an exam on an alternative day

Candidates who cannot present for the AKT and/or KFP exam on the scheduled exam dates for religious reasons or for other exceptional reasons may submit an Application for special consideration to undertake the exam/s on an alternative previously scheduled exam day.

The application must be made at the time of enrolling, or earlier. Candidates who are unable to undertake the exam on a Saturday due to religious beliefs must provide a letter of support from the leader of their congregation, signed and dated on the letterhead of that organisation.

Candidates approved to undertake their exam/s on an alternative day are required to complete a Statutory Declaration stating they will “not divulge or discuss the content of the exam with any other party before all other candidates have completed the exam”.

This declaration must be signed and witnessed as per List of Authorised Witnesses advice from the Department of the Attorney-General. Any breach of this declaration will be dealt with under the Educational Misconduct policy.

Note: The OSCE cannot be held on alternative dates. The scheduling of the two OSCE dates alternates between Saturday and Sunday to accommodate candidates who may be unable to sit on either of those days.

Candidates approved to undertake their exam/s on an alternative day may be required to pay fees, in addition to the standard exam enrolment fee, to cover the costs associated with delivering the exam in the customised conditions.

Presumption of fitness to sit

Candidates must ensure that they are sufficiently fit and healthy when they present for an exam. Marks in the exams are based solely on the performance of the candidate in the assessment. Marks cannot be changed on the basis of personal circumstances (be they illness, or misadventure) surrounding the exam.

If any candidate is unwell, or faces any other special circumstances that prevent them from presenting to the exam/s, they must notify the RACGP as soon as possible to discuss late withdrawal options available to them.

Note: Presumption of fitness to sit applies to all candidates, regardless of any approved applications for special consideration arrangements within an exam sitting.

Personal information

The RACGP will collect and may distribute your personal information in accordance with the National Privacy Principles for the purposes of determining eligibility to enrol and assessing performance. Further information concerning the collection or distribution of personal information is available within the RACGP Privacy statement.

Special consideration

A Candidate may apply for special consideration when circumstances beyond their control may have an effect on their performance or attendance at an exam.

Commonly submitted special consideration requests:

  • bring medications and/or food into the exam
  • arrange special seating arrangements (computer-based exams only)
  • bring special seating and/or back support into the exam (computer-based exams; limited scope for OSCE)
  • complete exam on an alternative day (computer-based exams only)
  • seek extensions to exam completion time (computer-based exams only)
  • seek rest periods or stand and stretch during exam (computer-based exams only)
  • bring visual or hearing aids into exam
  • change an assigned exam venue
  • use a room or private area to express breast milk: all exam candidates that expect they will be breastfeeding an infant at the time of their exam are encouraged to submit an Application for special consideration.

Candidates should refer to the RACGP Examinations Special Consideration Policy and the Provisions and procedures for nursing breaks during RACGP exams information sheet for more information on applying for special consideration.

Withdrawing from an exam

The RACGP understands that candidates may need, or be required, to withdraw from an exam in which they are enrolled. This section provides details on the withdrawl process.

To withdraw from an exam candidates must email racgpeducation@racgp.org.au.

Withdrawl fees

Enrolment fees cannot be transferred to another exam cycle. Withdrawal fees apply to each individual exam segment in an exam cycle. Exam fees will be refunded according to the following schedule:

Date request for withdrawal is received

Fee refund

Up to and including 20 business days before the scheduled exam date

Exam fee, minus $100 withdrawal fee

19 business days or less before the scheduled exam date

No refund (but refer below to ‘Special consideration for late withdrawal’ for exceptions)


Special consideration for late withdrawal

If a candidate needs to withdraw 19 business days or less before the scheduled exam due to circumstances beyond their control, or cannot present to an exam due to illness or other exceptional circumstances, they may apply for special consideration for a late withdrawal.

All candidates scheduled to undertake an exam will be provided with exam-day contact details for the RACGP. Any unforeseen events that prevent a candidate from undertaking the exams should be advised to the RACGP as soon as possible to discuss withdrawal options.

Details on how to apply for a late withdrawal are provided in the RACGP Examinations Special Consideration Policy.

Candidates unsuccessful in the AKT and/or KFP exam and enrolled in the OSCE

Undertaking the OSCE requires that a candidate has a pass in both the AKT and KFP exam.

Candidates who enrol in the AKT and OSCE for the same cycle but fail the AKT will be withdrawn from the OSCE and refunded the full enrolment fee following the publication of the AKT results.

Candidates who enrol in the KFP exam and OSCE for the same cycle but fail the KFP exam will be withdrawn from the OSCE and refunded the full enrolment fee following the publication of the KFP exam results.

Sitting the Fellowship exams

Presenting for an exam

On the day of the exam, it is important that candidates adhere to the following rules to ensure that delivery of the exam runs smoothly, that no candidates are disadvantaged, and to protect the integrity of the exam environment. The information in this section provides guidance on arriving at the exam venue, items that are permitted in the exam room, and exam conduct. Carefully read the information and ensure you understand what is expected of you. If you require any clarification, please contact the RACGP.

  1. Candidates must be in the waiting area for each exam at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled exam commencement time.
  2. Candidates must present primary current proof of identity to the administrator/supervisor at the commencement of the exam. A primary proof of identity should be an original document and include a photograph.
    Accepted forms of proof of identity include:
    1. current Australian or foreign passport
    2. current Australian driver’s license (with photograph)
    3. proof of age or identity card issued by an Australian state or territory
    4. current Australian student identity card (with photograph)
    5. current Australian student identity card
    6. any other current Australian entitlement or identity card, issued by the Australian Government or a state or territory government, that includes a photograph of the candidate.
  3. Candidates must present all mobile phones at the point of registration, demonstrate to staff that the phone is completely turned off, and store it in a clear plastic bag provided by staff for the duration of the exam.
    Candidates will be asked to pat themselves down (eg along the arms, legs and waistline) to show that there is nothing hidden on their body. Candidates will also be asked to empty any clothing pockets for the purposes of allowing the staff to verify that nothing is in them.
    Mobile phones and all other personal belongings will be securely stored by RACGP staff until the exam concludes and candidates are released from the exam and-or any designated quarantine areas.

Items permitted in the exam

AKT and KFP exam (computer-based):

  • a clear, colourless plastic water bottle. Water is provided at all venues.
  • Earplugs; however, candidates must ensure they can hear announcements made by the invigilator or supervisor. Earplugs are provided at all venues.

OSCE:

All equipment required will be provided by the RACGP; however, candidates are permitted to bring in their own stethoscope if they so choose. Electronic stethoscopes are also permitted with an approved Application for special arrangement.

Items not permitted in the exam

Candidates must not bring the following items into the exam room:

  • Pens (provided by the RACGP in all examinations)
  • Watches of any type or description
  • Writing paper, notes, books, computers, calculators or any recording or electronic devices
  • Food or beverages (unless special consideration has been granted)
  • Any other personal belongings.

Note-taking during exams

AKT and KFP exam (computer-based):

  • Candidates will be provided with paper to take notes during the exam.
  • Candidates must leave all paper in the exam room after completing the exam.

OSCE:

  • Candidates will be provided with a clipboard, which contains paper for note-taking during the exam.
  • Candidates are not permitted to take any notes prior to the exam commencing (in the waiting area), or during rest stations. Candidates are only permitted to take notes once the exam has commenced, during the allocated reading time prior to each case.

At the conclusion of each case, all notes must be submitted to the examiners and cannot be removed from the exam room.

Failure to comply with this rule will be handled as per the Educational Misconduct Policy.

Exam conduct

Candidates must obey all instructions on exam materials or given by an exam supervisor.

During an exam, candidates must not:

  • smoke in any exam venue
  • disturb any other candidate (e.g. mumbling, talking)
  • communicate with or provide assistance to any other candidate
  • accept assistance from any other candidate
  • look at another candidate’s computer screen for any purpose (during the computer-based exams)
  • permit any other candidate to read or copy from their computer screen (during the computer-based exams)
  • disturb the exam proceedings in any other way.

Leaving the exam room

If a candidate needs to leave the room during an exam, they must be escorted by an invigilator/supervisor or examiner. Candidates will not be re-admitted into the exam room, unless an invigilator supervises the candidates during the period of absence from the exam room.

During the computer-based exams, candidates must not leave the exam room during the first 30 minutes or the last 15 minutes of the exam.

During the OSCE, once a candidate has completed a case and they have left the exam room, they may not re-enter the exam room.

Incident reports

If a candidate has encountered an incident during the exam that they believe has had a significant effect upon their exam performance, they can complete an incident report at the exam venue.

The exam supervisor or clinical lead rotation supervisor in charge of each exam venue may assist candidates in determining if an incident report is warranted.

Alternatively, candidates can download the incident report form and email the completed form to examinations@racgp.org.au within two business days of the exam. Only incident reports received within this timeframe will be considered. 

Incident reports must be completed in full and with all relevant details included.

All candidates who submit an incident report will receive an email acknowledging receipt of the report.

All incident reports are investigated and the impact on a candidate’s performance is considered by the Council of Censors (or delegate) prior to the release of results. If it is determined that an incident occurred due to an error in exam procedures the candidate may be compensated.

Compensation – Computer-based exams (AKT and KFP exam)

If compensation is deemed appropriate, this will administered be in the form of a reduced enrolment fee in a subsequent attempt in the same exam segment (if applicable). Compensation cannot extend to the re-marking of an exam or an adjustment to an exam result.

Compensation – OSCE

Any adjustments will be applied prior to the release of exam results.

While every effort is made to ensure all exams run smoothly and without incident, circumstances beyond the control of the RACGP may occasionally arise.

Issues that are not considered incidents

Candidates may encounter events during the conduct of an OSCE that are not considered incidents, and will not be compensated. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Role-player coughed
  • Examiner/role-player accent
  • Hospital announcements (MET calls etc) overheard
  • Staff member knocked or entered the room during the case
  • Known disturbance that caused pause in exam
  • Recognising an examiner who is known to the candidate
    Some examiners may be known/familiar to candidates. Examiners declare conflicts of interest with any candidates they consider themselves to have a conflict of interest with; however, not all levels of conflict warrant a replacement examiner. Candidates should proceed with the case focusing on the specifics of that case and the simulated patient in front of them and not dwell on the examiner in the room. Candidates may raise any individual circumstances with the Assessment Operations team by emailing examinations@racgp.org.au in the first instance.
  • Not reading case instructions/details properly and missing vital information
    Candidates have access to the case instructions inside the room as well as outside; these should be referenced as needed.
  • Names of the simulated patients on the case instructions
    You should apply the case instructions as relevant to the gender of the simulated patient in the case. If you are in doubt, you may ask the patient or examiner inside the room. The gender of the simulated patient is not specifically stated in the candidate instructions.
  • Debriefing with other candidates after the exam and questioning why a particular answer/result was not also provided to them by an examiner
    Each case has specific information that the examiner/role-player will divulge to the candidate progressively throughout a case. If the candidate does not ask the right question or is not appropriately empathic, they will not be provided with the information.

Post-exam

Reconsideration and appeal

Candidates who believe that an incorrect decision may have been made in relation to their exam may apply for reconsideration or appeal of that decision. For more information on reconsideration and appeal, refer to the Fellowship Pathways Appeals Policy.

Candidates should note that reconsiderations or appeals related to a result in an exam may extend to an investigation to ensure all steps in the exam marking quality assurance process were executed correctly, but will not extend to the remarking of an exam paper.

Surveys

From time to time, the RACGP will issue an online survey to all candidates who have completed a Fellowship exam segment. The purpose of the survey is to inform and guide the continued improvement of future RACGP exam candidate experiences.

The post-exam survey contains statements for rating (the extent to which the candidate agrees or disagrees with the statement), satisfaction rankings, and/or areas that may require brief written responses.

The survey is not the forum to report an exam-day incident. If an exam incident has occurred, please report this immediately on exam day or within two business days following the conclusion of an exam. Refer to the ‘Incident reports’ section of this handbook for details.


Download the handbook

Fellowship exams candidate handbook (PDF 1.9 MB)