FAQs - Standard Pathway

FAQs - Standard Pathway

Last updated 22 March 2023

To continue your medical career in Australia, you would need to obtain an employment offer and limited or provisional medical registration from AHPRA. 

If the Standard pathway is for you, you can start applying for jobs after you have passed your AMC MCQ exam, and a valid English language test if required.

Many applicants find it easier initially to undertake a hospital-based job rather than a job in general practice to help with orientation to the Australian healthcare setting and to receive an income while preparing for a Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview (PESCI). You will, however, require medical registration to work.

Applicants often look for non-clinical (for example, non-medical) roles while preparing for and undertaking the MCQ and PESCI, while others do observerships in general practice or hospital roles for orientation to the Australian setting.

You can then seek employment in general practice and commence general practice training and work towards Fellowship and specialist registration.

By working as an IMG in Australia, you may become eligible to apply for permanent residency after the qualifying period.

Most IMGs will not be able to find an internship position in Australia. Internship in Australia is a year of provisional registration, supervision and training that only applies to medical graduates from medical schools in Australia and New Zealand.Doctors who have not been able to complete an internship or equivalent in their own country may be eligible to apply for an Australian internship. The MBA/AHPRA warns that this is only granted in limited cases. We would strongly recommend that you complete the requirements for general registration in your country before moving to Australia.

If you are on the standard pathway, you will need to pass the AMC CAT MCQ exam followed by the AMC clinical exam.

The CAT MCQ is a computer-administered multi-choice question exam delivered in one sitting that lasts three-and-a-half hours.

Once you pass this, you are then eligible for the clinical exam or Workplace based assessment.

The AMC has several publications to assist candidates prepare for the MCQ exam.
You can purchase AMC textbooks from its online store and view other helpful publications in the suggested reading list.
As part of your preparation for the exam, you should:

As part of your preparation for the clinical exam, please refer to:

The AMC exams are compulsory for all IMGs coming through the Standard pathway.
If you are eligible for the Specialist or Competent Authority pathways, you may not be required to complete these exams.

The alternative to sitting the AMC clinical exam is to undertake a workplace-based assessment within the first 12 months of starting your employment while under limited registration. There are limited locations offering WBA as an alternative to the AMC clinical exam.

AHPRA requires IMGs applying for limited or provisional registration to undertake a PESCI.

The PESCI assesses whether you have the knowledge, skills and experience to practice safely and effectively in the particular general practice position you are applying for. You don’t need to take a PESCI if you are applying for hospital-based or other non-general practice positions.

If you’re applying for your first job in Australia, and it happens to be a general practice position, then you have three options for registration:

  • Limited Registration – Area of Need
  • Limited Registration – Post Graduate Training and Supervised Practice
  • Provisional Registration.

The type of registration you apply for may depend on whether you are on the competent authority or standard pathway.

Provisional AHPRA Registration does not require you to have general practice experience. However, please keep in mind that AHPRA will still consider your experience when they assess your application, and lack of experience in general practice may mean the application is refused.

Limited AHPRA Registration – Area of Need requires you to have three years of general practice experience. You can present evidence of the assessment undertaken by the RACGP. If you have not had an assessment by the RACGP, AHPRA will undertake an assessment.

Limited AHPRA Registration – Post Graduate Training and Supervised Practice does not require you to have three years of experience. However, please keep in mind that AHPRA will still consider your experience when they assess your application, and lack of experience in general practice may mean the application is refused.

We would recommend you apply for a General Practice Experience (GPE) assessment with the RACGP if you

  • are applying for limited AHPRA Registration – Area of Need and
  • need to demonstrate that you can meet the three-year general practice experience requirement.

If you are applying for limited registration to work in a position in general practice, you must demonstrate that you meet the requirements for this type of registration as defined in the MBA/AHPRA registration standard for limited registration for area of need. The requirements include:

  • evidence of eligibility for registration via the Specialist or Standard pathways
  • evidence of three years of full-time equivalent experience in general practice or primary care
  • successful completion of a PESCI.

Apart from meeting the MBA/AHPRA limited registration requirements, there are no specific additional skills or duties required for an Area of Need. The PESCI will assess whether you have the necessary skills, training and experience to work in the proposed practice safely.

All IMGs are required to demonstrate their English competency. This can be proven if English is your primary language, you completed your schooling from a recognised English-speaking country (UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa or USA) and your medical qualifications were completed in English. Without this, you will need to have successfully completed Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) or an AHPRA-approved English proficiency test such as Occupational English Test or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The Medical Board of Australia has more information here.

The Medical Board of Australia  accepts a number of tests, including IELTS, OET and PLAB. There is more information available here.

The only UK general practice qualification recognised by the RACGP is the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP). You must have completed all the training and assessment requirements for the MRCGP for it to be considered as a qualification within the Practice Experience Pathway (PEP) – Specialist Stream. It is advisable that you complete your general practice training in the UK and gain the MRCGP before applying for a job and registration in Australia. If you do not complete the training, this will impact upon your assessment.If you are not eligible for the specialist pathway, your international experience in general practice may contribute to the requirements for the Fellowship Support Program (FSP), but you would still be required to undergo training and assessment by exams.