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RACGP Examinations Special Consideration

1. RACGP Examinations Special Consideration Policy

1.1 Policy number: CO-E-002.0

1.2 Category: Education

1.3 Approval date: November 2018

1.4 Revision due date: November 2021

1.5 Unit responsible: Education Services

2. Policy declaration

This document outlines the application of special consideration in relation to RACGP Fellowship Examinations.

2.1 Exam candidates affected by circumstances beyond their control may apply for special consideration in an examination in which they are enrolled:

  1. to request that special arrangements be considered
  2. regarding their examination fee in the event of a late withdrawal from an exam
  3. regarding their examination fee in the event that they do not present for an exam due to unforeseen circumstances.

2.2 Candidates affected by circumstances beyond their control who choose to undertake an examination cannot apply for special consideration regarding their performance after an examination unless the circumstances:

  1. were either not present before an examination, or
  2. escalated considerably within an examination.

The granting of special consideration does not include alteration of an RACGP Examination result or fail status.

This policy is approved by RACGP Board and authorised by the CEO.

3. Background and objective

3.1 Background

The purpose of granting special consideration is to accommodate a Candidate who is likely to be disadvantaged by a circumstance which is:

  1. beyond the Candidate's control
  2. objectively likely to have an adverse impact on the Candidate's attendance at, or performance in an RACGP Examination.

The policy aims to balance the need to support applicants of genuine need whilst ensuring the integrity of the examination.

The RACGP Examinations assess a Candidate's competence to practice as an unsupervised general practitioner anywhere in Australia. Therefore, each Candidateis required to attain that general practice standard irrespective of personal circumstance.

3.2 Objective

The objectives of this policy are to describe:

3.2.1 how applications for special consideration will be handled by the RACGP, and

3.2.2 the process for applying for special consideration.

4. Definitions

  1. Candidate means a person who is enrolled in an RACGP Examination.
  2. Late withdrawal is when a Candidate withdraws from an RACGP Examination 19 business days or less before the scheduled examination date. See the Fellowship Exams Candidate Handbook and the Recorded Consultations Policy for further details on withdrawing from an examination.
  3. RACGP Examinations refers to the following Fellowhip assessments:
    • Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)
    • Key Feature Problem (KFP)
    • Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
    • Recorded Consultations (RC).

5. General principles

5.1 Special consideration provisions

Type of special consideration application

Special consideration provisions that may be granted

Special arrangements in an RACGP Fellowship Examination


  1. To bring materials into an examination that are not usually permitted, including food
  2. Assistance or modifications to the examination environment, such as:
    • Special lighting
    • Special seating
    • Assistance to reach seating
    • Placement near a toilet faility
    • Accommodation to breastfeed in a designated area prior to, during or after an exam.
  3. For a preferred afternoon placement in a rotation schedule in the OSCE that:
    • minimises the total length of time the candidate is required to be present at the exam venue
    • has been recommended by the candidate’s medical professional.

Special consideration for a late withdrawal

A refund of 50% of the exam fee, less any irrecoverable or otherwise committed travel expenses for examiners incurred by the RACGP related to the exam.

Special consideration for non-attendance at an examination due to an unforeseen emergency

Unexpected circumstances deemed to be of a sufficient status may be entitled to a refund of 50 per cent or higher.

*The examination withdrawal timelines are detailed in the Fellowship Exams Candidate Handbook and the Recorded Consultations Policy. At 19 business days or less before a scheduled examination the RACGP can no longer recover the costs associated with a Candidate's place in an examination. In cases where special consideration is granted for a late withdrawal or non-attendance, the RACGP will share in the loss with the Candidate.

5.2 Granting of special consideration

5.2.1 Special consideration is only granted in exceptional circumstances which appreciably exceed the pressures experienced by other Candidates in an assessment setting

5.2.2 The granting of special consideration will never include the alteration of an RACGP Examination result or fail status, because:

It is not the purpose of special consideration to assume or to agree that the Candidate would have done better if the Candidate's circumstances had been different.

While the RACGP recognises that illness can affect examination performance, it is the Candidate's decision to present for examination.

5.2.3 Candidates must ensure that they are sufficiently fit and healthy when they present for an examination. 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 (such as illness or misadventure) surrounding the exam.

5.2.4 In all RACGP Examinations, the required general practice standard must be reached for a Candidate to pass, irrespective of personal circumstances.

5.2.5 Determination of special considerations applications are based on the individual circumstances of the request and the capacity of the RACGP to support such requests. All special consideration application outcomes remain at the RACGP's discretion.

5.2.6 An application for special consideration that does not comply with this policy will not be considered.

5.3 Nursing breaks during RACGP exams

All exam candidates that expect they will be breastfeeding an infant at the time of their exam, are encouraged to submit a Special Consideration Application form. The following accommodations may be made:

5.3.1 Computer-based exams:

The exam may be paused for nursing breaks for up to 30 minutes.

5.3.2 OSCE:

Changes to the exam timing structure are not permitted. Candidates may breastfeed an infant prior to and after the exam. During the exam, candidates may express milk at the dedicated exam rest stations as stipulated on their individual rotation timetable only.

Infants are NOT permitted on the rotation during an exam.

Candidates should refer to the Provisions and Procedures for Nursing Breaks during RACGP Exams for more information.

5.4 Reconsideration of a special consideration outcome

In some circumstances, Candidates may apply for their special consideration outcome to be reconsidered. For full details on the grounds for reconsideration and how to submit an application. Candidates should refer to the RACGP Reconsiderations and Appeals Policy.

6. Applying for special consideration

6.1 Application timelines

Only special consideration applications submitted within the following timelines will be considered:

Type of special consideration application

Application deadline

Special arrangements in an RACGP examination

A minimum of 20 business days prior to the scheduled examination date (or commencement date for Recorded Consultations).

RACGP will attempt to accommodate applications received after this time, but cannot guarantee that special arrangements can be made.

Special consideration for a late withdrawal

5pm on the last business day prior to the scheduled examination date (or commencement date for Recorded Consultations).

Special consideration for non-attendance at an examination due to an unforeseen emergency

72 hours from the scheduled examination date. Candidates must provide appropriate supporting documentation within 5 business days of the scheduled examination date.

If a Candidate is affected by circumstances beyond their control that escalate considerably within an examination, they may be afforded the right to apply for special consideration.

6.2 Supporting documentation

All applications for special consideration must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. Examples of the types of supporting documentation required in different circumstances are provided on the RACGP Examinations – Application for Special Consideration form.

6.3 Submitting an application for special consideration

Candidates wishing to apply for special consideration must:

Download and complete the RACGP Examinations – Application for Special Consideration form

Email the completed form and supporting documentation to examinations@racgp.org.au.

6.4 Notification of application outcome

RACGP will provide written notice to the candidate of the outcome of the special consideration application as soon as practicable after the relevant due diligence and logistical capabilities have been explored, and appropriate approvals sought (if applicable).

7. Related policies, documents and legislation

Related policies and guidance documents are available on our policy page.

8. Administrative procedures

8.1 Access to published policy

This policy will be available via the RACGP website.

8.2 Promulgation of published policy

Relevant staff members will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.

8.3 Review of this policy

This policy will have a review cycle of three years.


 1800 626 901


Related form

Application for Special Consideration (PDF 505 KB)