Candidacy is a three-year period, separate to your training program time, in which you can attempt Fellowship exams. Your candidacy starts in the semester in which you enrol in and sit your first exam.
An exam semester is a period of time which all three Fellowship exams are delivered.
Your candidacy is made up of six exam semesters and not by the number of times you sit an exam. During your candidacy you may enrol in exams over a maximum of six exam semesters. This means you have six exam semesters to attempt and pass all Fellowship exams. You don’t have six attempts at each Fellowship exam.
Once your candidacy starts, each subsequent exam semester counts towards your candidacy regardless of whether you sit an exam in that semester or not. If you don’t sit an exam in a particular exam semester, your candidacy will not be extended unless you are granted a suspension of candidacy.
You may apply for a suspension of candidacy, which if approved, will extend your candidacy beyond three years. Refer to Suspension of Candidacy for further information.
If you reach the end of your candidacy and have not passed all Fellowship exams, you will be ineligible for Fellowship and will be withdrawn from the training program.
The exams you pass are valid for the duration of your candidacy, including any periods of extension.
An example of how the candidacy period works.
If the first Fellowship exam you attempt is the 2023.2 KFP, your candidacy commences in the 2023.2 exam semester and expires at the end of the 2026.1 exam semester, if no suspensions or sanctioned withdrawals are applied.
If you decide not to enrol in any Fellowship exams in the 2024.1 exam semester, the semester still counts towards your candidacy (because candidacy is made up of semesters in which you're eligible to enrol and sit, not exam attampts). Your candidacy will still expire on 2026.1.
You'll find details of your candidacy in the My candidacy portal. You'll get access to this portal when you enrol in your first exam.
You must maintain current financial RACGP membership throughout your candidacy until you are admitted to Fellowship or exhaust your candidacy. For more information about maintaining membership refer to RACGP membership.
Suspension of candidacy
A suspension of candidacy is a period of time in which you’re not required nor permitted to attempt Fellowship exams. A suspension of candidacy applies to an entire semester; therefore, you can’t sit any type of Fellowship exam during the period of suspension.
There are two types of suspension, standard and non-standard.
You’re eligible for one standard suspension during your candidacy.
You may suspend your candidacy, for any reason, throughout the period of candidacy up until you’ve sat an exam in your final exam semester.
You may use your standard suspension because of:
- financial reasons
- personal reasons
- unsuccessful exam attempts (so you can dedicate time to improving your exam technique or knowledge).
You can apply for a standard suspension through My candidacy portal and you don’t need to submit supporting documentation. If you need to apply for a standard suspension retrospectively, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A standard suspension applies to the entire exam semester and not to any one exam type; therefore, if you have sat any exam in the semester, a suspension can’t be applied.
We recognise that extenuating and unforeseen circumstances may arise that affect your ability to attempt and complete the Fellowship exams within your candidacy. Therefore, if you believe you are impacted by such circumstances, you may apply for a non-standard suspension.
An extenuating and unforeseen circumstance is something outside your control, can reasonably be considered to have been unforeseen, and can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on you. We will consider extenuating and unforeseen circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
In an application for non-standard suspension, we will consider the following reasons:
- ill-health (other than minor illnesses), with valid certificates
- carer’s leave, with valid certificates
- acute adverse life circumstances
- Australian Defence Force deployment leave
- other significant changes to your circumstances.
All applications for non-standard suspension of candidacy must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation and we may ask for additional supporting documentation if insufficient evidence is submitted with your application.
Making an application doesn’t mean it will automatically be approved. Non-standard suspensions will be granted on a case-by-case basis and approval is at the discretion of the RACGP.
If you believe you need extra time off from sitting exams because of your circumstances and you wish to apply for a non-standard suspension of candidacy, send an email to email@example.com.
Candidacy when transferring between training programs
If you transfer to another training program, your overall period of candidacy doesn’t change; you still have three years in which to sit all Fellowship exams.
If you transfer to another RACGP-approved program after your candidacy has commenced, your candidacy will carry over to your new program. While you’re completing the program, we will suspend your candidacy. Once you have met the exam eligibility requirements for that program, your candidacy will resume with the remaining number of exam semesters and any valid exam passes. For example, if two exam semesters of your candidacy have already passed, you’ll have four remaining once you meet the exam eligibility requirements of your new program and your candidacy recommences.
If you join the AGPT program from another training program and have previously attempted Fellowship exams, your candidacy will carry over to the AGPT. While you’re completing the program your candidacy will be suspended. Once you meet the exam eligibility requirements of the program as per the Fellowship Exams Policy, your candidacy will resume.