2021.1 KFP and AKT information for candidates


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


The latest information is available in our responses to candidates below.

Updated: 27 January 2021.


Even if part of the country goes into COVID-19 lockdown, we won’t delay the exams. The reason is simple: delaying might not help. COVID-19 lockdowns can be announced at short notice – even on the same day, as happened in Brisbane in January. They can also be extended at short notice, as the people of Victoria learned through 2020. If a lockdown affects some candidates on the scheduled exam day, there is no guarantees another lockdown will not affect them or other candidates days, weeks or months later.

Many hundreds of exam candidates around Australia have prepared for these exams. This preparation comes with sacrifices:

  • Using leave and taking time away from work
  • Stress and time away from family
  • Arranging cover for their patients
  • Delaying holidays, weddings, conferences, and more based on exam dates
  • Timing exam preparation to culminate on the scheduled exam days.

We are committed to fairness, equality and equity of outcome. Delaying the exam, even by a few weeks, disrupts all of these plans for candidates who are not subject to lockdowns, with no guaranteed benefit. It is not possible to deliver different exams to different parts of the same cohort, or to let some doctors sit the same exam after their colleagues have already seen it.


You won’t be able to sit the exam if your region is subject to a lockdown and you can’t leave your home to complete the exam. If your region is not in lockdown but you are personally required to isolate, please contact us: with sufficient notice, we may be able to make individual arrangements. 

If you can’t sit the exam, we will work with you to try to mitigate the impacts. The RACGP can:

  • Transfer your enrolment to the 2021.2 exams at no cost
  • Suspend your candidacy under the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy
  • Approve extensions for AGPT (where appropriate and in consultation with your training organisation and other relevant organisations)
  • Give supporting evidence to any agency or organisation that requires you to sit exams, including:
    • AHPRA
    • Department of Health
    • Medicare
    • Department of Home Affairs
    • Training organisations
    • Workforce agencies
    • Employers

If you have specific needs for additional support, we can work with you individually.

 

Timing


Exam dates and enrolment periods for 2021 are available online now.


Venue details, exam time and further information was sent to you on 15 January 2021. Your state faculty has provided you with additional information, such as registration time, venue maps, parking information and public transport information during the week starting 18 January 2021.


Delivery model


The 2021.1 KFP and AKT will be delivered as a paper-based format. For the AKT, you will fill out computer-readable marking sheets. The KFP involves a combination of multiple-choice answers and write-in responses.


Yes. Candidates enrolled in the 2021.1 KFP and/or AKT exam were provided the paper-based practice exams by email on 17 December 2020. The practice exam format is the same as the real exam format.

The exam booklets on exam day are bound, not loose-leaf.


There is not enough time to engage with a new exam software company, complete end–to-end testing and ensure the stability of the exam platform to deliver an online solution. Even if we could develop new software, finding enough venues with enough computers that are still COVID-safe around Australia is not feasible in the time available.

This leaves us only one option: having a paper-based solution.


At this stage we are not sure. We will continue to monitor and assess the delivery model for 2021.2.


The 2021.1 KFP and AKT will be held in different venues nationwide. If you are enrolled in the 2021.1 KFP and/or AKT, your venue details were emailed to you on 15 January 2021.


No, because we are not limited by the number of computers we can access, all candidates will sit at the same time and we cannot offer alternative times. The KFP will run in the afternoon of Friday 5 February 2021 and the AKT will run in the morning of Saturday 6 February 2021. 


No. As we aren’t using an online delivery method for this exam, moving a candidate from one venue to another is not as simple as logging them in to another computer. The timelines for our paper delivery method means that your unique exam paper, labelled with your details, is currently being printed and packaged, so it is ready for you at your venue. With a very short window until the exam, we cannot get exam papers reprinted and sent to a new venue. 


Exam day


Eating can be extremely distracting for other exam candidates. Many snack foods come in loud packaging which will rustle or crinkle as you touch it. Many foods have odours, which other candidates may find off-putting or distracting.

Some people are particularly sensitive to the sounds of others chewing, especially in otherwise silent environments such as exam conditions. Unless there is a specific medical reason that you must eat during the exam, we do not allow you to bring food into the exam room. 

You can eat during the registration period and immediately after the exam if you wish to. You are permitted to bring up to two bottles of water into the exam which must be clear and unlabelled.


No. We’ll provide a pen for you. We will have ample spare pens at each venue in case your pen stops working. You can keep the pen at the end of the exam if you want or leave it behind – all pens will be disposed of at the end of each day as part of our COVID-safe plan.


No. Our scanning and data management vendor instructs you to use a black ball-point pen. If you choose to use a different writing implement, there is a chance your answers will not be readable for a range of reasons. For example, pencil marks may be shiny, and not be read properly by the scanner. Smudges from erasing pencil can make your intention harder to understand. Erasable ink is designed to disappear when heated, which may occur in transit or during scanning. Inks from fountain pens, markers, and other types of pen are prone to smudge, bleed, or run, which could make your answers harder to read, or may not be compatible with the scanning process. To ensure your responses are clearly recorded, please use the black ball-point pen you are provided on exam day.


If you make a mistake in a multiple-choice question, simply cross it out and shade in a new answer. To re-select a crossed-out answer, re-shade the bubble so that your preferred answer is a circle, with no cross-marks visible. If there is any doubt, a human examiner will review your answer.

If you make a mistake in a written question, neatly cross out your original answer and write your intended answer above it on the same line. If you run out of space, you can write your answer elsewhere on the page, so long as it is clearly identified which question your answer is for.


We are printing spare exam papers – every venue will have a small number of spare papers available if a candidate needs a new paper because their original paper is damaged during the exam.


Everyone involved in the RACGP exams, including candidates and staff, need to follow local COVID-19 regulations. If your state requires you to wear a mask, you must do so. We will also be adhering to other state-based rules, including requirements around maximum density.

Your exam venue will have a COVID-safe plan in place. This may include specific social distancing requirements, use of hand sanitiser and wearing a mask. Some of these requirements may be stricter than the general requirements of your state. You will also be asked at the registration desk to declare that you are feeling well and have no symptoms of COVID-19, and that you have not been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case. You have the skills and knowledge to keep your colleagues safe, just as they will keep you safe.


If you are worried you may have COVID-19 or are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test, we thank you for telling us and keeping your colleagues, their families, their patients and their communities safe.

You will not be able to sit the exam if you suspect you have COVID-19. The RACGP will support you in making all necessary arrangements for you to be able to sit the exam in 2021.2, including maintenance of exam
eligibility and requisite training time extensions.


For the KFP, in consideration of the paper exam format, 30 minutes of additional time has been added to the existing 30-minute universal allowance already in place for all candidates. 

  • Previous online format – 3.5 hours
  • Paper format – 4 hours

For the AKT, no additional time has been added. The AKT is a multiple-choice exam, and candidates will only be required to mark bubbles on the answer sheet, not write full answers. The AKT is designed to be completed in 3.5 hours, with an existing 30-minute universal allowance already in place. 

  • Previous online format – 4 hours
  • Paper format – 4 hours


Please take your time when completing the exam paper and try your best to write as neatly as possible. We have added 30 minutes of additional time allowed to complete the KFP. 

Just like in computer-based exams, we do not require your spelling or writing to be perfect – so long as the examiner can read your writing and understand your intent, marks will be awarded appropriately.


KFP answers do not require full sentences, and you do not need to provide the rationale behind your answer unless it is specifically asked for. The answer booklet contains more than sufficient room to write answers of the appropriate length.


For the KFP:

You will receive spare paper in your exam to make notes. We ask you not to make notes in the exam booklet to ensure clarity for our examiners. The more writing, notes, and annotations there are in the booklet, the less clear it will be for our examiners to know exactly what you intend for your answer to be. Noting that over coding penalties still apply in the Key Feature Problem (refer to the RACGP Examinations guide), we suggest candidates do not write anything on the page that they do not intend to be considered as part of their exam answer. 

If you wish to underline, circle or flag key information in a question you may do so, but we urge you to take care not to risk confusing your examiner.

For the AKT:

You will receive spare paper in your exam to make notes. You may underline, circle or flag key information and may make notes in the question booklet if you wish to do so. Other than shading in the selected bubbles, it is critical that you do not make any notes or other marks in the answer booklet.


Enrolment, eligibility and candidacy


Candidates affected by the October 2020 cancellations will be able to sit one KFP and/or one AKT at no cost over the next 18 months, up to and including the 2022.1 exams. Please note a free re-sit only applies to the exam you were enrolled in, in October 2020. For example, if you were only enrolled in the 2020.2 KFP exam, your free re-sit only applies to one KFP exam.

To avoid being charged by our online enrolment system, please email examinations@racgp.org.au when you’d like to enrol, and we will organise a manual enrolment for you.


If you were an affected candidate in the technical failure of the 2020.2 KFP and AKT cancellation and chose to withdraw and sit 2021.1 or later instead, you will need to demonstrate eligibility, as normal. Check your eligibility criteria on the policy framework.


Subject to the limitations of the Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy, you can suspend your candidacy in any semester in which you do not sit an exam. If you sit the 2021.1 KFP on 5 February 2021, the 2021.1 AKT on 6 February 2021, or the 2021.1 RCE, you cannot suspend the 2021.1 semester.


Background information – risks and mitigations

The following information relates to the RACGP’s processes and plans around the delivery of the exam – not your specific experience on the day. We present this information in the interest of transparency.
 


In the event that our national printing vendor is unable to deliver exam papers for any reason (mechanical failure, COVID-19, staffing issues, insolvency, or other), we have identified back-up printers to print the exam papers in every capital city with a short turn-around to delivery.


Our national printing vendor has its own quality assurance processes to ensure all papers are correctly printed. All papers are individually checked after receipt in each venue two days before the exam. We have contingencies in place to address any errors.


Exam papers are being transported by secure couriers and delivered personally to dedicated and accountable staff at every exam venue. Wherever possible we are using RACGP employees to receive and safeguard papers. In some cases, we are using staff from Training Organisations. All staff responsible for exam papers will receive specific training and must have approved, individual plans for securely storing the papers between receiving them and the day of the exam. All papers are delivered in tamper-evident packaging and checked by RACGP staff before the exam.


The RACGP has well-established procedures for handling incidents in exam venues, and we do not expect this year to be any different to previous years.

We have structured decision-making and escalation processes for any issues that arise, from a room clock stopping through to major threats to the safety of candidates.


All papers are securely stored by RACGP staff who are trained in managing exam arrangements. We are using the highest service level of a globally recognised courier company to ensure papers are transported safely, securely and quickly back to our scanning and data management vendor. 


Every exam paper is uniquely printed with a candidate’s details on every page before the exam. These details are automatically read by the scanners to associate candidates’ answers with their names.

If we need to use generic papers, for example because the candidate needs a replacement booklet, the candidate and the invigilator will work together to enter and verify the candidates’ details on the paper. Both the candidate and an RACGP staff member must check that the details are correct before leaving the exam room.


We are using the highest service level of a globally recognised courier company to ensure papers are transported safely, securely and quickly back to our scanning and data management vendor.

If a paper is delayed in transit, we will start marking the other exam papers while working to recover the delayed exams.

In the extremely unlikely event that a paper is destroyed in transit, the candidate will need to take another exam.

We can’t make copies of the exam papers at the venues. Photocopying or photographing 1,600 exam booklets before transportation for professional scanning is not feasible, and such additional handling creates unacceptable risks.  

As soon as the RACGP receives the digitised papers, they will immediately be stored safely and securely, with all our usual data protection including secure storage and both on- and off-site backups.

These arrangements are consistent with the procedures implemented by other educational institutions, including Australian specialist medical colleges, when delivering paper-based exams at multiple sites.


Hand-completed answer sheets are scanned, and your answers will be digitally recognised. Where the computer cannot confidently identify your answer, human intervention is used to recognise your intent – this is most common when you’ve had to cross out an answer. 


Your answer booklet will be scanned. Multiple choice answers are digitally recognised. Written responses are read by our examiners, who are Fellows of the RACGP.


Answer sheets are professionally scanned, so there should not be problems with the digital version of your answers being hard to read. If a scan is low-quality, the original paper exam can be retrieved and reviewed.

Because our examiners are Fellows of the RACGP, they understand the medical terminology and will work to interpret what you have written. Examiners can refer difficult-to-read handwriting to other RACGP Medical Educators if they are unsure of your intent.

So long as we can understand your intent, marks will be awarded appropriately. The only time you will be penalised for messy handwriting or poor spelling is if your answer cannot be understood at all.