MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

What is the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) forms part of the MRCGP. It is a summative assessment of the knowledge base that underpins independent general practice in the United Kingdom within the context of the National Health Service. Trainees who pass this assessment will have demonstrated their competence in applying knowledge at a level which is sufficiently high for independent practice.

The AKT is a computer-based test of three hours and ten minutes duration comprising 200 question items. It is delivered three times a year at 150 Pearson VUE professional testing centres across the UK.

Approximately 80% of question items will be on clinical medicine, 10% on critical appraisal and evidence based clinical practice and 10% on health informatics and administrative issues.

All questions address important issues relating to UK general practice and focus mainly on higher order problem solving rather than just the simple recall of basic facts.

Changes to the AKT examination with effect from 29 October 2014

As part of our ongoing strategy to address the differential pass rates between UK graduates and International Medical Graduates in the MRCGP, we commissioned an independent review of the AKT and CSA components by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). Professor John Norcini, who conducted the review, suggested that we should consider increasing the amount of time candidates have available to complete the AKT. Although there is no evidence that time constraints in the AKT contribute in any way to the differential pass rates, they might pose more of a challenge for those candidates who are less proficient in the English language.

The GMC has given us permission to increase the duration of the AKT by 10 minutes on these grounds and we intend to implement this change from the next sitting of the AKT in October 2014. 

In addition to the extra time, an on-screen calculator will be made available. This is being provided at the request of candidates, but any calculation within the AKT will require only simple basic arithmetic, and most candidates will not need to use the calculator.

The additional time provided for the AKT will not change the standard required to achieve a pass in the AKT.

Candidates who require additional time as a result of a declared disability will have this calculated on the basis of the new AKT duration. 

How to prepare for the AKT

Information for candidates and trainers

The AKT presentation for candidates and trainers [PDF] contains detailed information about the AKT, including feedback and statistics from the most recent test, and examples of the types of questions you may be asked.

AKT Content Guide

The new GP Curriculum was introduced in August 2012. The AKT Core Group has prepared a new learning resource to complement the curriculum which outlines the topics that may appear in the AKT. It is a long document but the Introduction explains how to use it and there are examples to show how topics relate to the GP Curriculum.

Please note: The Content Guide is not an exhaustive list of topics. It should be used in conjunction with the GP curriculum and not as a substitute for it. It is designed to highlight topics that candidates should be aware of, particularly in the areas of Evidence interpretation including research, statistics and epidemiology, and Organisational questions which include administrative, statutory, ethical and regulatory frameworks.

Sample AKT questions

AKT Tutorials
The interactive tutorials below are designed to help you familiarise yourself with the look and feel of the AKT testing platform.

AKT Feedback Report
After every AKT, a feedback report is published on the website and sent to Deaneries. The report contains results statistics as well as information about topics that candidates found difficult and question formats that will appear in future exams. This is updated after each test, but feedback from previous exams is often applicable so it is worthwhile looking back.

When and where to take the AKT

The AKT can be taken during or after the ST2 stage of GP training. A maximum number of four attempts will be permitted for those who have entered GP Specialty Training on or after 1 August 2010.

The AKT is also available to practitioners on GP Induction and Refresher (I&R) schemes.

AKT assessment dates 2013-2014
Booking period AKT test date Results published
AKT October 2014 9 September 2014 –
16 September 2014
29 October 2014 26 November 2014
AKT January 2015 26 November 2014 – 
3 December 2014
28 January 2015 25 February 2015
AKT April 2015 2 March 2015 – 
9 March 2015
29 April 2015 28 May 2015
AKT October 2015 8 September 2015 -
15 September 2015
28 October 2015 25 November 2015

There are two sessions on each test date, morning and afternoon.

The AKT is delivered by Pearson VUE through their UK network of 150 test centres. Click here to locate your nearest test centre.

All dates may be subject to change. Appropriate notice of any changes will be given at the earliest opportunity

Apply for the AKT

How to apply for the AKT

You can only apply for the AKT during one of the booking periods shown in the table above. It is best to book early to ensure that you can take the test at the centre of your choice.

  1. Register for an account on the RCGP website (if you do not already have one)
  2. Apply and pay for the AKT through the RCGP website. Please allow TWO BUSINESS DAYS for your detail to be transferred to the Pearson VUE booking system
  3. Book a place at a Pearson VUE UK test centre

Declaring a disability or requesting special adjustments

When you book, you will be able to declare any disabilities or special needs. If you require additional time because of a disability or special need, you will need to book an afternoon session with Pearson VUE. Morning test sessions cannot be extended beyond three hours and ten minutes.

Notify the RCGP of a disability 

Identification documents required for admission

You must bring the following two identification documents to the test centre:
  1. A current valid passport or UK photo card driving licence as photographic ID
  2. A current credit or debit card showing your name and signature as secondary ID

The names shown on the identification documents MUST MATCH EXACTLY with the names you used when submitting your application to the RCGP. If the names are different (for example, one is your maiden name and one your married name) then you must also bring an original official document that links the two names (for example, a marriage certificate). If you have any doubts, please contact the RCGP well BEFORE the exam date so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

If you fail to bring the required identification documents, you will not be permitted to take the test. This causes unnecessary distress and can be avoided by planning ahead.

What to expect on the test day

AKT Tutorials
The interactive tutorials below are designed to help you familiarise yourself with the look and feel of the AKT testing platform.

Admission and timing

It is essential that you arrive at the test centre on time. It is advisable to check transport and parking arrangements well before the day as there is no flexibility on admission times. If you arrive late, you will not be admitted to the test.

The confirmation email from Pearson VUE will provide further information about timings.

All personal belongings must be left in a locker and your mobile phone switched off. You will not be allowed to take anything with you into the test room including bags, overcoats, calculators, books, notes, mobile phones, tablet devices, laptop computers, pagers or any other electronic equipment, watches, wallets, purses, food or drink.

You will take the test at a computer workstation. Before the test begins, you will have the opportunity to complete a brief tutorial to ensure you are familiar with the format of the test and the operation of the computer system.

You will be allowed to leave the test room for water or to visit the toilet, but no additional time will be given.

Identification required for admission
You must bring the following two identification documents to the test centre:

  1. A current valid passport or UK photo card driving licence as photographic ID
  2. A current credit or debit card showing your name and signature as secondary ID

The names shown on the identification documents MUST MATCH EXACTLY with the names you used when submitting your application to the RCGP. If the names are different (for example, one is your maiden name and one your married name) then you must also bring an original official document that links the two names (for example, a marriage certificate). If you have any doubts, please contact the RCGP well BEFORE the exam date so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

If you fail to bring the required identification documents, you will not be permitted to take the test. This causes unnecessary distress and can be avoided by planning ahead.

Test security

There are two sessions on each test date, morning and afternoon. To maintain the security of the test, candidates who take the test during the morning session are not permitted to leave the test area until the afternoon candidates have arrived for their test. 

Pearson VUE uses CCTV cameras to prevent violations of test security.

Non disclosure agreement

All test items are confidential to the RCGP. You’ll be required to sign an agreement not to pass on details of any of the items used in the test.

Results

The result of your test will published in your ePortfolio on the date shown in the table above. 

If you are taking the AKT as part of a GP Induction and Refresher (I&R) scheme, your result will be issued via email.

Complaints, Reviews and Appeals

View the MRCGP regulations and procedures for complaints, reviews, and appeals.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the General Medical Council have set expectations about the currency of national professional examinations and the number of attempts permissible. This guidance can be found here.

Retaking the AKT

If you are unsuccessful and wish to retake the AKT, you will need to complete a new application during the next booking period. If you have a disability, you will need to declare this again to make sure appropriate adjustments are made each time.

Examination regulations

Before applying, you should ensure that you are familiar with the relevant sections of the MRCGP examination regulations, particularly with respect to eligibility and the number of attempts permissible.

Contact us

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Email: exams@rcgp.org.uk

Telephone: 0203 188 7660

 

 

 

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