RCGP examinations update

We are sure this update will find you extremely busy, not only in your day-to-day clinical work and supporting the response to the pandemic, but if you are also preparing for examinations. As part of our more regular updates, we want to let you know about the following:


We can report an excellent take-up for the May RCA. As in March, this significant increase in applications has come at a time when our examiner availability is at its most stretched. With the lockdown restrictions starting to lift, our examiners are facing many extra demands on their time in addition to their examining duties, not least the ongoing delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programmes across the four nations. As a result, the marking period for May will need to be extended and, following consultation with the AiT Co-Chairs and COGPED, the results release date for the May RCA will now be Thursday 10 June at 17:00. We hope you will understand our reasons for this and that this gives you enough warning.

July RCA

As noted in the last update, we have agreed with stakeholders that there will be a restricted RCA diet in July for those trainees identified by their deaneries who urgently need to sit the exam prior to their CCT date, and who have been impacted by the pandemic. The booking window for this diet will be open between 21-26 May, and only those trainees identified by their deaneries will be able to book. If you have any questions about whether you should be on this list, please do contact your deanery. The RCGP Exams team will not be in a position to discuss individual cases. A further communication from COGPED relating to the July RCA will be sent as soon as the prioritisation exercise has been completed.

Mandatory criteria for the RCA

From the September 2021 diet, consultations about breast lumps will be explicitly excluded from inclusion under the Mandatory Criteria for Maternal and Reproductive Health. This clarification is to help candidates avoid a potential breach of Mandatory Criterion by continuing to submit consultations about breast lumps in that category beyond that date. This change will not be applied retrospectively to any previous diets.

New exam development

The development and reference group represent a wide range of stakeholders, including the AiT Co-Chairs, and have been hard at work throughout April. We will update you further once a first options paper has been reviewed by the RCGP Trustee Board this month and soon after by RCGP Council. In the meantime, the RCA will remain in its current format, and we remain committed to giving trainees a minimum of six months' notice of any major changes. Once we are in a position to do so, we will release further dates for the 2022 RCA, although in terms of planning we still expect similar diets to those held in 2021, i.e. February, March and May.

April AKT

The AKT examination was successfully delivered on 28 April to a record number of over 2,000 trainees, which is a remarkable achievement given the strict government guidelines in place. Thank you to all those who supported Pearson VUE staff who are having to cope with more difficult test centre working environments. We would remind all trainees that results will be released on 20 May, but not before 17:00.

Tier 2 visas

We now have guidance on the RCGP website for those whose Tier 2 visas are due to expire at the end of their training. If you believe you are likely to be affected by this, please visit the webpage.

Thank you again for everything you are doing. If you have any further questions, please do contact us at exams@rcgp.org.uk.