MRCGP exam overview

Updates for GP trainees during COVID-19

We've been updating trainees about exams and assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read our updates for trainees.

Applied Knowledge Test

Further AKT update - 11 January 2021

The 27 January 2021 AKT will go ahead for all those who feel comfortable with the current strict social distancing and hygiene procedures already in place and under daily review at Pearson VUE test centres. This is in line with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ position on postgraduate assessments.

We are sorry that we do not currently have an alternative testing option for ‘shielding’ trainees but will publish further advice about exam sittings once government guidance permits. 

Attempts at the January AKT will be counted but candidates are able to defer their sitting at no additional cost up until 72 hours before the exam date. We advise you to discuss your individual circumstances with your Deanery or LETB before reaching a decision, especially if  you only have the AKT to complete in order to gain your CCT.

We fully respect the decision of candidates who wish to defer and are working to put alternative contingency arrangements in place for later in the year; we will provide further updates when we can.

Read the full 11 January AKT update.

New exam dates

Find the latest information on new exam dates for the AKT.

We are unable to accept or reschedule any more bookings.

Find answers to frequently asked questions on the AKT (124 KB PDF), updated 1 June 2020.

Recorded Consultation Assessment

The RCA was offered in place of the CSA to cover the period of disruption during the COVID-19 lockdown (19 May 2020).

Find answers to frequently asked questions on the RCA and download the candidate handbook and exam policies. 

Clinical Skills Assessment

We have been following advice from the Chief Medical Officer and government. We were committed to running the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) examination for as long as we could, while it was safe and responsible to do so, to help as many trainees as possible to complete their training.

The situation changed dramatically, however. The government advised against any non-essential travel, and trainees and examiners are finding it harder to leave their practices, while those with underlying health conditions have been advised to exercise caution and may decide to self-isolate. 

Workplace Based Assessment and Annual Review of Competence Progression guidance

The RCGP and the COGPED have developed guidance to outline requirements to allow successful completion of a GP Training Programme in the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis.

MRCGP is an integrated assessment system, success in which confirms that a doctor has satisfactorily completed specialty training for general practice, and is competent to enter independent practice in the United Kingdom without further supervision. Satisfactory completion of the MRCGP is a pre-requisite for the issue of a certificate of completion of training (CCT) and full Membership of the RCGP.

MRCGP comprises three separate components: an Applied Knowledge Test (AKT), a Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) and Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA), each of which tests different competences using validated assessment methods and which together cover the spectrum of knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes defined by the GP Specialty Training curriculum.

MRCGP complies with General Medical Council (GMC) standards on validity, reliability, feasibility, cost effectiveness, opportunities for feedback and impact on learning. It also follows best practice in assessment, quality assurance and standard setting.

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.


Latest updates


Previous updates

March 2019 - Targeted GP Training

Resources for Educational Supervisors and Training Programme Directors
The RCGP appreciates the pivotal role ESs and TPDs play in candidate preparation for the CSA and has developed joint guidance with COGPED on CSA preparation to support the training community.

Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

The Applied Knowledge Test 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.


Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA)

The CSA is a summative assessment of a doctor's ability to integrate and apply clinical, professional, communication and practical skills appropriate for general practice. Simulating a typical NHS surgery clinic the CSA assesses a range of scenarios from general practice relevant to most parts of the curriculum which can also target particular aspects of clinical care and expertise.


Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA)

WPBA evaluates the trainee's progress in areas of professional practice best tested in the workplace and:

  • looks at the trainee's performance in their day to day practice to provide evidence for learning and reflection based on real experiences
  • supports and drives learning in important areas of competence with an underlying theme of patient safety
  • provides constructive feedback on areas of strength and developmental needs, identifying trainees who may be in difficulty and need more help
  • evaluates aspects of professional behaviour that are difficult to assess in the Applied Knowledge Test and Clinical Skills Assessment
  • determines fitness to progress towards completion of training.

Evidence of WPBA, as approved by the GMC, includes:

  • completion of specific assessments and reports
  • documentation of naturally occurring evidence
  • certain mandatory requirements such as Child Safeguarding and Basic Life Support.

Find more information on the requirements in the WPBA section on this website.

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