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

AKT update - 19 November 2020

We would like to apologise for any problems you experienced in trying to book on to the January AKT yesterday. While you were able to register with RCGP for the first step, there was an IT problem which meant that completing the second part with Pearson VUE was delayed. We understand your frustration and are sorry if you were unable to get through to the exams team by phone due to a high volume of calls.

We have now resolved the issue, and will be releasing the AKT October results at 6pm today (19th November). We ask you not to check before this time and to only contact the exams team after this time if your result has not been published. 

Thank you for your patience.

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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