MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) is a computer-based assessment that forms part of the MRCGP.

It tests the knowledge base behind independent general practice in the UK within the context of the NHS. Trainees who pass will show they can apply knowledge at a high enough level for independent practice.

The AKT takes place three times a year at Pearson VUE test centres across the UK. Venues are subject to reduced availability during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

AKT update - 7 April 2021

The next AKT is scheduled for 28 April 2021 and a record 2,182 have booked. It will be run at Pearson VUE test centres under strict social distancing guidance, as applicable to each of the individual four home nation regulations. We will continue to closely monitor government guidance but, unlike the emergency situation of 2020, there is no plan for any additional summer sittings this year.

We will provide further updates when we can.


Please monitor our MRCGP page for updates on how COVID-19 is affecting exams.

View the AKT COVID-19 related FAQs (548 KB PDF).

See Pearson VUE’s COVID-19 updates for health and safety information at test centres.

About the AKT

Trainees have 3 hours and 10 minutes to answer 200 questions. The questions are approximately:

  • 80% on clinical knowledge
  • 10% on evidence-based practice (including evidence interpretation and the critical appraisal skills needed to interpret research data)
  • 10% on primary care organisation and management issues (including administrative, ethical, regulatory and statutory frameworks)

All questions address issues relating to UK general practice. They focus on higher order problem solving rather than the recall of basic facts.

The GP Curriculum gives an overview of the topics you should be aware of for the AKT.

Who can take the AKT

You can take the AKT during or after the ST2 stage of GP training.

A maximum of four attempts is allowed if you entered GP Specialty Training on or after 1 August 2010.

Dates for applications, exams and results

AKT assessment dates 2020-2021

AKT assessment: Winter 2020-2021

Booking period: 18-20 November 2020

Test date: 27 January 2021  Results published: 5 pm 18 February 2021

AKT assessment: Spring 2021

Booking period: 3-5 March 2021

Test date: 28 April 2021  Results published: 5 pm 20 May 2021

Each test date has a morning and afternoon session. You'll need to book an afternoon session if you request extra time.

Dates and times may be subject to change. You’ll be told of any changes at the earliest opportunity. If you are fasting during the period of Ramadan, please be advised that you are able to specify a morning / afternoon sitting as per your preference.

How to apply

Before applying

Read the relevant sections of the MRCGP exam regulations and code of conduct, including eligibility and the number of attempts allowed.

Check the AKT assessment dates in the section above. You can only apply during one of the booking periods.

Book early to make sure you can take the test at your preferred centre.

Visit the Pearson VUE website for pre-test guidance, including specific updates on Pearson VUE’s Covid-19 safety measures.

Apply for your AKT

  1. Register for an RCGP online account (if you don’t already have one)
  2. Apply and pay for the AKT      
  3. Book a place at a Pearson VUE UK test centre (after you have completed your application a personalised link will appear on your receipt, on the payment completed page and will be sent to you by email)

If you wish to change your Pearson VUE test centre booking during the application window you can revisit your booking link. For any other enquiries related to test centre bookings please contact Pearson VUE direct (0870 850 2915).

 

View the current MRCGP exam fees.

Disabilities and reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments can be made to the AKT procedures where necessary to meet the needs of individuals who are disabled as defined by the Equality Act 2010.

Read our webpage on MRCGP reasonable adjustments to find out more.

How to prepare for the AKT

Resources for trainees and trainers

Preparing to take the MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test: A concise guide for trainees (578 KB PDF) - offers a clear overview of what is required.

What can Trainers do to help AiTs prepare for the AKT? (578 KB PDF) - outlines how trainers can help trainees prepare by identifying how day-to-day practice influences exam content.

Clinical evidence and data interpretation: ‘Statistics’ in the AKT (1.6 MB PDF) - for candidates and GP educators to use in tutorials and peer group learning. Aims to kick-start conversations about the importance of interpreting data we encounter in primary care.

MRCGP candidate presentation (3 MB PPT) - has detailed information about the AKT. Includes feedback and statistics from the most recent test, and examples of the types of questions you may be asked.

InnovAiT AKT Podcast (MP3) - contains helpful interviews with GP trainees, a programme director and the deputy lead for the AKT, in addition to top tips and answers to common questions about the exam. 

Example AKT questions and answers

Download the following documents to see 50 AKT practice questions and the answers:

Each print issue of InnovAiT contains questions and answers to help AiTs identify their educational needs. There are more available from our archive of online issues. Access InnovAiT online.

Interactive tutorial of practice exam

On the day of the exam before sitting the AKT, you'll do a practice tutorial with example questions. It should help to familiarise you with the look and feel of the AKT testing platform.

See an example of a Pearson VUE practice tutorial.

The day of the test

Bring ID

You must bring the following two forms of ID to the test centre:

  • primary ID - photographic, for example international or UK travel passport, driver’s license, military ID or identification card
  • secondary ID - any ID containing at least name and signature, for example a current credit or debit card

For further information, including a full list of acceptable ID, please see Pearson VUE’s ID policy (257 KB PDF).

The names on your ID must match exactly with the names you used on your RCGP application. If they're different, you must bring an original official document linking the two names. For example, if one is your maiden name and one your married name, bring a marriage certificate.

Without the required ID, you will not be able to take the test. Plan ahead to avoid unnecessary distress.

Email exams@rcgp.org.uk well before the exam date if you have any doubts.

Arrive on time

You must arrive at the test centre on time. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to take the test.

Please check transport and parking in advance because there is no flexibility on admission times.

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

Personal belongings

You cannot bring personal items into the test room. This includes:

  • Bags
  • Coats
  • Calculators
  • Books
  • Notes
  • Mobile phones
  • Electronic equipment including laptops, tablets and pagers
  • Watches
  • Wallets or purses
  • Food and drink

Personal items must be left in a locker and your mobile phone switched off.

Test security

All tests are confidential to the RCGP. To maintain the security of the test, you’ll need to sign a non-disclosure agreement (127 KB PDF).

If you take the test in the morning session, you cannot leave the test area until the afternoon candidates have arrived for their test.

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

Taking the test

You will take the test at a computer workstation.

Before the test begins, you will complete a brief tutorial to familiarise yourself with the format of the test and the computer system.

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

Results

Log in to the MRCGP Trainee ePortfolio to view your AKT results.

They are shown in the ‘Progress to certification’ section.

Check the AKT Assessment dates to see when your results will be published.

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 previously declared a disability or requested reasonable adjustments, you will need to do this again every time you apply for a retake.

Reviews, appeals and complaints

View the MRCGP reviews, appeals and complaints information to find out how to:

  • request a review of your AKT test marks
  • appeal against a fail of the AKT test
  • make a complaint about the administration or conduct of the AKT

Guidance on national professional examinations

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the General Medical Council (GMC) have set expectations about the currency of examinations and the number of attempts allowed.

See the GMC guidance on national professional examinations.

AKT feedback reports

The AKT examiners publish feedback reports after every AKT. They're intended to guide the learning of AiTs and to help trainers and training programme directors.

AKT feedback reports from the past two years:

  • January 2021 AKT Feedback Report (132 KB PDF)
  • October 2020 AKT Feedback Report (242 KB PDF)
  • August 2020 AKT Feedback Report (231 KB PDF)
  • July 2020 AKT Feedback Report (115 KB PDF)
  • January 2020 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2019 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • AKT feedback report for the past five years

  • January 2016 to January 2021 AKT feedback report (140 KB PDF)
  • Frequently asked questions

    Contact us

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

    Email: exams@rcgp.org.uk
    Tel: 0203 188 7660

    Reasonable adjustments: exams.accoms@rcgp.org.uk

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