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.
2 August 2022 - AKT update
The next scheduled AKT will take place on 26 October 2022. There is no plan to change the AKT schedule for the 2022-23 academic year, however if government advice about COVID-19 changes, then trainees are advised to check this webpage for further updated information.
We would advise prospective candidates to discuss exam preparation with their Educational Supervisors as early as possible in order to identify and act on any relevant educational needs. For example, if you have had less undergraduate experience in certain clinical areas, or are unsure about evidence and data interpretation then plan with others how you can best address this. If you are unsure about whether you are ready to sit the AKT, or think you might require a reasonable adjustment, it is important to discuss this with a member of your GP Education team in good time so that you can submit all necessary applications and information to the RCGP as per the timeframes outlined below.
Please monitor our MRCGP page for updates on how COVID-19 is affecting exams.
See Pearson VUE’s COVID-19 updates for health and safety information at test centres.
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.
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.
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
- Register for an RCGP online account (if you don’t already have one)
- Apply and pay for the AKT
- 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.
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.
Resources for trainees and trainers
Preparing to take the MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test: A concise guide for trainees (PDF file, 173 KB) - offers a clear overview of what is required.
What can Trainers do to help AiTs prepare for the AKT? (PDF file, 578 KB) - 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 (PDF file, 1.6 MB) - 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 (PPT file, 3.2 MB) - 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.
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 (PDF file, 257 KB).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
You cannot bring personal items into the test room. This includes:
- Mobile phones
- Electronic equipment including laptops, tablets and pagers
- Wallets or purses
- Food and drink
Personal items must be left in a locker and your mobile phone switched off.
Some comfort aids are permitted by Pearson VUE without prior permission: Pearson VUE comfort aid list (PDF file, 139 KB)
All tests are confidential to the RCGP. To maintain the security of the test, you’ll need to sign a non-disclosure agreement (PDF file, 127 KB).
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.
Pearson VUE and COVID-19
The Pearson VUE website contains further information about the testing day, including details of the current COVID-19 measures in place in Pearson VUE test centres across the 4 nations.
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.
For support and advice, check our webpage on exam resits and reflection.
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.
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
- April 2022 AKT Feedback Report (PDF file, 138 KB)
- January 2022 AKT Feedback Report (PDF file, 138 KB)
- October 2021 AKT Feedback Report (PDF file, 133 KB)
- April 2021 AKT Feedback Report (PDF file, 131 KB)
- January 2021 AKT Feedback Report (PDF file, 132 KB)
- October 2020 AKT Feedback Report (PDF file, 242 KB)
AKT feedback report for the past five years
Exploring reasons for differences in performance between UK and international medical graduates in the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners Applied Knowledge Test: a cognitive interview study 2019