MRCGP exam overview

COVID-19 - CSA examination cancellation

The College has today announced that the Clinical Skills Assessment examination will not be running from tomorrow (Thursday 19 March) and the Applied Knowledge Test will no longer go ahead on 29 April. 

In effect all MRCGP examinations are cancelled until further notice and we are unable to accept or reschedule any more bookings.

CSA Examination Cancellation

We have been following advice from the CMO and Government and were committed to running the 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. However, the situation has now changed dramatically. The Government has 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.

We are contacting all candidates who are booked to sit the CSA in March and April to let them know that their scheduled examination will not go ahead and advising them not to travel to London for the examination.

Our immediate priority is to those candidates affected, and a full set of FAQs is now available on the RCGP website.

Examination fees will be carried over to the rescheduled sitting and we will ensure that all examinations are rescheduled at a time when we can run them safely and reliably. If candidates have already paid for travel or accommodation we recommend that they contact the provider in the first instance to seek a refund.

We are sorry for the inconvenience or anxiety that this causes but we are working in a difficult and changing situation. All of our examiners are working GPs, and many are trainers, and they are also working hard to make sure that their practices and patients are supported, as well as committing time to run the examination.

Please keep checking our website for more information. The RCGP examination staff will not be able to provide any additional information so we recommend that you do not telephone the office at this stage.

AKT Examination Cancellation 

We had been committed to running the AKT examination on 29 April, but it will now will need to be rescheduled at a time when it can be run safely. At this stage we are unable to provide a date for the rearranged examination as, like the CSA, we will have to react to the changing situation created by the spread of Covid-19.

We are unable to accept or reschedule any more bookings.

Our immediate priority has been to let those affected know as quickly as possible, and a full set of FAQs on our examinations is now available on the RCGP website.

Candidates will receive a notification from Pearson VUE - the company that runs the AKT - in the next few days which will confirm that the current booking has been cancelled.

In the light of some Pearson VUE test centres closing or reducing capacity in some areas, some candidates may have already received a notification advising them to reschedule. They are advised to please ignore any such notifications and await official confirmation of the overall cancellation.

The fees paid for the examination will be carried over to the rescheduled sitting. The RCGP examination staff will not be able to provide any additional information at this stage so we would ask you please not to phone the office.

The College is working hard to support all GPs, including trainees, during the Covid-19 pandemic and advice and information are being added to our website regularly.

Thank you for your understanding and forbearance.

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 the completion of specific assessments and reports, the documentation of naturally occurring evidence, as well as certain mandatory requirements such as Child Safeguarding and Basic Life Support. More information on the requirements for WPBA can be found within the WPBA section on this website.

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