MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

Applied Knowledge Test exams 2020 update

19 May 2020

Following our letter to trainees of 12 May 2020 about a reduced capacity Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) on Wednesday 15 July 2020 for 450 candidates, we are delighted to confirm that there will also be an additional AKT on Wednesday 19 August 2020. 

This AKT will run in a near normal number of test centres in the four devolved nations. More details will be published as soon as possible. The application window for the 19 August exam is likely to be in the second week of July. 

The test centres will not be permitted to run at maximum capacity, for your safety and the safety of their staff. 

Please be reassured that there will be enhanced cleaning of workstations and keyboards. Hand sanitiser will be available, but you will need to bring your own gloves and mask, should you wish to wear them. Please note that you will still need to briefly show your face at ID checking. For further information, also refer to Pearson VUE's Coronavirus update page.

With multiple test centres re-opening to allow socially-distanced exam sittings, we are hopeful that at least 1,500 candidates can be accommodated at the 19 August sitting. 

There may still be a priority booking system which would be coordinated by local Deanery and LETB GP Education teams, if needed. Prioritisation for the reduced capacity July AKT was as follows:

  1. ST-3s due to CCT by 04 August 2020.
  2. ST-3s due to CCT by 31 December 2020 and who only need the AKT component.
  3. Other ST-3s.
  4. ST2s.

It is expected that almost all Associates in Training (AiTs) who are eligible and want to sit at a test centre will be accommodated. 

We are continuing to work to national government guidance regarding social distancing. We may be required to alter plans if the national pandemic means lockdown restrictions make planned testing unsafe.

We are aware that there is demand for remote assessment on a computer at home or in the workplace for candidates in the ‘Shielded’ category. We are looking closely at the secure practicalities of potentially delivering this for the minority of candidates in such exceptional situations.

We will provide further updates as soon as possible and please continue to monitor the exams website for the latest information

In the meantime, thank you again for your patience during this time and for all your hard work during this pandemic.

What is the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) forms part of the MRCGP. It 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.

The AKT is a computer-based test of three hours and ten minutes duration comprising 200 question items. It is delivered three times a year at 150 Pearson VUE professional testing centres across the UK.

Approximately 80% of question items will be on clinical medicine, 10% on evidence interpretation (including the critical appraisal skills needed to interpret research data) and 10% on primary care organisational issues (including administrative, ethical, regulatory and statutory frameworks). 

All questions address important issues relating to UK general practice and focus mainly on higher order problem solving rather than just the simple recall of basic facts.

Frequently asked questions

For more information about the CSA, WPBA and other queries, please refer to the MRCGP exam overview section of the website.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the AKT (126 KB PDF), 10 August 2020.

Download AKT General FAQs (392 KB PDF).

Download AKT Standard Setting FAQs (252 KB PDF).

 

AKT Content Guide

The 2019 GP Curriculum now includes our previously published AKT Content Guide.

GP Curriculum

Each Curriculum Topic Guide has a subsection entitled 'Knowledge and Skills guide' where you will find the updated equivalent to the sections published separately within the 2014 document. Each 'Knowledge and Skills guide' should be used in conjunction with the GP Curriculum and is not an exhaustive list. The guides are designed to highlight topics that candidates should be aware of. Please also note that if more recent evidence-based guidance has become mainstream practice over time, then this will reflect in the AKT exam.

How to prepare for the AKT

Download the guidance on Preparing to take the MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test: A concise guide for trainees (578 KB PDF), MRCGP AKT Group, November 2019. This is a concise guide for trainees preparing to take the AKT and contains a clear overview of what is required.

Download the guidance on What can Trainers do to help AiTs prepare for the AKT? (578 KB PDF),  AKT exam team. This guide outlines how trainers can better help trainees prepare to take the AKT, clearly identifying how day-to-day practice influences exam content.

Download the Clinical evidence and data interpretation: ‘Statistics’ in the AKT. A guide for a tutorial and/or peer group learning (1.6 MB PDF). This 2019 document has been produced to help candidates and GP educators better prepare for the AKT. It is not an attempt to create a new 'statistics book', (there are many excellent examples already available), rather a resource to help kick-start conversations about the importance of interpreting the data we might encounter in primary care.

Download the MRCGP candidate presentation (1.6 MB PDF),  AKT Core Group, September 2020. This presentation is updated after every AKT and contains detailed information about the AKT, including feedback and statistics from the most recent test, and examples of the types of questions you may be asked. 

Example AKT questions and answers

Download the AKT Example Questions (681 KB PDF), document which contains 50 AKT practice questions.

The following includes the answers for the example questions:

Download AKT Example Questions With Answers (732 KB PDF), January 2019.

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

RCGP AKT Sample Exam

This interactive tutorial is a primary care based example of a Pearson VUE practice exam. This is designed to help you familiarise yourself with the look and feel of the AKT testing platform. On the day of sitting the AKT exam, all candidates have to start with a short, practice tutorial with example primary care based questions before sitting their AKT.

Please note, that although some screens in the sample exam may require scrolling before being able to move on, this will not be the case on the day of the AKT when delivered via identical Pearson VUE test centre computer terminals.

AKT Feedback Report

The AKT feedback reports (see AKT Summary Reports section of this webpage) provide information about topics which candidates found difficult. This is updated after every test, but do also look at previous feedback reports (see Archived AKT Summary Reports) to see what recurrent themes emerge.

InnovAiT AKT Podcast (MP3). 

This podcast was produced in July 2015 in conjunction with the excellent InnovAiT team and highlights what you need to do to prepare for the MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test. It contains helpful interviews with GP trainees, a Programme Director and the Deputy Lead for the AKT as well as providing several 'top tips' and answers to common questions about the exam.

InnovAiT Crammers Corner

In August 2016 the AKT core group worked with InnovAiT and published two articles providing an overview of the AKT exam and further advice about exam preparation. There is also useful information about AKT preparation written by an AiT.

Eligibility for the AKT

The AKT can be taken during or after the ST2 stage of GP training. A maximum number of four attempts will be permitted for those who have entered GP Specialty Training on or after 1 August 2010.

Dates for applications, AKT examinations and publication of results

AKT assessment dates 2020 - 2021. Please see our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

2020 AKT Assessment dates
 
Booking period AKT test date Results published
AKT April 2020  Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
AKT July 2020 2 June - 5 June 2020 15 July 2020 23 July 2020
AKT Summer 2020

7-10 July 2020 for ST3 trainees only

14-17 July 2020 for all other ST3 and ST2 trainees 

19 August 2020 8 September 2020
AKT October 2020

9 September - 11 September 2020 

28 October 2020  19 November 2020 

2021 AKT Assessment dates

Booking period AKT test date Results published
AKT January 2021

18 November - 20 November 2020 

27 January 2021  18 February 2021
AKT April 2021

3 March - 5 March 2021 

28 April 2021  20 May 2021

There are two sessions on each test date, morning and afternoon. Candidates needing additional time as a reasonable adjustment are required to sit in the afternoon session.

The AKT is delivered by Pearson VUE through their network of normally over 120 centres but is subject to reduced availability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Locate your nearest test centre.

All dates may be subject to change. Appropriate notice of any changes will be given at the earliest opportunity.  We intend to make an announcement to all AiTs as soon as possible about a possible Summer AKT.

This page last updated 12/05/2020

Apply for the AKT

Before applying, you should ensure that you are familiar with the relevant sections of the MRCGP examination regulations, code of conduct, and the policies relating to the examination, particularly with respect to eligibility and the number of attempts permissible.

You can only apply for the AKT during one of the booking periods shown in the table above. It is best to book early to ensure that you can take the test at the centre of your choice. 

Find details of local test centres. 

  1. Register for an account on the RCGP website  (if you do not already have one).
  2. Apply to and pay for the AKT through the RCGP website. Please allow two working days for your details to be transferred to the Pearson VUE booking system.
  3. Book a place at a Pearson VUE UK test centre.

View the current MRCGP examination fees.

Declaring a disability or requesting special adjustments

When you book, you can declare disabilities or special needs. If you require additional time because of a disability or special need, please book an afternoon session with Pearson VUE. Morning test sessions cannot be extended beyond three hours and ten minutes.

Email exams.accoms@rcgp.org.uk to contact the exams team about reasonable adjustments.

Identification documents required for admission

You must bring the following two identification documents to the test centre:
 
  1. A current valid passport or UK photo card driving licence as photographic ID
  2. A current credit or debit card showing your name and signature as secondary ID

The names shown on the identification documents MUST MATCH EXACTLY with the names you used when submitting your application to the RCGP. If the names are different (for example, one is your maiden name and one your married name) then you must also bring an original official document that links the two names (for example, a marriage certificate). If you have any doubts, please contact the RCGP well BEFORE the exam date so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

If you fail to bring the required identification documents, you will not be permitted to take the test. This causes unnecessary distress and can be avoided by planning ahead.

What to expect on the test day

RCGP AKT Sample Exam

This interactive tutorial is a primary care based example of a Pearson Vue practice exam. This is designed to help you familiarise yourself with the look and feel of the AKT testing platform. On the day of sitting the AKT exam, all candidates have to start with a short, practice tutorial with example primary care based questions before sitting their AKT.

Please note, that although some screens in this sample exam may require scrolling before being able to move on, this will not be the case on the day of the AKT when delivered via identical Pearson VUE test centre computer terminals.

  • Pearson VUE RCGP AKT Sample Exam

    Admission and timing

    It is essential that you arrive at the test centre on time. It is advisable to check transport and parking arrangements well before the day as there is no flexibility on admission times. If you arrive late, you will not be admitted to the test.
  • The confirmation email from Pearson VUE will provide further information about timings.

    All personal belongings must be left in a locker and your mobile phone switched off. You will not be allowed to take anything with you into the test room including bags, overcoats, calculators, books, notes, mobile phones, tablet devices, laptop computers, pagers or any other electronic equipment, watches, wallets, purses, food or drink.

    You will take the test at a computer workstation. Before the test begins, you will have the opportunity to complete a brief tutorial to ensure you are familiar with the format of the test and the operation of the computer system.

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

    Identification required for admission

    You must bring the following two identification documents to the test centre:

    1. A current valid passport or UK photo card driving licence as photographic ID
    2. A current credit or debit card showing your name and signature as secondary ID

    The names shown on the identification documents MUST MATCH EXACTLY with the names you used when submitting your application to the RCGP. If the names are different (for example, one is your maiden name and one your married name) then you must also bring an original official document that links the two names (for example, a marriage certificate). If you have any doubts, please contact the RCGP well BEFORE the exam date so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

    If you fail to bring the required identification documents, you will not be permitted to take the test. This causes unnecessary distress and can be avoided by planning ahead.

    Test security

    There are two sessions on each test date, morning and afternoon. To maintain the security of the test, candidates who take the test during the morning session are not permitted to leave the test area until the afternoon candidates have arrived for their test. 

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

    Non disclosure agreement

    All test items are confidential to the RCGP. You’ll be required to sign an agreement not to pass on details of any of the items used in the test.

    Results

    If you are taking the MRCGP exam, you can get your AKT results through the Trainee ePortfolio. See the 'Progress to certification' section.

    Complaints, Reviews and Appeals

    View the MRCGP Regulations and procedures for complaints, reviews, appeals and mitigating circumstances.

    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. This guidance can be found here.

    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 have a disability, you will need to declare this again to make sure appropriate adjustments are made each time.

    AKT Summary Reports

    The AKT summary reports are published by the AKT examiners after every AKT. They are intended to guide the learning of AiTs and to help trainers/training programme directors.

    AKT summary reports from the past two years:

  • August 2020 AKT Feedback Report (231 KB PDF)
  • July 2020 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • January 2020 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2019 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • May 2019 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • January 2019 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • Archived AKT Summary Reports 2007-2018

    Our AKT summary reports are designed for use by programme directors and trainers in guiding the learning of trainees, and for trainees themselves.

    Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) summary reports

  • October 2018 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • April 2018 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • January 2018 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2017 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • April 2017 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • January 2017 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2016 AKT Feedback Report [PDF] 
  • April 2016 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • January 2016 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2015 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • April 2015 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • January 2015 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2014 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • April 2014 AKT Feedback Report [PDF] 
  • January 2014 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2013 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • May 2013 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • January 2013 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • October 2012 AKT Feedback Report [PDF]
  • April 2012 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • January 2012 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • October 2011 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • May 2011 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • January 2011 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • October 2010 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • April 2010 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • January 2010 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • October 2009 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • April 2009 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • January 2009 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • October 2008 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • May 2008 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • January 2008 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • October 2007 AKT feedback report [DOC]
  • Fraser Rose Medal

    The Fraser Rose Medal is awarded annually to the candidate who, having completed all elements of MRCGP and in concluding their training before 31 August, has demonstrated outstanding performance to the MRCGP panel. The award is usually made at the RCGP’s Annual General Meeting in the following November.

    With effect from September 2019 the Assessment and Curriculum Development Committee will recommend a nomination to the RCGP’s Awards Committee in accordance with the following criteria and processes:

    1. Performance across all three elements of MRCGP will contribute to the short-listing process for possible contenders
    2. All shortlisted contenders should hold a CCT and full membership of the College
    3. Trainees re-sitting any part of the licensing tripos will be precluded from the short-listing process
    4. Five trainees will be short-listed in the first instance on the basis of their combined AKT and CSA scores
    5. The performance of these five trainees will then be rank-ordered on the basis of their WPBA including their combined MSF and PSQ scores as shown in their ePortfolios
    6. Additionally, each of these five trainees will need to have had all of their ARCP outcomes during training recorded as satisfactory, and there should be no evidence of any lack of engagement with training and/or assessment
    7. All five trainees should have an active PDP (for the purposes of revalidation it is good practice for trainees to have an ongoing PDP at the time of CCT) and show completion of the learning in a timely fashion.

    Revised September 2019

    Examination regulations

    Before applying, you should ensure that you are familiar with the relevant sections of the MRCGP examination regulations, code of conduct, and the policies relating to the examination particularly with respect to eligibility and the number of attempts permissible.

    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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