MRCGP exam overview

Updates for GP trainees during COVID-19

We've been updating trainees about exams and assessments during COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a run down of everything we’ve said.

Latest updates

RCGP examinations update - 11 June 2021

Here’s our latest update on future developments for RCGP examinations. We are currently working on the exam schedule for 2022 and will update you soon, says Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

RCGP examinations update - 10 May 2021

Updates on the RCA, AKT and Tier 2 visas from the RCGP Examinations team.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

AKT and RCA dates confirmed - 1 April 2021

I am pleased to announce that we have been able to finalise our exam dates for the next year, ahead of the original anticipated date of 8 April, says Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

WPBA and ARCP update - 18 January 2021

Following the release of the latest guidance, the RCGP and COGPED would like to try and address the concerns expressed by some trainees about continuing Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA) during periods of extreme pressure, says RCGP Chair Martin Marshall.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Further AKT update - 11 January 2021

Further to Friday’s email about exam arrangements during the latest national lockdowns, we wanted to give you further reassurance about the January 27 AKT exam and to stress that your safety is paramount and that it has been a priority in all our discussions about whether to go ahead, says RCGP Chair Martin Marshall.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Exams update following UK lockdowns - 8 January 2021

The New Year is already bringing new challenges and the latest national lockdowns across the UK have meant that the College has spent the last few days considering the feasibility of our MRCGP examinations and the implications for GP training, says Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

AKT update - 8 January 2021

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 we recognise that the situation continues to change rapidly. However, the 27 January 2021 AKT will go ahead for all those who feel comfortable with the current strict social distancing and hygiene procedures already in place and under daily review at Pearson VUE test centres. This is in line with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ position on postgraduate assessments.

We strongly recommend that any candidate who is unable to attend and needs to pass the AKT only in order to gain a CCT, discusses cancellation with their deanery/LETB before they do so. We are sorry that shielding candidates will be unable to access the January sitting and we also advise them to discuss this with their deanery/LETB. 

Candidates who cannot attend will be able to defer their sitting at no additional cost. We will provide a further update in the event that contingency exam dates are needed.

Updated guidance and clarifications for the RCA - 16 December 2020

From September 2020 additional guidance was issued on the RCA website and circulated to you all. Feedback from candidates at the November sitting has helped us to further develop this guidance to the mandatory requirements, says Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development.

This message was also emailed to all ST3 AiTs.

Specific Learning Disability (SpLD) assessments during COVID-19 - 8 October 2020

Disability assessors may do new SpLD assessments remotely due to COVID-19 social distancing measures. It's acknowledged that remote assessments may not give an accurate diagnosis of a SpLD. For this reason, we will treat remote assessment outcomes with caution and on a case-by-case basis. We will accept preliminary findings and recommendations from remote assessments for AKT exam sittings.

Requirements that were suggested guidance for the emergency summer exam diets are now becoming mandatory - 15 September 2020

The refreshed guidance, which will be published shortly, has been developed with the full collaboration of COGPED and incorporates feedback from trainees who took the RCA exam in the summer, says Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development. These criteria are available on the College website.

This message was also emailed to all ST3 AiTs.

Insufficient evidence (low challenge) cases in the RCA - 5 September 2020

In selecting consultations for the RCA, it is important to choose cases which allow a candidate to demonstrate the appropriate professional capabilities. Some concerns have been raised over the submission of ‘low challenge’ cases in the initial diet of the RCA. Of 14,521 cases in the July diet of the RCA, 16.5% of cases were flagged by at least one examiner as low challenge.

Update on future sittings of the RCA - 12 August 2020

With the July RCA complete, and the August diet soon to conclude, I am pleased to now be able to share further clarity around timings for the RCA in November, and to confirm further sittings of the RCA for next year, says Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development.

This message was also emailed to all ST3 AiTs.

Update to WPBA and ARCP requirements - 23 July 2020

From 5 August 2020, the requirements for WPBA will change from the interim requirements currently in place.

Guidance on these changes has been developed by the RCGP and COGPED, as follows:

  • Download the WPBA guidance from 5 August 2020, WPBA expectations for ST3 trainees with a CCT date after 5 August 2020, and for all other trainees with an ARCP date after 5 August 2020 (195 KB PDF), RCGP and COGPED.
  • Download the guidance with ARCP FAQs (631 KB PDF) from 5 August 2020, RCGP and COGPED, 16 July 2020.

Learn more about guidance on: Transition arrangements: Introduction of new Portfolio and new programme of WPBA.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Thank you from your College - 14 July 2020

I am writing to thank you for the commitment that you, and your colleagues in training, have demonstrated over the past four months, says Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Update on the booking process for the Applied Knowledge Test - 2 July 2020

An update on the booking process for the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) in August, and confirmation for further sittings of the AKT in October 2020 and January 2021. These dates are available on the College website.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Timings for the Recorded Consultation Assessment - 26 June 2020

An update with clarity around timings for the Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA) in August, and confirmation for a further sitting of the RCA in November 2020. These dates are available on the College website.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs. 

Updates for trainees on the Applied Knowledge Test and the Workplace Based Assessment - 10 June 2020

Extract: For the August sitting of the AKT, I can now confirm the following dates:

  • Application window: 7-10 July
  • AKT exam: 19 August
  • Results published: 8 September

Additionally, we are aware that Trainees and GP Educators are keen to know what the requirements for WPBA post-August 2020 will be. The RCGP and COGPED have produced a guidance document on this area, that can be found on the College website.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Booking details for new Recorded Consultation Assessment - 4 June 2020

Extract: Following on from my emails to you earlier this week, I am now pleased to be able to share some further key dates for the July sitting of the Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA). These dates are available on the College website.

Please note that all dates may be subject to change and that appropriate notice of any changes will be given at the earliest opportunity.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Update for trainees on fees for new Recorded Consultation Assessment - 3 June 2020

The booking window for the July sitting of the RCA will open on 11 June and the national Statutory Education Boards that oversee GP training will be implementing a prioritisation system to ensure that those who are due to complete training at the beginning of August have the opportunity to complete their training programme on schedule.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Providing clarity to trainees around the Recorded Consultation Assessment - 1 June 2020

We've received a lot of queries from trainees as to how long the RCA will run. Due to the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, it’s impossible for us to give an exact ‘end date’ for the RCA. We are, however, keen to provide as much clarity as possible.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

This week's COVID-19 update from your College Chair - 22 May 2020

The temporary new assessment to replace the Clinical Skills Assessment, calls for a clear testing plan, and GPs delivering care in residential homes are discussed by RCGP Chair Professor Martin Marshall in his weekly review.

This message was sent to all members.

Recorded Consultation Assessment candidate handbook and exam policy update - 22 May 2020

Today, we are publishing our new candidate handbook and examination policy, which we hope you will find useful in explaining the main changes and requirements for the MRCGP, brought about as a result of the pandemic. 

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

Recorded Consultation Assessment offered in place of the CSA during the disruption caused by COVID-19 - 19 May 2020

We are now in a position to begin to share details of the Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA), which will be offered in place of the CSA during the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

New guidance on Workplace Based Assessment for ST3s during COVID-19. Email to all AITs from Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair, Professional Development - 14 May 2020

Extract: We know many of you have been waiting for this and would like to thank you for your patience while it was developed and agreed. The guidance also contains an FAQ section, which should hopefully answer any queries you may have on this area.">

Recorded Consultation Assessment July 2020 Frequently asked questions (116 KB PDF)

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

New guidance on Workplace Based Assessment for ST3s during COVID-19. Email to all AITs from Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair, Professional Development - 14 May 2020

Extract: We know many of you have been waiting for this and would like to thank you for your patience while it was developed and agreed. The guidance also contains an FAQ section, which should hopefully answer any queries you may have on this area."> Recorded Consultation Assessment July 2020 Frequently asked questions (116 KB PDF)

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

New guidance on Workplace Based Assessment for ST3s during COVID-19. Email to all AITs from Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair, Professional Development - 14 May 2020

Recorded Consultation Assessment July 2020 Frequently asked questions (116 KB PDF)

This message was also emailed to all AiTs.

New guidance on Workplace Based Assessment for ST3s during COVID-19. Email to all AITs from Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair, Professional Development - 14 May 2020

Extract: Applied Knowledge Test exams 2020 update - 12 May 2020

Pearson VUE are working with the RCGP exams team and have been granted special permission to open some test centres safely for medical key workers such as qualifying GP trainees (and paramedics). In the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic this will mean reduced test centre occupancy, adherence to strict social distancing rules and more time required to check candidates in.

Response of GPs and our teams to COVID-19 has been well recognised - 7 May 2020

Yesterday, we announced that a 'recorded assessment' will be used to assess the clinical skills of this cohort of trainees, rather than the usual CSA exam. This is a temporary and pragmatic measure to get us through the pandemic and ensure that as many ST3s can join the general practice workforce as planned.

Important announcement on completion of GP training for ST3s - 6 May 2020

The College has issued a joint statement with the major health, education and regulatory bodies involved in GP training and assessment across the UK on new arrangements that will enable ST3s to complete their training this summer, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

This message was also emailed to all AITs.

Giving evidence to House of Commons Health Select Committee during COVID-19 - 1 May 2020

Concerns around the future of our ST3 trainees who have had their training suspended as a direct result of the pandemic were also raised at the Committee. Earlier this week, I wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Jo Churchill, the Primary Care Minister for England, and various MPs to explain our current position.

This message was also emailed to all members.

RCGP Chair at the Health and Social Care Committee to give evidence on COVID-19 - 1 May 2020

Professor Martin Marshall, RCGP Chair gave evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care select committee. The session explored how to continue delivering crucial patient services during and after #COVID19.

GP Training COVID-19 Update email to all AITs from Professor Martin Marshall - 29 April 2020

Extract: "Tonight, I will be joining a meeting of our Associates in Training Committee to discuss the College’s current position and the work that is currently underway. Committee Chair Anthony James has been part of our discussions and decision-making on this issue, but this will be an opportunity to hear and take questions from the wider group of your representatives at all stages of training."

Has our wellbeing taken a backseat during this crisis? - 24 April 2020

As I wrote last week, the College Officers and I are in daily dialogue with the many organisations involved in the delivery and assessment of GP training to try and reach a speedy solution that will support our trainees without compromising patient safety.

This message was also emailed to all members.

Email to all AITs from Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair, Professional Development - 23 April 2020

Extract: "We are working collaboratively to find a solution and were able to identify a number of options which will enable trainees to be assessed while meeting the necessary regulatory requirements, and which we will now develop further.

I want you to be assured that we are approaching this with an open mind and that our aim is to provide ST3s with a choice in how you complete your training. The College will do everything we can to make sure that this decision is not made for you, but made with you..."

I will keep you updated as things progress and thank you again for your patience and professionalism during what I know is an exceptionally difficult time for you.

Email to all AITs from Prof. Martin Marshall Chair of Council Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair, Professional Development - 23 April 2020

Extract: "The College is considering all possible options for managing the assessment of training, including expediting the required assessments, so that they can be delivered as soon as government social distancing restrictions allow, looking at ways that the MRCGP could be modified or adapted in order to reflect the realities of your current situation and the impact it has had on your training, and exploring what flexibility we can apply to the assessment of standards, while continuing to ensure patient safety...."

#RCGPTogether during COVID-19, Dr Anthony James - 15 April 2020

RCGP AiT Chair Anthony James discusses the importance of finding community and dealing with uncertainty in challenging times as part of our #RCGPTogether campaign.

What impact is COVID-19 having on trainee GPs? - 9 April 2020

Dr. Anthony James and Dr. Michael Mullholland (RCGP Vice Chair for Professional Development) discuss the impact of coronavirus pandemic on trainee GPs wanting to sit exams (CSA and AKT). How can trainees progress?

Email to all AITs from Dr Michael Mulholland, Vice Chair, Professional Development and Dr MeiLing Denney, Chief Examiner - 27 March 2020

Extract: "The RCGP understands the immense pressure that you, as well as your trainers, are under right now, and that you will be facing clinical and professional challenges for which you may not feel prepared. We're devoting every effort into working with your deaneries to ensure that your training and exam preparation remains a priority. To support you at this challenging and difficult time the College is creating a range of resources to help all primary care clinicians to manage the challenges created by Covid-19 and we would encourage you to look at these for guidance and advice..."

COVID-19 Member Forum for AiTs - email from Amanda Howe RCGP President - 24 March 2020

Extract: "To keep you connected, up to date and on the pulse with the latest around COVID-19, we have created a new members forum. On the forum you can ask questions, discuss and share hints and tips, practical and useful resources and the latest info on COVID-19, but you can also use the space to connect with other GPs right across the UK..."

Updates on assessments

Applied Knowledge Test

Find out 2021-22 AKT exam and application dates

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.

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.


Contact our exams team

The examinations team are available for calls between 10am and 4pm, and continually monitor emails within business working hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).

You can also check our exam specific FAQs where you may be able to find an answer to your query. 

We appreciate and understand that trainees are currently working in very challenging circumstances, and your continued commitment and engagement during the pandemic are a credit to our profession and to your patients. The examinations team are also working under pressure at this time, and we ask you to bear this in mind when calling or emailing us.

Thank you for your continued patience and courtesy.

Email: exams@rcgp.org.uk

Tel: 020 3188 7660

Accessibility

If you have any problems accessing the information on these webpages, please email accessibilty@rcgp.org.uk.

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