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RACGP – How many Fellowship Exam Attempts can you take ?

Important Notice:

  • All exam candidates who are eligible to sit the Clinical Examination (ie the RCE or CCE) in 2020 or 2021 will automatically be granted an additional exam semester;
  • All exam candidates who were affected by the cancellation of the 2020.2 AKT and KFP (ie who had a valid enrolment for either or both of those exams as of 9am AEDT Friday 9 October 2020) will automatically be granted an additional exam semester;
  • All exam candidates who meet both of the above will automatically be granted a total of two additional exam semesters.

For further information, please contact [email protected].


1. Purpose

1.1 The purpose of this policy is to outline the requirements and restrictions surrounding the completion of RACGP Fellowship exams.

1.2 Context The RACGP permits candidates for Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP) to enrol in Fellowship exams over a maximum of six semesters during a maximum period of three years.

Exam semesters relate to a candidate’s candidacy, not to individual exam attempts. Candidates must pass all three of the Fellowship exam segments (AKT, KFP and Clinical Exam) within the candidate’s prescribed six exam semesters.

Candidates have the option to apply for one standard six-month suspension of their candidacy. Application for leave in excess of three years and standard six-month suspension can only be made on the basis of significant extenuating and unforeseen circumstances, or other leave provisions as detailed in this policy.


2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to all candidates attempting Fellowship exams from 1 January 2019.

2.2 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Assessments and Examinations Candidate Handbook and Fellowship Exam Attempts: FAQs.

2.3 This policy replaces the previous Fellowship Exam Attempts Policy and will come into effect as of 13th September 2021.


3. General Principles

3.1 Exam attempts

  1. Candidates may enrol in exams in a maximum of six semesters in total.
  2. Candidates must complete all exams within three years of the commencement of their candidacy, excluding approved suspensions.
    1. Candidates must adhere to their individual pathway exam eligibility and Requirements for Fellowship policies. For the individual policies, please see the Fellowship Pathways Policy Framework.
  3. Candidacy commences when a candidate enrols and sits their first exam. If a candidate enrols but then fails to sit the exam due to an unsanctioned withdrawal this will be deemed to be the beginning of their candidacy period. Any Fellowship exam passed during the candidacy remains valid for the duration of exam candidacy.
  4. If a candidate does not pass all three exam segments by the end of their candidacy, they will be ineligible for Fellowship.
  5. The RACGP records the start and end dates of each candidate’s candidacy and will make these dates available to the candidate through the RACGP website.

3.2 Suspension of exam candidacy

  1. One standard six-month suspension of candidacy is available to candidates upon request to the RACGP. This standard suspension may be undertaken at any time during the period of candidacy and is at the candidate’s discretion.
  2. Candidates can request suspensions at any time during candidacy until a candidate has sat an exam in their final semester.
  3. The RACGP will suspend the candidacy of a GP in Training (GPiT) in an RACGP-approved program until they have met the exam eligibility requirements of the respective pathway.
  4. The RACGP may permit non-standard suspension periods in significant extenuating and unforeseen circumstances. Approval of any additional suspension periods is at the RACGP’s discretion.
  5. Candidates may not sit exams which occur during suspension periods.


4. Transitional Arrangements

4.1 Existing exam pass results will remain valid in accord with the exam candidate handbook that was in place at the time of the first pass.

  1. If an exam pass predating 1 January 2019 expires within a candidate’s three-year period of candidacy post 2019.1, the candidate must re-sit and pass the expired exam within their period of candidacy to be eligible for Fellowship.

4.2 Exam attempts before 1 January 2019 do not count towards the total number of exam attempts permitted under this policy.

4.3 A suspension of candidacy does not suspend or extend the three-year validity of any exam pass obtained prior to candidacy commencing unless the candidate enters the PEP. The validity of previous exam passes will then be extended by the length of the candidate’s PEP program time.

4.4 From 1 January 2022, all medical practitioners who wish to commence their candidacy and attempt the Fellowship exams must have undertaken an RACGP-approved program and met all exam eligibility requirements of the respective pathway before being eligible to sit the exams.


5. Amendment of this Policy

5.1 The CIC may, without the consent of the Board, make Minor Amendments to this policy at any time.

5.2 If the CIC makes Minor Amendments, they must advise the Board of those amendments as soon as practicable.

5.3 The Board may make amendments to this policy at any time.


6. Responsibilities

RACGP Board Approval of policy and Major Amendments.
Censor-in-Chief Approve suspensions of candidacy beyond the standard six months, and for Minor Amendments.
  1. Track their candidacy period and enrol in their assessments within this period;
  2. Apply for a six-month suspension at their discretion; and
  3. provide evidence of unforeseen and exceptional circumstances should they require further suspension of their candidacy.
RACGP Record the start and end date of a candidate’s candidacy and make this available on the RACGP website.


7. Glossary

Candidacy The three-year period during which candidates may enrol in Fellowship exams.
Candidate A medical practitioner eligible to sit RACGP Fellowship exams.
Extenuating and unforeseen circumstances

Circumstances that are considered on a case-by-case basis, but must relate to circumstances which were unforeseen, outside the candidate’s control and which can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on the candidate’s ability to complete all exam segments within three years and six months, including:

  1. ill-health (other than minor illnesses) with valid certificates;
  2. carer’s leave with valid certificates;
  3. bereavement;
  4. acute adverse life circumstances;
  5. hospitalisation;
  6. Australian Defence Force deployment leave; or
  7. Other circumstances involving significant changes to a GPiT’s circumstances
Partially comparable Has the same definition as in the Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream policies, and means the participant has been assessed as suitable to undertake work in general practice in a supervised capacity and reach comparability within 24 months’ FTE practice, with a maximum time on the program of 48 months if working part time.
GP in training (GPiT)

A medical practitioner enrolled in any RACGP Approved Program before gaining Fellowship, of which there are two types:

  1. Registrars, who are currently enrolled in the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) or Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) programs
  2. Participants, who are currently enrolled in the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Standard and Specialist Streams.
RACGP-approved program

One of the following:

  1. Australian General Practice Training Program;
  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme; or
  3. RACGP Fellowship Program – Practice Experience Program (PEP).

These streams are approved specified programs listed in Division 6 of the Health Insurance Regulations 2018 (Cth) (the Regulations).

RACGP Fellowship Exams
  1. Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)
  2. Key Feature Problem (KFP)
  3. Clinical Exam, which depending on the time of sitting, is the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), Remote Clinical Exam (RCE), or Clinical Competency Exam (CCE).
Semester A six-month period during which all three exams are delivered.
Suspension of candidacy

A six-month period granted by the RACGP during which the candidate does not attempt exams.

  1. Standard suspension
    A suspension granted automatically by the RACGP available to any candidate during their candidacy.
  2. Non-standard
    As suspensions granted by the RACGP to a candidate on the provision of evidence of extenuating and unforeseen circumstances.
Unsanctioned withdrawal Withdrawal from an RACGP assessment or Fellowship exam that is not officially approved in writing by the RACGP.


8. Related Documents, Legislation and Policies


8.1 RACGP Assessments and Examinations Candidate Handbook.

8.2 Fellowship Exam Attempts: FAQs


9. Policy Review and Currency

This policy will be reviewed every three years from the last approval date, or when there is a significant change in the intent of the policy. This policy remains valid and applicable notwithstanding if it is overdue for review.

You can read the new exam policy on the RACGP website.

This content is thanks to RACGP.


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