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Top tips for your RACGP Fellowship exams

13 Aug 12:00 by Ensure Health

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The RACGP exams are an important aspect in achieving your Fellowship in General Practice. To help you navigate the process, our team at Ensure Health have collated a comprehensive selection of tips to help you with this important part of your GP journey.

The exam basics 

 

The RACGP Fellowship exams are made up of three components:

 

1. Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) 

A 3-hour, computer-based exam in a multiple choice format which tests your knowledge.

 

2. Key Feature Problems (KFP) exam 

A 3.5-hour computer-based exam featuring GP cases with questions in multiple choice and short answer format which tests your decision-making skills.

 

3. Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE)

The OSCE is a 4 hour (approximately) exam which assesses competency based on objective testing through direct observation and role play. It is comprised of a number of stations in which examinees are expected to perform a variety of clinical tasks within a specified time period. The OSCE tests your clinical reasoning, communication skills and professional attitude.

 

Each of these exams are held twice per year. The AKT and KFP are held in February and July and the OSCE is held in May and November.

 

To ensure you’re well-equipped for what is required to both sit the exam, and in the exam situation itself, please review the resources below:


  1. RACGP Examinations Guide
  2. Eligibility, enrolment, dates and fees
  3. Additional information

 

Some general advice

 

Here are some tips of a general nature, some of which you’ve likely put to good use during your university and training years, but others that may be new to you.

 

  1. Read widely 
    All three exams test your knowledge in one form or another. A diverse reading list will yield great rewards here. Journals, textbooks, GP publications and RACGP specific documents will help, as will ensuring you’re up to speed with current guidelines.


  2. Start your exam prep early
    This is one of the most important tips we can offer. Many registrars we’ve spoken to say starting at least six months before exams was the best move they made. It allowed them to incorporate study into their work and lifestyle to avoid feeling like they were suddenly overburdened.


  3. Do the RACGP practice exams
    The RACGP offer online practice exams and they are a great way to identify knowledge gaps and put a plan in place to improve them, both through reading and during your consults. We highly recommend you do the practice exams. Of the RACGP 2019 exam cohort, almost 70% of those who did the practice exams, passed the real one. Only 35% of those who opted not to practice, passed their real exam.


  4. Attend a pre-exam course, listen to exam podcasts or watch videos
    These are all really important resources to help you grasp exam content and the way each one is structured.


  5. Consider joining a study group
    Being able to connect with others going through the same exam experience is vital, both for study purposes and emotional support. Your RTO will likely have such a group, or be able to put you in touch with one. Alternatively, there are a number of online groups such as this Facebook one for GP registrars.


  6. Time with patients
    The more patients you see, the more knowledge you’ll gain for use in your exams. Taking your time with each patient allows you to develop not just the knowledge base, but the nuances involved in clinical reasoning and communication. ​


  7. Reflect on your patient consultations
    Either during or after consults, reflect on and get advice and feedback on your investigation and management options. This ensures your continued learning. When it’s time to reproduce this in an exam situation, you’re already in the habit of doing it correctly.


  8. Read each exam question carefully  ​​
    Subtle changes in question wording between the practice exams and the real ones have caught many registrars out. That’s why it’s important to read the question properly, and answer based on only the information given, not from the answer you remember from the practice exam. 

Specific AKT tips

 

  1. Spend time on common GP presentations Knowing about the diagnosis and management of the most common GP presentations is a great way to study for the questions you’ll come across in the AKT. Accessing BEACH data might be helpful here. 

  2. Go beyond the first step in an investigation In the most recent RACGP exam cohort, examiners felt registrars struggled with being able to provide more than just the first step in an investigation or management. Understanding what might be the second-line or third-line choice demonstrates your depth of knowledge.

  3. Expand your knowledge base This exam requires you to have a wide variety of knowledge across multiple areas. The RACGP suggests you: