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How to succeed in the new Applied Knowledge Test

Registrars will sit the first ever AKT exam in two weeks time. Examiner, Dr Alvin Bodner advises how to tackle it

Registrars will sit the first ever AKT exam in two weeks time. Examiner, Dr Alvin Bodner advises how to tackle it

The new applied knowledge test (AKT) is one of the three component of the new MRCGP exam and is an innovative computer based examination .The first ever exam will take place later this month and the computer technology has now been trialled by a group of college examiners and is still to some extent being modified and developed.

The test will run three times a year (Oct/Nov, Feb, and april/May)) and after registering with the RCGP, applicants will be given the test cewntre number to book their preferred date and venue. The exam is run in one of the 150 Pearson Vue test centres scattered across the country. Some of you may have already visited one of these centres as they are also used for driving test theory exams. Be sure to locate your nearest Pearson VUE centre.

The booking will be confirmed by email

On the day

• Allow plenty of time to get to the centre, making allowances for traffic congestion and car parking. You are required to arrive at least 30 minutes before taking the exam to allow staff to check your credentials and to allow time for you to familiarise yourself with the computer

• There will be two sittings of the AKT on the test day. If you are taking the AKT in the morning you will not be allowed to leave the exam early as there is a quarantine period at lunch time. If you have an afternoon booking you will have to arrive on time – if you are late and the morning candidates have already left you will not be allowed to take the exam.

• You will be required to produce photo ID such as a valid passport and one other item of identity containing a personal signature. A current credit card will be sufficient . Be sure your personal details are up to date and that the details that you submit on your initial application to the RCGP match exactly with those of the credentials you present on the day of your test. Do check, for example, that your personal circumstances have not altered such as change of address or surname (if you have recently got married). If there are any discrepancies you may well be refused entry to the examination.

• You will be asked not to take any form of electronic equipment or mobile phone into the exam. You will be given a locker with key in which you will be required to place these items and other personal belongings including your coat and jacket and valuables. You will not be allowed to take food or drink into the computer room

• You will be shown through to the exam room. This contains a large number of computer terminals set in cubicles You will be given a practice run of a few sample questions prior to the start of the exam to enable you to become familiar with the software and when you are ready you can click on ‘start' to commence the examination. For more practical advice on the exam, see the box below.

About the Exam

The new exam, like its predecessor takes the form of a three hour, 200 item multiple choice test covering a broad spread of clinical areas including medicine, surgery, women's health, child health and psychiatry. The questions are very practical and cover areas found in common daily general practice The exam also tests knowledge about practice administration as well as critical appraisal and simple research methodology, so reading in these areas is important as marks can be acquired quickly if candidates are well informed

The format is similar to the previous old MRCGP multiple choice examination. It tests a range of knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge to practical problems presented The question formats are as follows :

• Single best answer

• algorithm/table completion

• extended matching question. Candidates are presented with stem information and required to pick the most likely answer from a number of alternatives. Be sure to scroll down ALL the possible answers of each question before clicking on your answer

• picture graphics and algorithms are included and then it is simply a matter of clicking on the most appropriate answer

The exam software is user friendly and allows candidate to annotate when they have not answered a question and to return to a summary page of all the answered questions at the end of the exam so that unanswered questions can be reviewed once more.

Good luck!

Dr Alvin Bodner is an MRCGP examiner and a GP in Rochdale

practical tips practical tips

Preparing for the exam is straightforward but remember:
• If you need to cancel or reschedule your exam let the centre know as soon possible as the centres become booked up very quickly
• Keep a look out on the College website for information about the exam and also Pearson vue website .There is a link to a practice tutorial on the Pearson VUE website site which helps candidate to navigate around the process• Purchase the familiar commercially available practice exam papers and practice answering the questions under timed examination conditions. This is the best way of preparing for this examination
• During the exam, time moves quickly so watch the icon clock on the display page If in doubt, move on quickly to the next question and come back to difficult questions later. Try to complete the whole test in the time available

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