The MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) examination has recently been made harder – the pass standard was increased after the January 2010 exam, leading to the lowest pass rate so far – 73% passed the exam in January (compared to a long term average of 79% passing). The secret to passing the exam is effective preparation. Here are some revision tips to help you pass the exam:
- Plan your preparation – to cover the syllabus for this exam while also working will take most doctors 2-3 months revision. Make sure you allow enough time to cover everything properly.
- Remember the boring stuff – registrars tend to do less well at the organisational and evidence interpretation questions than in the clinical medicine questions. These areas include questions on statistics, types of study, interpreting graphs and charts, practice management, medico legal issues, DVLA guidelines and certification. 20% of the marks come from these areas, and although they may be boring to study, they offer relatively easy marks.
- Break your revision into bite sized chunks – after about an hour, your concentration and recall drops dramatically, so you will retain more by revising in multiple short sessions with breaks in between rather than a few longer sessions.
- Focus on your weak areas – doctors often enjoy attempting questions on topics they are good at, as they feel good when they get a high score. You should avoid this and instead spend more time in areas that you are NOT so confident on; as these are the subjects you are more likely to lose marks in.
- Mix reading with practice – a good way to cement your learning and be sure that you can apply what you have read is to do a mixture of reading around core topics and practice sample AKT questions. Ideally you should practice questions to time, as the pace in the real exam is very fast – you have to answer around 200 questions in 3 hours – this is less than 1 minute for each question!
The AKT is a challenging examination, but it is also fair. Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to a pass. Remember – if you fail to prepare, you should prepare to fail! Dr Mahibur Rahman is the medical director of Emedica. He is a portfolio GP and a consultant in Medical Education. He has taught extensively on MRCGP and GP careers courses, as well as teaching GP trainers. Details of the Emedica AKT Preparation course are available at http://courses.emedica.co.uk/acatalog/nMRCGP_AKT_Preparation.html Emedica Alumni are entitled to a £20 discount – use this code when booking – alumniakt2010