Medical Training Review Panel: thirteenth report

Medical College Examinations

Page last updated: April 2010

This section provides information on the number of vocational trainees who sat college examinations in 2008 and the number of trainees who successfully passed. The data relate to Australian trainees sitting the college or faculty examinations. Some colleges, however, also examine overseas medical practitioners wishing to practise in Australia and these numbers have been included in some tables.

Current Data

Table 4.23 presents the outcomes of final examinations in 2008. This highlights the considerable variation in the pass rates across medical specialties and even for different examinations required by colleges for a particular specialty. These differences are due, at least in part, to differing assessment processes. Further information on the requirements of each college is provided under the heading 'Training Assessment' in Appendix B.

Table 4.23: Vocational trainees sitting a final or fellowship examination: Number and proportion passing by medical specialty, 2008.
Medical specialtyExaminationTrainees sittingTrainees passingProportion passing (%)

(a) Candidates sitting the fellowship exam cannot proceed to the clinical component without having first passed the written component.
(b) Each exam sitting is separate and must be passed without reference to any previous attempts.
(c) Trainees proceeding through the AGPT program only.
(d) ACRRM assessment process does not include a final exam but rather progressive assessment, including five different assessment items across the totality of the training program.
(e) RANZCP does not have a fellowship exam.
(f) RACP (Adult Medicine and Paediatrics) does not have a fellowship exam. Trainees sit the Basic Physician Training exam.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

AnaesthesiaFellowship
228
197
86.0
Pain medicineFellowship
20
14
70.0
Dermatology(a)Fellowship Written
13
12
92.3
Fellowship Clinical
12
11
91.6
Emergency medicine(b)
114
80
70.2
General practice(c)(d)RACGP Fellowship Exam
559
510
91.2
ACRRM Fellowship Exam
50
32
64.0
Intensive careGeneral Fellowship exam
117
67
57.3
Paediatric Fellowship exam
5
4
80.0
Medical administrationOral Examination
12
10
83.3
Obstetrics and GynaecologyWritten
88
50
56.8
Oral
67
63
94.0
Occupational and Environmental medicineWritten
19
12
63.2
Practical
15
10
66.7
OpthalmologyRANZCO Advanced Clinical Exam (RACE)
35
28
80.0
PathologyPart Two Examinations
106
96
90.6
Public health medicineFinal Program Assessment
15
12
80.0
Radiation oncologyPart Two Written and Clinical Vivas
27
21
77.7
RadiodiagnosisPart Two FRANZCR Examination Written and Vivas
118
65
55.1
Rehabilitation medicineWritten
19
15
78.9
Clinical
20
13
65.0
SurgeryFellowship
254
199
78.3
Total(e)(f)
3,414
2,599
76.1

Table 4.24 presents the examination outcomes for the additional examinations that are required as part of some college training programs. The data presented in this table and Table 4.25 is for Australian trainees only.

Table 4.24: Vocational trainees undertaking additional examinations: Number and proportion passing by medical specialty, 2008
Medical specialtyExaminationTimeheldTrainees sittingTrainees passingProportion passing (%)

(a) Candidates must pass the Written Examination prior to sitting the Clinical Examination. Candidates are required to successfully complete the Clinical Examination within a period of 59 months (five years) of passing the Written Examination. Candidates who do not pass the Clinical Examination within this period must again undertake and pass the Written Examination.
(b) Candidates may sit one or both subjects, but do not pass the Primary Examination until both subjects are successfully completed.
(c) For the ACEM Primary Exam, candidates may attempt subjects not yet passed in any order at any examination until all subjects have been cumulatively passed.
(d) This represents overall passes in eight ophthalmic sciences subjects.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Adult medicine(a)Written
603
422
70.0
Clinical
515
391
75.9
Anaesthesia(b)Part One PharmacologyFeb/April & July/Sept
Writtens 266
177
Orals 214
PhysiologyFeb/April & July/Sept
Writtens 141
173
60.0
Orals 202
DermatologyClinical sciencesMay & Nov
23
23
100.0
PharmacologyMay & Nov
25
25
100.0
Emergency medicine(c)Primary - AnatomyApril & Sept
268
186
69.4
Primary - PathologyApril & Sept
300
243
81.0
Primary- PhysiologyApril & Sept
301
223
74.1
Primary - PharmacologyApril & Sept
309
237
76.7
Intensive carePart OneApril & Nov
6
4
66.7
OphthalmologyOphthalmic Sciences(d)
2
25
24
96.0
Ophthalmic Basic
2
31
30
97.0
Competencies and Knowledge (OBCK)
Advanced Pathology
2
31
29
94.0
PaediatricsWritten
209
143
68.4
Clinical
174
130
74.7
PathologyBasic pathology sciences
125
109
87.2
Part One
107
74
69.2
Psychiatry: Basic trainingCase Histories
4
255
197
77.3
Written
2
202
145
71.8
Clinical
2
165
110
66.7
Public health medicinePart OneOctober
2
1
50.0
Radiation oncologyPart One
39
24
61.5
RadiodiagnosisPart OneTwice yearly
100
82
82.0
SurgeryBasic Sciences
2
52
39
75.0
Clinical Exam
2
177
164
92.7
Surgical Science Exam (Generic)
2
104
96
92.3
Surgical Science (Specialty Specific)
2
72
40
55.6

Trends

Table 4.25 presents details of the trend in college final examination outcomes over the period 2004–2008. This highlights the considerable variation in the pass rates across years for some medical specialties. This data should be interpreted cautiously, due to the various college training requirements and changes to these across the years and also due to relatively small numbers for some specialties.

Table 4.25 Proportion of vocational trainees sitting a final or fellowship examination who passed by medical speciality, 2004-2008
Medical specialtyExamination20042005200620072008
Proportion passing (%)

(a) Final or fellowships exam only.
(b) No fellowship exam; the basic training examination comprise two case histories, a written and a clinical examination.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Adult medicineWritten
72.9
70.4
72.7
67.1
..
Clinical
63.3
70.9
73.7
73.2
..
Anaesthesia
78.0
85.0
86.3
86.0
86.0
Pain medicine
..
79.2
70.0
100.0
70.0
Dermatology
(a)85.7
(a)68.4
..
..
..
Written
..
..
78.3
79.2
92.3
Clinical
..
..
77.8
100.0
91.6
Emergency medicine
79.8
65.2
72.2
69.4
70.2
General practice
81.5
85.4
85.3
88.2
91.2
Intensive care
(a)60.4
(a)40.5
(a)66.2
..
..
General
..
..
..
61.7
57.0
Paediatric
..
..
..
60.0
80.0
Medical administration
93.8
57.1
64.3
73.3
83.3
Obstetrics and GynaecologyWritten
76.3
55.3
65.2
63.9
56.8
Oral
93.0
71.4
91.1
62.1
94.0
Occupational and Environmental medicineWritten
57.1
40.9
50.0
40.7
63.2
Oral
83.3
47.4
..
..
..
Practical
..
..
67.9
45.5
66.7
OphthalmologyWritten
97.0
77.0
..
..
..
Advanced pathology
97.0
76.9
..
..
..
Clinical
90.5
52.9
100.0
82.8
80.0
PaediatricsWritten
66.9
68.2
69.7
67.3
..
Clinical
57.4
69.7
74.7
70.0
..
Pathology
100.0
85.7
98.5
92.9
90.6
Psychiatry(b)
71.0
47.2
..
..
..
Public health medicine
80.0
50.0
78.9
50.0
80.0
Radiation oncology
83.3
74.1
77.3
78.9
77.7
Radiodiagnosis
61.0
71.2
58.4
51.3
55.1
Rehabilitation medicine
68.6
52.5
..
..
..
Written
..
..
75.8
67.7
78.9
Clinical
..
..
..
79.1
65.0
Oral
..
..
37.5
..
..
Surgery
78.4
87.1
82.4
80.7
78.3