Medical Training Review Panel: sixteenth report

Medical College Examinations

Page last updated: 09 April 2013

This section provides information on the number of Australian vocational trainees who sat college of faculty examinations in 2011 and the number of trainees who successfully passed.

Current Data

Table 4.35 presents data on the number of trainees sitting their final or fellowship examinations and highlights the considerable variation in the pass rate 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 4.35: Vocational trainees sitting a final or fellowship examination: Trainees sitting and proportion passing by medical specialty, 2011

(a) Individual attempts in Australia. Includes 4 out of 5 IMGs passing the fellowship exam.
(b) This data excludes candidates from Hong Kong and New Zealand who sat the same exam.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Medical specialtyExamination Trainees
sitting
Trainees passing Proportion passing
(%)
AnaesthesiaFellowship
229
176
76.9
Anaesthesia - Pain medicineFellowship
28
23
82.1
DermatologyFellowship Written
24
20
83.3
Fellowship Clinical
20
19
95.0
Emergency medicine
132
83
62.9
General practiceRACGP Fellowship Exam
634
553
87.2
ACRRM Fellowship Exam
MSF
88
55
62.5
MiniCEX
65
57
87.6
MCQ
96
74
77.1
StAMPS
81
35
43.2
Intensive careGeneral Fellowship exam
109
61
56.0
Paediatric Fellowship exam
10
5
50.0
Medical administrationOral Examination
(b)22
(b)8
36.4
Obstetrics and GynaecologyWritten
137
61
44.5
Oral
101
77
76.2
Occupational and Environmental medicineWritten
13
5
38.5
Practical
11
5
45.5
OphthalmologyRANZCO Advanced Examination Written
38
30
78.9
Clinical
38
31
81.6
PathologyPart II Examinations
103
93
90.3
Public health medicineFinal Program Assessment
13
7
54.0
Radiation oncologyPart II Written and Clinical Vivas
25
19
76.0
RadiodiagnosisPart II FRANZCR Examination Written and Vivas
84
64
76.2
Rehabilitation medicineWritten
26
15
58.0
Clinical
29
20
69.0
Sexual health medicineExit Assessment Interview
3
2
66.7
Sport and exercise medicineWritten
6
4
66.7
Clinical
4
4
100.0
Surgery(a)Fellowship
277
182
65.7
Total
2,446
1,788
73.1

Table 4.36 presents the examination outcomes for the additional examinations that are required as part of some college training programs. The data covers Australian trainees only.

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Table 4.36: Vocational trainees undertaking additional examinations: Numbers and proportions passing by medical specialty, 2011

(a) RACS combines IMG exam attempts with domestic SET trainees. Data excludes exam attempts done in New Zealand and overseas.
(b) Trainees passing are those who sat at least one of the Ophthalmic Sciences exams in 2011 and passed.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Medical specialtyExaminationTime heldTrainees sitting Trainees passing Proportion passing (%)
Adult medicineWritten Feb
691
475
68.7
ClinicalJuly
662
466
70.4
Anaesthesia Part I Pharmacology writtenFebruary/May and July/September
262
Part I Pharmacology oral
199
159
60.7
Physiology written
262
Physiology oral
185
140
53.4
Dermatology Clinical sciencesMay-11
2
2
100.0
PharmacologyMay-11
14
10
71.4
Clinical sciencesNov-11
2
2
100.0
PharmacologyNov-11
11
10
90.9
Emergency medicinePrimary - Anatomy
276
192
69.6
Primary - Pathology
278
215
77.3
Primary - Physiology
305
232
76.1
Primary - Pharmacology
298
246
82.6
Intensive carePart IMay and Nov
37
14
37.8
OphthalmologyOphthalmic Sciences
2
31
(b)25
(b)80.6
Ophthalmic Basic Competencies and Knowledge (OBCK)
2
29
26
89.7
Ophthalmic Pathology
2
31
30
96.8
PaediatricsWritten Feb
226
161
71.2
ClinicalJuly
234
158
67.5
PathologyBasic pathology sciencesApril
39
31
79.5
Part IMay/August
135
86
63.7
Psychiatry: Basic trainingCase Histories
247
186
75.3
Written
152
106
69.7
Clinical
218
114
52.3
Public health medicinePart 1
Radiation oncologyPart IOnce
27
23
85.2
RadiodiagnosisPart I Twice Yearly
108
89
82.4
Surgery(a)Clinical ExamMay and September
221
202
91.4
Surgical Science Exam (Generic) May and September
232
196
84.5
Surgical Science (Specialty Specific)May and September
327
203
62.1

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Trends

Table 4.37 and 4.38 provided data on the numbers passing their final or fellowship examinations and how these vary as a proportion of the total sitting each year from 2007 to 2011. Some specialties show considerable variation from one year to the next in the numbers and proportions passing each year.

This data should be interpreted cautiously, due to various college training requirements and changes to these across the years, and also due to relatively small numbers sitting examinations in some specialties.

Table 4.37: Vocational trainees who passed final or fellowship examination by medical specialty, 2007–2011

(a) Excludes IMGs.
(b) These figures are for the Training Program route only.
(c) In addition there were 27 New Zealand and 1 overseas trainee who also passed final or fellowship examination.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Medical specialtyExamination 20072008200920102011
AnaesthesiaFellowship
233
197
189
169
176
Anaesthesia - Pain medicineFellowship
17
14
20
15
23
DermatologyFellowship Written
19
12
20
18
20
Fellowship Clinical
19
11
20
16
19
Emergency medicine
68
80
73
76
83
General practice (b)RACGP Fellowship Exam
472
510
407
439
553
ACRRM Fellowship Exam
..
32
..
..
..
MSF
..
..
36
54
55
MiniCEX
..
..
37
34
57
MCQ
..
..
22
44
74
StAMPS
..
..
11
47
35
Intensive careGeneral Fellowship exam
58
67
64
62
61
Paediatric Fellowship exam
3
4
5
7
5
Medical administrationOral Examination
11
10
8
25
8
Obstetrics and GynaecologyWritten
62
50
84
95
61
Oral
41
63
69
77
77
Occupational and Environmental medicineWritten
11
12
4
3
5
Practical
10
10
5
5
5
OphthalmologyRANZCO Advanced Clinical Exam
24
28
34
17
30
PathologyPart II Examinations
91
96
98
87
93
Public health medicineFinal Program Assessment
8
12
16
9
7
Radiation oncologyPart II Written and Clinical Vivas
15
21
19
22
19
RadiodiagnosisPart II FRANZCR Examination Written and Vivas
59
65
70
61
64
Rehabilitation medicineWritten
21
15
16
21
15
Clinical
34
13
16
20
20
Sexual health medicine
..
..
..
..
2
Sport and exercise medicine
8
2
1
4
4
Surgery(a)Fellowship
176
199
197
(c)165
178

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Table 4.38: Proportion of vocational trainees sitting a final or fellowship examination who passed by medical specialty, 2007–2011

(a) Excludes IMGs.
(b) These figures are for the Training Program route only.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Medical specialtyExamination20072008200920102011
Proportion passing (%)
Adult medicineWritten
67.1
69.9
66.8
68.2
68.7
Clinical
73.2
75.9
76.9
69.7
70.4
Anaesthesia
86.0
86.0
78.4
84.9
76.9
Anaesthesia - Pain medicine
100.0
70.0
83.3
78.9
82.0
DermatologyWritten
79.2
92.3
83.3
85.7
83.3
Clinical
100.0
91.6
95.2
88.9
95.0
Emergency medicine
69.4
70.2
65.8
66.1
62.9
General practice
88.2
87.9
..
..
..
(b)RACGP Fellowship Exam
..
..
87.9
92.6
87.2
ACRRM Fellowship Exam
..
..
..
..
..
- MSF
..
..
80.0
80.6
62.5
- MiniCEX
..
..
97.4
77.3
87.6
- MCQ
..
..
64.7
62.9
77.0
- StAMPS
..
..
64.7
78.3
43.2
Intensive careGeneral
61.7
57.0
55.0
56.4
56.0
Paediatric
60.0
80.0
83.0
53.8
50.0
Medical administration
73.3
83.3
70.0
86.2
36.0
Obstetrics and gynaecologyWritten
63.9
56.8
64.1
64.2
44.5
Oral
62.1
94.0
82.1
86.5
76.2
Occupational and Environmental medicineWritten
40.7
63.2
40.0
33.3
38.5
Practical
45.5
66.7
45.6
55.6
45.5
OphthalmologyWritten
..
..
..
84.0
78.9
Ophthalmic pathology
..
..
..
100.0
96.8
Clinical
82.8
80.0
70.0
76.0
81.6
Paediatrics
67.3
68.4
69.8
65.0
71.2
Clinical
70.0
75.1
72.2
67.3
67.5
Pathology
92.9
97.0
97.0
89.7
90.0
Psychiatry
na
na
na
na
na
Public health medicine
50.0
80.0
70.0
69.2
54.0
Radiation oncology
78.9
77.7
76.0
78.6
76.0
Radiodiagnosis
51.3
55.1
76.0
67.0
76.2
Rehabilitation medicineWritten
67.7
79.0
66.6
72.4
58.0
Clinical
79.1
65.0
62.5
66.7
69.0
Sexual health medicine
..
..
..
100.0
66.0
Sport and exercise

medicine

Written
88.9
66.6
100.0
44.4
66.7
Clinical
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Surgery(a)
80.7
76.5
91.6
80.9
65.7