I was due to begin Advanced Training in the middle of the year pending passing the Divisional Clinical Exam. How will my training be affected?
You can still progress to AT in the middle of the year if you:
- completed all other BT requirements, including passing the Divisional Written Examination AND
- secured an AT position that starts after the date you would have sat the clinical exam in 2020 (this position must be in an accredited AT setting, approved by the relevant AT Committee) AND
- plan to sit the rescheduled 2020 DCE in late 2020/early 2021
For Basic Trainees currently on the Training Support Pathway:
- all of the above conditions must be met AND
- your current supervising committee must recommend advancing to provisional AT
Read our guidance on provisional Advanced Training.
Will there be provisions made for trainees who won’t be able to sit the postponed Clinical Exam?
If you’re approved for pAT, you must sit the exam on the postponed date for the 2020 cohort in late 2020/early 2021. You’ll be able to re-sit the exam later in 2021 if you don’t pass.
If you're not applying for or in pAT, but were eligible to sit the 2020 DCE, you’re encouraged to sit the first DCE in late 2020/early 2021. Alternatively, you can choose to wait and sit later in the year with the 2021 cohort instead.
What happens if I provisionally move to Advanced Training but don’t pass the postponed Clinical Exam?
Any training provisionally approved as 'conditional upon passing the Clinical Examination' will not be accepted as Advanced Training.
Please refer to the pAT guidelines for more information.
Are there proposed dates for the rescheduled exams? Will there be 2 of each exam in 2021?
Dates are now available in the DCE guide. There will be two offerings of the exam – one in late 2020/early 2021 for the postponed 2020 cohort, and the second in mid-2021 for the 2021 cohort. If you fail the 2020 exam, you’ll be able to re-sit the DCE later in the year with the 2021 exam cohort, exam attempts limits allowing.
With the postponement of exams, is there still a deadline to register and pay for exams?
Registrations will open in August 2020 for the postponed 2020 DCE. For more information, see the DCE guide.
Which exams have been cancelled or postponed?
Most exams have been postponed until late 2020/2021.
We’re looking at the timing and format of exams for next year and making contingency plans in case the pandemic continues into 2021. We’ll give you at least 3 months’ notice of the new exam dates.
Will you provide additional learning resources to help me prepare for the Divisional Clinical Examination, since my hospital-based teaching sessions are disrupted?
The College Learning Series and other learning resources are available on our Online Learning Resources hub. Use these as part of your exam preparation.
Additional online resources are currently being developed and will be published as soon as possible.
I've heard there won’t be enough Divisional Clinical Exam places for all candidates in 2021 and there will be a ballot for places 2021. Is this true?
There will not be a ballot for places. We plan for all eligible candidates to be able to sit the DCE in 2021.
How does postponing exams impact the 2021 Divisional Written Examination and rollout of computer-based testing?
There are currently no impacts on the Divisional Written Exam or the announced re-introduction of computer-based testing. We are developing contingency plans for the DWE should social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions still be in place in February 2021.
The College previously advised the exam would be held in 2021. It is now being held in 2020 and I am unable to attend on the dates allocated to me due to planned commitments. Can I sit on another date?
We apologise for the change in dates. The dates have been selected based on large-scale consultation and the evolving COVID-19 situation.
If you have previous commitments during the new exam window, contact us when you register to sit the DCE and advise us of the dates you’re unable to attend.
If you’ve decided to remain in Basic Training for the next clinical year you can choose to sit the exam later in 2021 with the 2021 cohort. If you’ve applied for or already entered pAT, you will need to sit the exam in late 2020/early 2021.
What happens if a patient doesn’t show up or the video conferencing software doesn’t work during the Long Cases?
We’re finalising the arrangements for the Long Cases with the Clinical Examination Committees, including backup plans in case there are technology issues. If patients don’t pick up a call, reserve patients will be available like in previous DCEs.
Why has the College decided to change the DCE format?
We’ve consulted with health departments and hospital sites and with the current COVID-19 restrictions they want changes made to reduce the public health risks related to the exam. Changes include reducing:
- face-to-face interactions with patients
- patients coming into hospitals for non-clinical reasons
- interstate travel undertaken by our candidates and examiners
We’ve evaluated using technology and increasing exam capacity for a number of years. The new modular format will support this.
The new model also gives us increased flexibility over when the Long Cases can be held. It makes running the Short Cases easier since they’re no longer required to be held on the same day as the Long Cases and fewer patients are required to attend.
With the expected ongoing impacts of COVID-19, moving to video conferencing also means examiners, patients and potentially candidates can participate even if they must go into quarantine at short notice.
Will the splitting of the Long and Short Cases make it easier to pass the exam or change the pass rate?
You’re assessed based on meeting the expected standard rather than how you perform in comparison to other candidates. Your performance is rated using the CLEAR scoring rubric. As the exam format and scoring criteria have not changed, the standard and pass rate aren’t expected to change.
Will the 2020 DCE count towards my official exam attempts?
If you’re unsuccessful in the postponed 2020 exam, it will not be counted as an official exam attempt. This has been approved by the College Education Committee in recognition of the disruptions many trainees have faced in their training and exam preparation this year.
This currently applies only if you sit the postponed 2020 exam on its rescheduled dates, not if you choose to sit the exam later.
This decision applies to Australia and New Zealand.
What happens if there is a second or third wave of COVID-19 in Australia and/or Aotearoa New Zealand and the DCE can no longer go ahead? Will it get postponed again?
Contingency planning for this scenario is underway for the COVID-19 Examinations Advisory Group to review. Further updates will be provided when available.
What happens if the DCE can go ahead in one state, territory or district but cannot go ahead in others due to different COVID-19 restriction levels and impacts?
This scenario is with the COVID-19 Examinations Advisory Group for discussion. We will provide further details when available.