I was due to begin AT in the middle of 2020 pending passing the DCE. How will my training be affected?
In 2020, you were allowed to progress to provisional AT (pAT) 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 pAT
Will there be provisions made for trainees who won’t be able to sit the postponed DCE?
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 AT but don’t pass the postponed DCE?
Any training provisionally approved as 'conditional upon passing the Clinical Examination' will not be accepted as AT.
See the pAT guidelines for more information.
Are there proposed dates for the rescheduled exams? Will there be 2 of each exam in 2021?
DCE dates are available. There will be 2 exam offerings – 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.
Which exams have been cancelled or postponed?
Most exams have been postponed until late 2020/2021 or combined with the 2021 exam. Many exam dates are now available and we’re and making contingency plans in case the pandemic impacts exams in 2021. We’ll give you at least 3 months’ notice of any new exam dates.
Will you provide additional learning resources to help me prepare for the DCE, 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 available on the 'Prepare' tab for the Paediatrics & Child Health and Adult Medicine DCE.
I've heard there won’t be enough DCE 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 DWE and rollout of computer-based testing?
There are currently no impacts on the DWE or the announced re-introduction of computer-based testing. We developed plans for the DWE to meet social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions.
I'm unable to attend on my allocated dates. Can I sit on another date?
If you have previous commitments on your allocated exam date, contact us.
If you decided to remain in BT 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 conference or teleconference software doesn’t work during the Long Cases?
See more about the backup plans for technology issues during the DCE. If patients don’t pick up a call, reserve patients will be available like in previous DCEs.
Why has the DCE format changed?
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 teleconfernce and video conference also means examiners, patients and potentially candidates can participate even if they must go into quarantine at short notice.
Will splitting 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 Aotearoa New Zealand.
What happens if there's another wave of COVID-19 and the DCE can no longer go ahead? Will it get postponed again?
We’ve developed contingency plans for this scenario.
Our aim is that all candidates eligible to sit the 2020 DCE will be able to meet their required Basic Training assessments by the end of 2021. If this requires an alternative assessment to the current Long and/or Short Cases, a decision will be made by mid-2021. The 2020 rescheduled exam will not be delayed into 2022 or beyond.
What happens if the DCE can go ahead in one state, territory or district but not in others due to different COVID-19 restrictions?
If one or more hospitals/states/territories/districts can’t go ahead with an exam on its planned date due to COVID-19, those in unaffected areas can still go ahead on their planned date.