Statement from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Board: Basic Training Written Divisional Exam

Trainee physicians sitting the Basic Training Written Divisional Exam will be refunded their full exam fees, following the cancellation of the computer based test last week.

The Board of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) met last night to consider measures to help support the 1,200 trainees across Australia and New Zealand who will be resitting a new paper based exam.

RACP President Dr Catherine Yelland said the College had been focused on finding the best ways to support trainees in the lead up to the new exam.

“We have been speaking directly with trainees, the Directors of Physician Education and health administrators to support trainees as they prepare for the new exam,” Dr Yelland said.

“We have also been in close discussion with our ​computer based exam provider Pearson Vue to understand why the computer system shut down and to negotiate a full exam fee refund for trainees.

“Our focus now is on getting trainees through the paper-based exam this Friday.”

The RACP Board resolved that:

  • After discussions with Pearson Vue, and Pearson Vue’s agreement to refund the exam fee, trainees will be refunded the full fees paid for this year’s exam. 
  • Trainees will not be charged for attempting the resit exam scheduled for this Friday, or the alternative resit date on 23 March that will be organised for trainees who are unavailable this Friday.
  • Trainees may attend the resit exam or the alternative resit exam, but not both.

If a trainee does not pass the resit or alternative resit exam, it will not be counted as one of three attempts at the examination that trainees are allowed.

Last week, the RACP requested an explanation from Pearson Vue detailing the cause of the exam computer shut down. Pearson Vue’s preliminary view was that it related to human error in the quality assurance phase of the exam set up.

The Board has requested an inquiry be conducted in relation to the exam computer shut down including the responses of the College and Pearson Vue. 

Questions in the paper-based exam are of the same standard as the questions that were used for the computer-based exam and have been validated by the Examinations Committee.

The paper based exam will be administered by a trusted provider that has previously hosted the paper exam.

Questions from the computer based exam on Monday, 19 February 2018 have been released to all candidates to ensure no one is placed at a disadvantage. Further information is available on the RACP website at

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