The exam tests your knowledge and understanding of important issues as set out in the Public Health Medicine Advanced Training Curriculum (PDF). You must demonstrate your ability to:
- interpret information
- analyse situations in a systematic way
- present a coherent argument in a face-to-face situation
The exam is presentation-based. It provides an opportunity for you to present your knowledge and reasoning and for the examiners to explore your responses in greater depth through follow-up questions, probes and seeking detailed responses. It also helps eliminate misunderstanding by allowing clarification of questions and answers.
The exam consists of 8 questions split into 2, 30-minute sessions. Each panel has a separate set of 3 examiners and addresses 4 questions. Questions 1-4 are addressed in the first panel and 5-8 in the second panel. You can answer each set of 4 questions in any order you wish.
The questions will generally describe realistic public health scenarios. You’re expected to demonstrate how you would respond in a practical sense. Usually there will be 1, or at most 2, key concepts at the heart of scenario questions, for example (but not limited to) evaluation, health promotion or risk management. You do not need to state the particular framework you wish to answer with, but rather to apply it to the context of the question.
Indigenous health questions
Questions regarding Indigenous health will use terminology like ‘First Nation people’ or ‘Indigenous people’.
Interpret these terms based on the country (Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand) where you completed your training. For example, if you completed your training in Aotearoa New Zealand, answer the question in relation to Māori people.
You’re responsible for managing your response time throughout each 30-minute session. You control how much time you allocate to each question response, based on your 60-minute reading and preparation time. Although there is an average of 7.5 minutes per question, you may choose to spend less time on a question in favour of another question where you’re more knowledgeable.
The examiners ensure you get 30 minutes for each session. They may also pause you for a few moments, at the end of each question, to finish their notes before you move onto the next question.
Clocks are provided in every room. You may bring your own basic timing device.
Follow-up questions and prompts
A series of generic follow-up questions and prompts has been developed specifically for this exam. For example:
- Could you explain that in a little more detail?
- What might be the effect of that course of action?
Examiners could prompt you with these types of questions if you haven’t addressed key parts of a question or you need to broaden the scope of your answer. However, do not rely on the examiners to steer your responses.
If there is additional time at the end of the 30 minutes, examiners ask if you wish to add anything further to any of your responses before wrapping up the session.
Some actions are seen as attempting to gain an unfair advantage. For example, attempts to:
- contact potential examiners and seek guidance on improving performance
- contact examiners on exam day
- contact examiners post-exam to get feedback on your performance
These actions are a breach of the Academic Integrity in Training Policy, could lead to your disqualification and affect your progress through training.
You’re required to sign an Annual Participant Agreement (confidentiality agreement) before taking the exam. This is emailed to you after you pay your exam fees.
If your supervisor is an examiner, they must declare a conflict of interest and direct you to an alternative supervisor for exam guidance.
Contact us with questions.
RACP Support Program
Preparing for exams can be stressful. Reach out to the RACP Support Program for free, 24/7, completely confidential support. Make an appointment or speak with a consultant on 1300 687 327 (Australia) or 0800 666 367 (Aotearoa New Zealand).