Failed the MRCGP AKT? The common reasons for failing!

SEO blog Failed the MRCGP AKT The common reasons for failing!

The MRCGP AKT is a tricky exam, and at least 50% of exam takers have previously failed the MRCGP AKT. In the last six sittings of the MRCGP AKT, the pass rate has ranged from 64 to 70%, meaning that approximately one in three GP trainees will fail the MRCGP AKT.

The MRCGP AKT is a tricky exam, and at least 50% of exam takers have previously failed the MRCGP AKT.


In the last six sittings of the MRCGP AKT, the pass rate has ranged from 64 to 70%, meaning that approximately one in three GP trainees will fail the MRCGP AKT.


I’ve just come across that statistic as I’ve looked through the MRCGP AKT feedback reports, and I must confess that I’m a little shocked by how high the failure rate is!


I’ve been helping GP trainees pass their MRCGP AKT for just over eighteen months, and unfortunately, the same mistakes recur in every sitting!


Why do people fail if there are several “amazing” MRCGP AKT resources available?


MRCGP AKT question banks.

Expert MRCGP AKT tutors.

MRCGP AKT blogs.

RCGP approved MRCGP AKT courses.


Just to name a few!


This blog will use my experiences to explain why I think you may have failed the MRCGP AKT. If you’re yet to take the MRCGP AKT, this blog is equally as important as it will help you avoid the common pitfalls.


If you disagree or agree with what I’ve written, please drop me an email at or find me on social media at @wellmedicsham.



In this blog, I will discuss the following;


Securing your 20%

Doing the question bank twice.

I was guaranteed a pass!

Running out of time


When should I take the MRCGP AKT?


Securing your 20%


If you’ve taken the 15 ways to boost the MRCGP AKT course, or if you’ve attended our MRCGP AKT cheat study day, you will know that I speak at length about securing the coveted 20% during your exam. 


The RCGP curriculum topic guide underpins the RCGPs expectations of a GP trainee and a future GP. We all know that there is way too much to know for the AKT! But what we also know is that the RCGP is very concise in its expectations of administration and evidence-based medicine.


From the experience of WellMedic trainees who have passed the MRCGP AKT, we know that most of them have scored more than 80% in both sections!


Recently, I’ve been speaking with GP trainees who unfortunately failed the MRCGP AKT by the smallest of margins. I can almost guarantee you that they were very short on their administration and evidence-based medicine scores.


The critical take-home from this section is that although improving your clinical score is very important, please do not neglect the 20% that can be fairly easy to secure if you follow the curriculum guide for both sections.


WellMedic has summarised the curriculum guide for both sections into two MRCGP AKT courses, but I would still suggest that you interact with the RCGP curriculum topic guide.


Doing the question bank twice!


Question banks are undoubtedly the most used MRCGP AKT resource out there. 


Which one should you use?


Should you use more than one?


I used Pass Medicine and GP self-test during my MRCGP AKT preparation. Which I would say is more than sufficient when preparing for the exam.


I would argue that there isn’t much benefit from using multiple question banks, especially when limited for revision time. There is often a lot of anxiety that can kick in about failing the MRCGP AKT. Just be mindful that doing another question bank may not help the nerves!


Questions banks can benefit your revision; they give you a broad depth of topics, help with timekeeping, and provide some very reasonable explanations. 


My slight issue with question banks is when trainees develop an over-reliance on question banks, which becomes the only route to passing the AKT.


Without baiting any major question banks, they have to recycle and reformat questions based on the exam you’re registered for. So you can’t expect the 3,000 or so questions that you do to be realistic of the MRCGP AKT.


I’m all for the use of question banks, but try and use them smartly!


I was guaranteed a pass, but I failed the MRCGP AKT!


Let me tell you this, open and honestly. No one can guarantee you a pass in the MRCGP AKT.


If someone guarantees you a pass in the MRCGP AKT, this is an ALARM symptom! 


The most important thing is that we are not training to pass or fail the MRCGP AKT. We are preparing to become the best GP that we can be! Your preparation is the only thing that will guarantee you a pass, and this cannot involve shortcuts.


I often hear from GP trainees who bemoan the use of specific guides or webinars, which have cost them a considerable amount of money.


Learning for the MRCGP has to be self-directed. 


The best resources are those that encourage you to develop a solid understanding of clinical and non-clinical principles.


Should I use pre-summarised clinical notes?


I would suggest that you avoid summarised clinical notes.


There is a process that you should follow in attaining your clinical knowledge. Although question banks and summarised notes can point you in the right direction, they will not replace the benefit you gain from achieving an understanding from primary resources.


Running out of time!


The real question to ask yourself is, “how should I prepare for the time-critical nature of the AKT?”


All too often, GP trainees fail to complete the MRCGP AKT within the allocated time.


All it takes is a wordy question or a slight frustration during the exam, which means you end up spending a little longer on a question than you should have. 


Preparing for timing is difficult, and I go through some of the tried and tested methods in our 15 ways to boost your AKT course!


If there’s one thing to take away from this section, you must be wary of the familiarity you gain during your use of question banks. 


Completing a two hundred question mock on pass medicine does not guarantee that you’ll finish the actual exam within the same time frame.


I am aware of a few trainees that have been diagnosed with dyslexia during their preparation and sitting of the MRCGP AKT. If you’ve consistently found it difficult to read the questions during the exam, it may be something to consider as learning disabilities such as dyslexia may allow for “reasonable adjustments.” 


According to the RCGP, “reasonable adjustments can be made to the AKT procedures where necessary to meet the needs of individuals who are disabled as defined by the Equality Act 2010.”


When should I take the MRCGP AKT?


There are several factors to consider on how to time your AKT sitting.


Check out our “How should I revise for the MRCGP AKT? The complete MRCGP AKT revision guide!” for a full breakdown of timing your AKT correctly. 


You really have to consider how much time you have to prepare and whether or not you will be comfortable with preparing for two exams during your ST3 year.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog! If you’ve found it interesting, please do share it with your GP training colleagues so that they can also benefit and pass the MRCGP AKT!

Welcome to the WellMedic. Where we talk you through a more-complex scenario where you will have to look at the application of your knowledge, but also some of the finer details covered within the guidelines.


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