What is the MRCGP? We help GP trainees pass the MRCGP

What is the MRCGP

The Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) is a postgraduate qualification managed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). The MRCGP contains three components, and you must achieve your MRCGP qualification to proceed in your career as a General Practitioner.

The Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) is a postgraduate qualification managed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). The MRCGP contains three components, and you must achieve your MRCGP qualification to proceed in your career as a General Practitioner.

Your aim as a GP trainee should be to acquire all relevant competencies to achieve the MRCGP.


So you’re probably thinking… how does this impact my GP training?


Throughout your GP training, three components will occupy your mental space.

To help you maximise your GP training experience, I shall simplify each of the three MRCGP components.


Workplace-based Assessment (WPBA)


The workplace-based assessment is a continual assessment throughout your training, from the very beginning of your ST1 placement to the moment of your final ARCP. It’s a burden for most trainees!

The MRCGP workplace-based assessment is a combination of tools developed to assess your progress in areas of professional practice. Ultimately this tests your engagement with your portfolio and the yearly mandatory requirements!

Unfortunately, many GP trainees do not realise that the RCGP portfolio holds an equal significance to the MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and the MRCGP Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA).

Although the MRCGP AKT and RCA require a fixed revision period within your GP training programme, the WBPA is often why trainees are pulled up by the Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) process.

If there’s one thing to take away from this blog, it’s to get the WPBA right from day one, and it will save you a lot of time and stress. This will give you the breathing space to focus on the MRCGP AKT and RCA.


The essence of GP training is to master the art of multi-tasking!



Helpful tips for the MRCGP workplace-based assessments… 


Evidence your real-life learning.

The portfolio can be a structured way of evidencing your learning based on real-life experiences. It’s this very approach that allows you to identify your strengths but also helps you to address your weaknesses. 


Enhance your inner reflection.

Whether you’ve diagnosed an uncomplicated UTI or appendicitis, they both require a degree of reflection, and it’s for this very reason that reflecting shouldn’t be burdensome. Applying a reflective approach to your learning from the very beginning will help you prepare for the AKT and the RCA.


Be strategic with your assessments.

I’ve often found that GP trainees have a very scattered approach to their RCGP portfolio. The critical process of the workplace-based assessment is to demonstrate competence in each of the RCGP capabilities. To do this, you will need to link three pieces of evidence.

The typical pattern is to have nine clinical case reviews supporting communication skills with nothing to demonstrate community orientation.

If you’d like to know how I’ve been able to reflect strategically, you can click here for our portfolio guides!


Applied Knowledge Test – The MRCGP AKT


The MRCGP AKT is most definitely my area of expertise. WellMedic has helped thousands of GP trainees prepare for their AKT exam. In this section, I shall briefly cover some of the critical features of MRCGP AKT. If you’d like a more comprehensive overview with some actionable tips, please click here.


The MRCGP AKT forms one of the two summative assessments for the GP training programme. The AKT is primarily involved in testing the application of your medical knowledge. Many trainees find the MRCGP AKT as a significant stumbling block in their pursuit of the MRCGP. I often find that GP trainees either underestimate the exam’s complexity or focus heavily on question banks without considering primary knowledge resources.


If you’d like to read about some of the commonly made MRCGP AKT mistakes, click here.


Six things you need to know about the MRCGP AKT


80% of the questions are based on clinical medicine.

This section tests your ability to apply your knowledge to clinical scenarios. The clinical scenarios are based on primary care. However, there will be questions that assess your knowledge of secondary care medicine. This will often include questions on diagnostic investigations and complex management scenarios.


10% of the questions are based on evidence-based medicine

This section tests your ability to appraise research critically. Unlike many other speciality training programmes, GP trainees are not exposed to journal clubs and research reviews in their day to day practice. This is one of the many reasons why we struggle with the evidence-based medicine section.


10% of the questions are based on primary care organisation

This covers; administrative, ethical, regulatory and statutory frameworks followed by a GP. Think about how a GP functions on a day to day basis.

Some of the areas routinely tested include;

What are the mandatory requirements for a prescription?

How often should a patient receive monitoring?

What is the role of a GP as an employer?

What should you do if a patient lacks capacity?


A variety of question formats

Single Best Answer, Extended Matching Questions, Algorithm Questions, Short Answers and Picture-based Questions


It’s a step above other exams you’ve taken!

The MRCGP AKT is not about simple fact recollection as you have to demonstrate your ability to apply, apply and apply!


When can I take the exam?

You can take this exam during your ST2 or ST3 year. It’s important to consider whether you want to sit the January, April or October AKT! Many GP trainees ask whether or not there is a right time to take the MRCGP AKT?

There are several questions that you need to consider when finding the perfect time to sit the AKT.


Are you a full or part-time trainee?

Do you have additional commitments – children, locum work etc

Have you undertaken your first General Practice placement?

Have you identified your weaknesses?

When are you planning to take your RCA or CSA exam?


After helping thousands of GP trainees with their AKT preparation, WellMedic has developed our AKT toolkits, which can help you PASS the MRCGP AKT!

Your personalised MRCGP AKT timeline – let’s plan your AKT revision!


As of this moment, the final component of the MRCGP is the Recorded Consultation Assessment.


If you’re currently taking the MRCGP RCA, it’s worth noting that the guidance is continually evolving, and I shall aim to continue updating this as regularly as possible. If you’re looking for an in-depth summary, click here for my complete MRCGP RCA guide.


MRCGP RCA key facts!


The RCA involves submitting thirteen real consultations taken from within a GP setting.

The consultations are submitted as audio consultation, video consultation or a mixture of the two.

Consultations are submitted to the RCGP via the fourteen fish platform.

The RCGP has set the mandatory criteria for the RCA. If you’d like to pass the RCA, you have to stick to the rules!

The RCGP issues feedback with global statements. Being aware of these statements can help you prepare for your submission.

Each attempt of the MRCGP RCA counts as one of the RCA or CSA exam’s four permitted attempts.


I have successfully cleared the MRCGP RCA in January 2021, and if you’d like to know more about my experiences, click here.


If you’ve found this blog helpful, please share this with your GP training colleagues and check out our other helpful guides by clicking here.


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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