Performance and views of examiners in the Applied Knowledge Test for the nMRCGP licensing examination

Siriwardena, A Niroshan, Dixon, Hilton, Blow, Carol, Irish, Bill and Milne, Paul (2009) Performance and views of examiners in the Applied Knowledge Test for the nMRCGP licensing examination. British Journal of General Practice, 59 (559). pp. 110-113. ISSN 09601643

[thumbnail of REF CLA compliant copy] PDF (REF CLA compliant copy) - Published Version
Restricted to Registered users only


Official URL:


A new computer-based Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) has been developed for the licensing examination for general practice administered by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

The aim of this evaluation was to assess the acceptability, feasibility, and validity of the test as well as its transfer to a computerised format at local test centres.

Design of study
Computer-based test and postal questionnaire.

Participants and setting
Panel of examiners, Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) examination, UK.

Self-administered postal questionnaires were sent to examiners not involved with the development of the test after completing it. Their performance scores were compared with those of candidates.

The majority of participants (80.9%) were satisfied with the new computer-based test. Responses relating to content and attitudes to the test were also positive overall, but some problems with content were highlighted. Fewer examiners (61.9%) were positive about the physical comfort of the test centre, including seating, heating, and lighting. Examiners had significantly higher scores (mean 83.3%, range 69 to 93%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 81.9 to 84.7%) than `real' candidates (mean 75.0%, range 45 to 94%, 95% CI = 74.6 to 75.5%), who subsequently took an identical test.

The new computer-based licensing test (the AKT) was found to be acceptable to the majority of examiners. The pass-fail standard, determined by routine methods including an Angoff procedure, was supported by the higher success rate of examiners compared with candidates. The use of selected groups to assess high-stakes (licensing) examinations can be useful for assessing test validity.

Repository Staff Only: item control page