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The Complete Guide to MRCGP AKT
  • 19 Mar 2024
  • GP

What is the MRCGP AKT Exam?

The MRCGP AKT (Applied Knowledge Test) is the first component (following the MSRA) of the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) that must be passed to become a GP (General Practitioner). As the name suggests, the AKT is an examination to test problem-solving skills and application of knowledge, health informatics and administration, critical appraisal, and evidence-based practice within the context of general practice.

How long is the MRCGP AKT Exam?

Trainees have 3 hours and 10 minutes to answer 200 questions.

When Can I take the MRCGP AKT Exam?

When do people typically take the MRCGP AKT Exam?

Candidates looking to sit the AKT are allowed anytime in ST2 or ST3. The exam has 3 sittings. Which take place in January, April, and July throughout 2024. However, reservations have closed for the January sitting, leaving 2 sittings left for the year. A candidate has a maximum of 4 attempts when sitting the exam.

Choosing between sitting the AKT in ST2 or ST3 can be difficult. On the one hand, sitting in ST2 puts less stress and time constraints on individuals, as sitting the AKT in ST3 requires the exam to be taken alongside two other components of the MRCGP process, the MRCGP: Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) and Workplace-based assessment (WPBA).

However, sitting the exam in ST3 allows individuals to have more clinical experience and an increased knowledge of general practice. So, both sides have their positives and negatives.

How do I apply for the MRCGP AKT Exam?

All candidates should be registered with the RCGP before applying. Application is via the RCGP website during a 5–6-day window 7-8 weeks before the corresponding exam date. Reserve your place to sit the exam here: MRCGP exam applications

Exam dates, Fees and Locations

The first sitting of the MRCGCP AKT was held in January 2024 and the application date to sit the April exam has now closed. This leaves one MRCGP AKT application window left for 2024. For more information, see the table below.


Reservations close

Booking period

AKT test date

 Results published* (all 17:00 hours)

AKT April 2024

18 February 2024 (reservations close 23:59)

28 February - 1 March 2024

24 April 2024

23 May 2024

AKT July 2024

19 May 2024 (reservations close 23:59)

29 - 31 May 2024

9 July 2024

8 August 2024

Once a candidate has submitted their application and paid the £450 exam fee, they can choose their preferred exam centre. There are over 150 Pearson VUE testing centres across the UK, and it is best to apply early to secure a place at a nearby centre. Each exam date will have a morning and afternoon session.

What are Pearson Vue Exam centres like for medical exams?

Pearson Vue has nearly 6,000 test centres across the globe in over 180 countries. You’ll need to choose a test centre location that is convenient for you to travel to, and that has availability for the dates you want to take the exam. Keep in mind that test centre availability can be limited as you will see candidates sitting a wide range of other exams from driving theory tests to risk management qualifications.

When selecting a test centre, make sure to take note of the opening times and any special instructions or rules for that location. Some test centres may have specific requirements for what you can bring into the testing room, or how you should behave during the exam.

How to prepare for the MRCGP AKT?

When should I start revising?

Dedicating enough time is crucial for AKT revision and many candidates who failed the exam blame a lack of preparation. A minimum of 3 months should be dedicated to AKT revision, but more time is often required.

One thing to consider when revising is burnout. You should be careful to not start revising too early resulting in a lack of motivation when it comes to the last few weeks of revision before the exam. We have created a variety of valuable blogs sharing tips to ensure a healthy revision schedule whilst allowing you to remain focused and motivated at the same time.

4 Blogs to Help you Revise for MRCGP AKT

How is the MRCGP AKT Structured?

The questions are approximately split into the following categories:

  • 80% on clinical knowledge
  • 10% on evidence-based practice (including evidence interpretation and the critical appraisal skills needed to interpret research data)
  • 10% on primary care organisation and management issues (including administrative, ethical, regulatory, and statutory frameworks)

All questions address issues relating to UK general practice. They focus on higher-order problem-solving rather than the recall of basic facts. Within the exam, questions may be:

  • Single-based answers (Multiple choice, where candidates are expected to choose the most suitable one)
  • Extended-match questions (Multiple scenarios presented, where candidates assign one answer per scenario from the options presented)
  • Free text answers (Typing required in a textbox. Questions can include pictures, laboratory test results, or statistical data for interpretation, and an online calculator for calculations.)

The GP Curriculum gives an overview of the topics you should be aware of for the AKT.

What Resources Should I use to revise for the MRCGP AKT?

The list below provides a summary of useful resources for AKT candidates, some of which have been mentioned previously in the article:

RCGP Resources

  • RCGP curriculum
  • RCGP past reports
  • RCGP InnovAit journals (journals designed to support GP trainees)
  • RCGP Faculty AKT-preparation courses

Question banks

  • Pastest online revision packages: Pastest offers a variety of resources to support your studies, allowing you to use learning techniques to help you excel within medical school. Within the MRCGP AKT subscription, we offer a substantial question bank with over 3,400 questions, expanded explanations, which are topic-wide explanations, focusing on the overall topic (eg. asthma) rather than specific to individual questions. These explanations provide our users with a broad spectrum of information aligned with the MRCGP syllabus. Alongside this, we also pay individuals who have previously sat the AKT exam to help create high-level past papers that align closely to the exam in terms of both content and difficulty.
  • RCGP UK question banks with answers
  • BMJ On Exam
  • Pearson VUE testing tutorial and practice exam.
  • Many other platforms offer a wide variety of question banks.


  • Applied Knowledge Test for the MRCGP. 4th edition. Nuzhet A-A. published 2017.


  • NICE CKS guidelines
  • Oxford Handbook of General Practice
  • British Medical Journal
  • British Journal of General Practice
  • Hot topics courses online (various platforms, e.g., GP Update or NB Medical)
  • Current issues in general practice: Taking note of the problems encountered daily in practice and keeping track of Patient Unmet Needs and Doctor’s Educational Needs (PNUs and DENs) is an important part of revision for the clinical component of the exam. Candidates should also aim to stay up to date on the “hot topics” of general practice as these are often examined in the AKT. Reading journals such as the British Journal of Medical Practice is a good way to keep up with these topics.

Revision Schedule (Provide Useful Calendar apps for time management, etc)

Exam Countdown Lite: As the name explains, this app allows you to keep track of all upcoming exam dates.

Forest: Forest is a productivity management app that stops you from going on your phone whilst helping you contribute to saving the planet. By activating Forest on your phone, you plant a tree, and your tree will grow if you stay on the app, when the tree is fully grown, someone from Forest will plant your tree in real life!

Notion: Notion is a versatile productivity tool that helps you organise your life and work in one place. It's similar to a digital notebook where you can create pages, databases, and to-do lists to keep track of everything important to you. Notion allows you to customise your workspace to fit your needs, whether you're managing projects, taking notes, or planning your revision schedule. It's designed to be flexible and adaptable, so you can use it in whichever way works best for you.

Reclaim.AI: Reclaim.AI is a time management app that is paired with your Google Calendar, removing the headache of allocating your timeslots yourself. This time-blocking app will add everything to your schedule, whilst taking into consideration the tasks you already have in your calendar. For example, if you realise you haven’t factored in an exam that’s coming up in four weeks. You can give reclaim a due date and a time allocation of how many hours you need per week to get this task done… and voila! Reclaim will integrate your new task into your schedule without disrupting your previous arrangements.

Google Calendar: This is the #1 digital calendar app in the world. You can embed links, quickly change the schedule if necessary and colour code your schedule to ensure you can get to your shifts on time, revise effectively and have time to socialise in between!

Do's and Don’ts for MRCGP AKT Revision


Identify personal weaknesses: Establishing your weak points and dedicating more time to them from the very start rather than only spending time on favoured topics will build your self-confidence in those weaker areas and take away the pressure of revising the topics last minute. Pastest has an amazing tracking dashboard that allows you to see your weaknesses. Furthermore, if you feel a question has flagged a gap in your knowledge, utilise the “more questions like this” feature to quickly test yourself before hopping back into your session!

Maintain motivation: setting some short- and long-term goals during the preparation period and establishing a rewards system can help you remain on track with your revision.

Effectively use resources: solid revision should use a wide variety of different types of resources that best suit your learning style, whether it is textbooks, webinars, practice questions, or others. Pastest offers a range of different revision types such as videos, podcasts, flashcards, and expanded explanations. (Link to course)

Dedicate revision time accordingly: The clinical domain comprises 80% of the exam questions, and an appropriate amount of time should be spent on studying for this section. However, ensure you do not overlook critical appraisal and administration.


Always work alone: working in a group of other GP trainees preparing for the exam is a great way to revise some components of the AKT. You can learn from each other’s mistakes and help and support each other.

Underestimate the time needed for revision: at least 3 months are needed to revise for the AKT, but if your home life or your placement is particularly busy you should dedicate more time, trainees commonly start revising 4-6 months before the exam.

The Day of the MRCGP AKT Exam

What do I need to take with me on the day of the MRCGP AKT Exam?

On the day of the exam, candidates will need two IDs. Primary ID which must be photographic and secondary ID must display at least the candidate’s name and signature. The name on the IDs should be identical to that on the application. If this is not the case, supporting documents showing a link between the different names must be brought. Candidates must arrive on time. All personal belongings will be left in a locker outside the test room.

Candidates will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before the start of the test. The exam is computerised, and all candidates will complete a short tutorial to get used to the computer system before the exam begins. No additional time will be given if candidates decide to leave the room for water or to use the bathroom.

What Items can I take into the MRCGP AKT Exam? (e.g. IDs, Confirmations, a calculator, etc)

According to the RCGP Website, you cannot take any personal items into the exam room with you. This includes:

  • Bags
  • Coats
  • Calculators
  • Books
  • Notes
  • Mobile phones
  • Electronic equipment including laptops, tablets and pagers.
  • Watches
  • Wallets or purses
  • Food and drink

Personal items must be left in a locker and your mobile phone switched off.

However, it can be noted Pearson VUE have some allowances for comfort aids, which can be found here.

Dos and Don’ts in the MRCGP AKT Exam


Get used to time pressure: You will have an average of 57 seconds per question during the exam. Utilising the MOCK exam feature and timed question bank sessions within the MRCGP AKT resources will allow you to become comfortable working at a quicker pace, giving you more time on those trickier questions.


Leave questions blank: There is no negative marking in the exam, so even if you are not sure of the answer, pick one that you think might be right. This will avoid spending too much time on questions you are unsure about, and you will keep your momentum in the exam.

Is the MRCGP AKT Hard?

MRCGP AKT Pass Rates

Since January 2021, the pass rate of the MRCGP AKT has ranged from 138 to 142 marks. The most recent AKT results saw a pass mark of 142 (71%), which is considered quite normal, so aim to achieve grades of 71% or higher throughout your revision sessions and MOCK exams, although it should be noted your revision should not centre around achieving a 71% because of the varying pass rates.

It can also be noted a recent report highlighted a pass range of 64-71% indicating that 1 in 3 trainees will fail the MRCGP AKT exam.

How many times are you allowed to sit the MRCGP AKT Exam?

A maximum of 4 attempts at the MRCGP AKT is allowed. However, it can be noted first-time takers typically have a higher pass rate at 80.37% compared to all candidates (60.31%).

It’s clear the MRCGP AKT exam is tricky, but by using the correct resources and following our dos and don’ts both before and in the exam, we’re certain any medic has the capabilities needed to smash this exam!

We hope our blog helped you with your understanding of the MRCGP AKT and your revision prep, or helped you decide if this was the right exam for you to sit!

And finally… Good luck!

If you’re looking for a high-quality, online revision resource to revise for the MRCGP AKT, why not try Pastest? Our resource can provide you with all the tools you need to pass the AKT with flying colours! Purchase the resource here!

  • 19 Mar 2024
  • GP