As you may be aware, if you are a RACGP applicant, the next step in the process is to sit the Candidate Assessment and Applied Knowledge Test (CAAKT).
The most frequent question doctors ask about the CAAKT is ‘How do I best prepare?’. This article will provide some information about the exam, the types of questions asked, and some handy tips for preparation.
What is the CAAKT?
The CAAKT is only for candidates applying to the RACGP. It is the RACGP’s national assessment that you sit as part of your application process to the AGPT program.
CAAKT is a computer-based test. Applicants are scored and placed in 1 of 10 ranking bands, with band 1 being the highest band. The band that you achieve will impact your chances of being shortlisted for your preferred training region. Therefore, it is in your best interest to do well in the CAAKT.
In the CAAKT, there are two types of questions:
- Knowledge Test (KT) questions – 60 questions
- Situational Judgement Test (SJT) questions – 20 questions
In order to be preparing for the CAAKT, the RACGP recommend familiarising yourself with their five domains of general practice. If in doubt, refer back to these five domains.
About Knowledge Test (KT) questions
The RACGP website states: “KT questions are multiple choice questions that aim to test your clinical knowledge. These questions do not focus on a broad range of medical knowledge, but specifically on acute emergency situations and potentially serious conditions. These are pitched at pre-vocational candidates seeking to enter general practice training.”
Given that the KT questions come from a broad range of clinical topics, it is difficult to prepare for because you do not know what you will be asked. However, most questions can be answered with prior knowledge from medical school and internship (e.g., anaphylaxis management). Ensure you are familiar with not-to-be-missed acute emergency situations and potentially serious conditions.
About Situational Judgement Test (SJT) questions
The RACGP website states: “SJT questions aim to assess a candidate’s judgement in a range of professional scenarios, often with a focus on ethical, moral, legal issues and professionalism. These questions seek to assess your reasoning in these scenarios.”
Most applicants would not have come across SJT style questions before, so it is highly recommended that you become familiar with these questions prior to sitting the exam.
In an SJT question, there will be a scenario presented. The answer is not simply marked as ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’. There is a range of scores possible for each of the SJT items. You will be awarded some marks for partially correct answers and full marks for completely correct answers.
This means that to answer the question, you may be asked to rank the listed answers in order of most appropriate to least appropriate, or you may be asked to select a certain number of appropriate answers from a list.
There are CAAKT sample questions accessible on the RACGP’s website which will give you an idea of what SJT questions can look like.
Once again, it is also difficult to prepare for SJT style questions as your “judgement” is being assessed in a particular situation. However, completing practice SJT questions can help you familiarise yourself with the style of questioning and help you feel more prepared on the day.
Tips on how to prepare for the SJT
Read the questions
Read the scenario and the question very carefully—this cannot be stressed enough.
Trust your gut instinct
Choose answers which reflect what you would do in the provided situation. This means not selecting answers based on what you think the examiner would want you to do.
Know your role in the scenario
Answer as if you were the doctor described in the scenario. If the scenario states that you are a junior doctor and you were unfamiliar with the clinical presentation, it would be most appropriate to select the answer that suggests seeking further information first. This would be more appropriate than selecting answers that try to reflect confidence to the examiner as these could be dangerous answers.
When ranking answers from most appropriate to least appropriate read through each answer carefully. One strategy is to try and identify the most appropriate answer (1) and identify the least appropriate answer (5) from the list, as these usually stand out.
After this, you directly compare each of the three remaining options by playing each scenario out in your head. Out of the three, you would then pick the most appropriate answer (2), and then you would do the same between answers (3) and (4). After ranking your answers, you should review the answers by reading them in order from (1) to (5) to ensure it sounds right to you.
Understand the key issues of the question
Identify the key issues and ethical principles being assessed (for example, patient safety, confidentiality). Your understanding of the principles of a topic can help assist you in answering.
For example, if you were to identify the issue of confidentiality in the scenario, you would recall that there are some exceptions when you can break confidentiality. This knowledge will then assist you in answering the question.
It helps to do practice SJT questions. Not only will this familiarise you with the different style of questions, but this will help identify any judgement errors that you may be making in certain situations.
Give yourself enough time to do as many practice questions as possible until you feel comfortable with SJT questions. Try not to leave preparation until the night before the test!
Plan this out prior to completing the test. After completing 10 questions, check to see if you are on track with your set plan.
Practising SJT questions
It is not necessary to pay for practice SJT questions to do well in the CAAKT. However, if you wanted to familiarise yourself with the style of questions prior, you can choose to pay for access to an SJT question bank. There are many resources available that you can find, including:
For more information, see the RACGP FAQs for CAAKT.
By Dr Cheten Mistry
Dr Mistry is currently a GP registrar in his final term working in Melbourne, and an FGP Advisor providing ongoing support and guidance to all doctors that are interested in a career in general practice.
First published May 2021, revised May 2022.