ARCPs will continue to run during these exceptional times and GPSTs should continue to prepare for ARCPs. However, given the extraordinary circumstances revised advice and guidance has been prepared by various bodies which you will find here. We have unpublished our usual ARCP pages for a temporary period to avoid confusion around which guidance to follow. They will be reinstated once 'standard' ARCP guidance is once again relevant.

When is my ARCP date?

All GPSTs should have their next ARCP date written in the Educator’s Notes section of your E-portfolio. Please take this as your next ARCP date unless you hear otherwise from the School.

Below is the schedule for GP ARCPs taking place this Summer:

ESR sign-off date

Stage 1 panel date

Stage 2 panel date

Trainees to be reviewed


No stage 1 central panel this year


ST3 trainees finishing training on 04/08/2020 + ‘out of sync’ trainees




ST1 and 2 trainees + ST3 scholars + non-final academic trainees + ‘out of sync’ trainees

 How will ARCPs be conducted during the COVID pandemic?

As per usual processes, the School will write to you six weeks prior to your ARCP to formally confirm the date of your panel and to provide advice and guidance on how you should prepare. If, after you have received this email, you believe that you are not due your ARCP as stated, please contact the Education Programme Officers asap on so they can look into it further.

To minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ARCP process, the Severn School of Primary Care ARCPs will be conducted in accordance with:

How should I prepare for my ARCP?

National Guidance on how to prepare for an ARCP

guidance from the RCGP and COGPED provides advice and guidance on:

  • The new Outcome 10
  • WPBA, COVID-19 and guidance for ST1/2/Less than full time (LTFT) ST3 trainees who are not finishing training and who need an ARCP
  • WPBA, COVID-19 and guidance for ST3 finishers who have already passed CSA and AKT
  • 6 month reviews

HEE has also produced guidance on the following:


We are aware of a significant cohort of trainees who were due to finish GP training this summer but will not now be able to owing to the cancellation of the exams. We are still awaiting advice from the RCGP and GMC on how to resolve this situation. We are hoping for clarification very soon regarding your options.  Whatever, the advice from the GMC and RCGP, it will still be necessary for the ARCP Panel to assess your progress on the date that you have been given based on the available evidence within the E-portfolio.

For the latest advice from the RCGP on the cancellation of MRCGP exams please visit their website here and find their FAQ here.

Advice from the School about how to prepare for an ARCP

You will need to complete an ESR before your ARCP Panel, usually 1-2 weeks before the ARCP Panel date. Due to the current situation, this can be a light touch ESR and can be completed virtually (e.g. using Skype or over the telephone) if necessary. If you and your Educational Supervisor feel that you will not be able to complete an ESR before your Panel date, please contact as soon as possible, so that we can discuss this further with you.

A CSR needs to be completed for each clinical attachment within the period under review by the panel. A CSR is not required if you are an ST3 and your Educational Supervisor is also your clinical supervisor, although your ES may consider it useful to do one if they think that it would add helpful evidence to support the ARCP panel.

You will need to complete a Form R. The Form R should not be completed more than 1 month before the ARCP Panel date. Please upload the Form R to your Learning Log under "Course/Certificate". Please note that the panel cannot see anything uploaded to your Personal Library – all forms required by the panel need to be saved in your Learning Log.  

Please note it is your responsibility to ensure that all of the necessary evidence is available on your E-portfolio by the date of the ARCP panel.

Our pre-COVID advice on ARCP preparation can be found here but please note that the above guidance takes precedent at the moment.

Please use the link for the recording of our 'Urgent Question and Answer Session on Summer ARCPs/ESRs and CSA Replacement'


Advice about when to sit/resit the CSA and AKT exams

What is the purpose of the AKT and CSA and when can they be taken?


The AKT is a summative assessment of the knowledge base that underpins independent general practice in the United Kingdom within the context of the National Health Service. It can be taken from the beginning of the ST2 period of training.


The CSA tests a doctor’s ability to gather information and apply learned understanding of disease processes and person-centred care appropriately in a standardised context. It may be taken from the beginning of the ST3 period of training.



How do I know if I am ready to sit the AKT or CSA?


It is advisable not to sit the AKT until you have completed at least some of your attachment within general practice, as this will provide invaluable experience, particularly for the administration-based questions.  Sample questions and further preparation information can be found on the RCGP website.


The best time to sit the CSA will be different for each trainee and it is best not rush into sitting it to “have a go”. Before you book to sit the CSA exam you should discuss with your CS/ES to determine if he/she thinks that you are ready to sit it.  If they think you need further preparation time or focussed training before you sit it, then it is recommended to follow their advice. Further advice and support can be obtained from your local patch educator team.




Do I need to pass the AKT before sitting the CSA?


No, the regulations do not require trainees to have passed the AKT before sitting the CSA.  Both exams require you to be up to date with the latest guidelines and current best clinical practice.




Do I need to have sat both the AKT and CSA before completion of training?


Yes, it is a requirement for all trainees to complete all components of training within the 3 years of the GP training scheme, which entails sitting both exams.  However, it is recognised that there may be exceptional reasons why it has not been possible to sit both exams within the three years.  If there is a chance that this may occur, then you should alert your ES and local Educator team as soon as possible, as they will need to document mitigating circumstances within the ePortfolio




If I fail four times, will I always be granted a 5th attempt? How long would I be given until I have to resit?


It is not automatic to be granted a 5th attempt.  The criteria to be met can be found on the RCGP website.


Note that to be granted an exceptional 5th attempt of either the AKT or CSA, you must have passed the other exam first.  In these circumstances, if you have had 3 fails at the AKT, it might be advisable to attempt the CSA before sitting the AKT for the fourth time.




It is important not to rush into resitting either exam, as providing you are engaging constructively in training, you will be entitled to up to 12 months extension to training, with an additional 6 months at the discretion of the Dean.