The Ultimate Guide to Passing the MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)


Reviewed: October 30, 2023

The MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test is an important milestone in becoming a GP. To be able to pass the exam, you need to be prepared. The most effective way to ensure you’re ready is by utilising appropriate resources that can assist your revision, so you’re prepared for the challenging task ahead.

In this post, we’ll discuss the following:

Table of Contents

1.How to Prepare for the AKT Exam
1.2.Create a Study Timetable
1.3.Gather Resources
1.4.Prioritise the Clinical Section
1.5.Practice Past Papers
2.Study Strategies to Pass the AKT Exam
2.1.Collaborative Rehearsal
2.2.Conceptualised Understanding
2.3.Active Recall
2.4.Spaced Repetition
3.Why Consider an Online Platform for the AKT Exam

1. How to Prepare for the AKT Exam

1.1. Pre-planning

planning for the AKT exam

Firstly, you’ll need to look at when you want to sit the AKT exam. There are normally three exams a year, so once you’ve decided on a date, plan ahead and organise annual leave to ensure you get enough time off to take the exam.

There are a lot of resources on the RCGP website. One of the first things you can do is print the AKT content guide. This is a document that covers every single specialty, and breaks down all the different diseases and conditions within each specialty.

Also, it’s worth studying the GP curriculum. This is a useful resource, as it compliments the AKT content guide information, breaking it down into all the different conditions and covering exactly what needs to be known for the exam. It’s worthwhile having a glance through this to ensure you have an exact idea of what the AKT exam requires of you.

Feedback reports are another useful resource that can aid your AKT exam preparation. These are released after every sitting and provide in-depth analysis of previous exams, evaluating candidates’ areas of strength and weaknesses. To read more about these recurring themes and other key statistics, please read our detailed AKT feedback report for the January AKT exam.

1.2. Create a Study Timetable

create a study timetable for the AKT exam

A timetable is really important and will help you break down the volume of work, so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. Your timetable will help you know how much work you want to cover and when. If you plan your days in advance, you’re more likely to get through everything.

1.3. Gather Resources

Question banks are incredibly important resources for your Applied Knowledge Test revision. We have a very useful online resource for AKT exam preparation, consisting of a question bank and mock exam with over 1,000 Applied Knowledge Test questions for GPs. Our resource is also sponsored by, which allows all Healthcare Professionals with an email address to benefit from free access to our AKT revision.

In addition to our resource, it may be helpful to read the following:

Keeping up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices in the field by reading journals, such as the British Journal of General Practitioners and the British Medical Journal, can also be advantageous.

1.4. Prioritise the Clinical Section

It's crucial to dedicate most of your study time to the clinical section since it accounts for 80% of the exam's marks and questions (160 questions in total). If one performs poorly in this section, scoring below 60%, it's likely they'll fail the exam, even if they excel in other sections. In fact, low marks in the clinical section are the primary reason many don't pass the AKT exam.

This section is expansive, given that it represents a large portion of the curriculum and revolves around clinical subjects. Questions here often touch upon diagnosis processes, how to order and analyse tests, understanding diseases and their associated risks, and treatment approaches. Familiarising yourself with essential guidelines like NICE, SIGN, and BTS is crucial, especially for key diseases, as they come up often in the exam.

1.5. Practice Past Papers

practise papers for the AKT exam

The most effective way to prepare for the Applied Knowledge Test is by taking as many mock exams as possible. By doing this, you'll be able to identify your weaknesses and work on them accordingly, so when the time comes to sit the real thing, nothing comes as a surprise.

We often tend to underestimate mock exams, but they’re actually very helpful when it comes to exam preparation, as they give us an idea of the kind of questions we might encounter and how long it would take us to answer them accordingly. Included in our AKT exam preparation is a 3 hour and 10 minute timed mock exam, which is designed to be both challenging and realistic, giving you a good indication of what to expect in the actual exam.

2. Study Strategies to Pass the AKT Exam

Studying for the AKT exam is a tough process. In order to pass the test, you need to practise and put in a lot of hard work. Here are some study strategies that can help you prepare for and pass the exam with flying colours!

2.1. Collaborative Rehearsal

Instead of memorising answers to questions while preparing for the Applied Knowledge Test, it's better to understand the reasons and methods behind the information being presented. This approach will help you learn the guidelines and enable you to apply them to specific scenarios, which is similar to the actual AKT questions.

2.2. Conceptualised Understanding

To make it easier to remember information, it's helpful to group similar pieces of information together and establish connections between them. This way, you can create a mental map of all the information you need to remember. The goal is to be able to recall all the related information when prompted with just one piece of information.

2.3. Active Recall

Passive learning can be a pitfall because it doesn't promote a deep understanding or retention of information. The more effort we put into recalling information, the stronger our memory connections become. So, when it comes to taking the exam, you’re more likely to remember what you’ve learned.

A great way to actively recall information is by learning through teaching. You can do this by meeting with friends or colleagues and explaining exam topics to one another. If you’re unable to study with anyone, you can always talk out loud to yourself – as long as you're explaining the information in some way.

meet up with colleagues to prepare for the AKT exam

By actively recalling information, you can identify weaknesses in your knowledge and revisit the information to strengthen your understanding.

2.4. Spaced Repetition

Reviewing information regularly can help you avoid the "forgetting curve" trap. When you review information regularly, you increase your chances of remembering it, so when it comes to sitting the AKT exam, you’ll have retained most of the information you need.

3. Why Consider an Online Platform for the AKT Exam

consider an online platform such as StudyPRN to prepare for the AKT exam

The main reason you should consider an online training platform for the AKT exam is its convenience. You can use your time effectively and efficiently to revise wherever you are in the world, at any time of day or night. You don’t need to be in front of a computer screen all the time, either. If you feel like taking a walk or going out and enjoying some fresh air instead, then go ahead. The content will still be there when you get back!

Another great thing about using an online platform is how affordable it is compared to other methods of training (such as attending classes). Published books can also become out-of-date quickly with guidelines constantly updating. However, with online resources, the questions and links to further reading are constantly monitored and continuously updated to reflect new guidelines - without you having to purchase another resource.

It doesn't matter how busy your schedule is; with our platform available 24/7 on any device, including tablets and smartphones, there's always an opportunity to learn – no matter where you are in the world.

4. Conclusion

The Applied Knowledge Test is an important exam that will help you get a job as a GP. It's also one of the toughest exams out there, so it's essential you're as prepared as possible.

This post has covered some of the best resources and strategies for passing this exam, so hopefully, it will help guide you through your studies and ensure your exam success!

What are your top tips for passing the AKT exam? Let us know in the comments below.

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