600 doctors failed the latest KFP exam
The zigzag trend of pass rates for the notorious key feature problem (KFP) exam is showing no signs of a reversal, with more than 600 candidates failing the latest test.
The exam, which is offered twice a year and costs about $2000 to undertake, is one of three candidates must pass to become fellows of the RACGP.
Candidates answer questions on detailed clinical scenarios that are designed to assess clinical reasoning and decision-making.
However, pass rates remain relatively low, and critics claim the KFP is unfair and not a reliable assessment of a candidate’s talents.
Only 52% of the 1406 candidates who attempted the latest KFP exam in July passed.
This compares with the 66% pass rate for the previous semester’s exam, a pass rate of around 50% for the 2016 exams and a pass rate of just 44% in the early 2015 exam.
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Blame for the failure rates has focused on the allegedly poor support offered to candidates, particularly IMG candidates, outside the GP registrar training program.
The RACGP has responded by publishing detailed feedback reports, giving examples of good and bad answers to specific questions.
It has also created new online support modules for prospective candidates that include sample questions and answers from recent KFP exams.
Two of the modules are designed to tackle the dreaded problem of 'over-coding', where candidates provide too many responses to a question.
Clinical scenarios given in the latest exam include a child with evolving epiglottis, a woman presenting with secondary amenorrhoea and a man with a three-month history of generalised pruritus.
In a statement, RACGP censor-in-chief Mark Miller said it was too early to review whether the new online support modules had helped candidates but noted that the resources had received positive feedback.
Dr Miller also said there was a trend of a lower pass rate in the second KFP exam held each year compared with the first exam.
"The pass rate in the 2017.2 KFP is in a similar range to previous second-cycle KFP pass rates. The standard setting procedures have not changed nor has the robust quality assurance of the papers."