What we can learn from the RACGP KFP Exam Public Reports (and how to avoid being a statistic)

What we can learn from the RACGP KFP Exam Public Reports and how to avoid being a statistic

It’s impossible to talk about the KFP exam without mentioning statistics – because it is on the mind of everyone. Statistics about it being the hardest of the fellowship exams, statistics of how the exam has changed over time, blah, blah, blah.

The most important thing to do is not be a statistic, not be one of the 4-in-10 people who don’t pass.

How KFP Results have changed over time according to the RACGP KFP exam Public reports

First things first, let’s use the RACGP KFP Exam results and public reports to learn how to avoid being a statistic and better understand how exam results have changed over time.

The pass mark has dropped

The strongest trend is that the exam has got harder to pass, as shown by the drop in the pass mark over time (Figure 1).

RACGP KFP exam pass mark from 2016 to 2021. Source: RACGP Public exam reports

There is one big lesson from this graph:

The lower pass mark means you need to be composed during the exam and ‘never give up’. You can get through at a lower pass mark than 5 years ago. So keep your focus, keep your confidence in your ability, and keep working through the exam.

The pass rate varies significantly

The next graph looks at the pass rate (what proportion of candidates pass). This graph shows that there is no trend from exam to exam, and it also doesn’t line up with the pass mark.

KFP Exam Pass Rate from 2016 to 2021. Source: RACGP Public exam reports

So, people can speculate all they like about exam results – and pass rates can jump around quite a bit (from 52% in 2017.2 to 69% in 2020.1). But they don’t really motivate you or give genuine concern. 

In fact, they are best seen as noise when what you need to do is focus on your study and pass the exam!

There is only one sure thing – that the KFP will remain the hardest to pass, and this is because it is designed to test your application of knowledge, and not on how much knowledge you have. 

So, your sole objective is to prepare yourself for this very specific format of exam and spend your time and preparation on the things that matter most.

What does it take to pass the RACGP KFP Exam?

So, let’s revisit the fundamentals of achieving success in the KFP.

Cover the RACGP curriculum

You must have the knowledge in order to apply your knowledge. Make sure you start your exam preparation early enough and make enough time to study the RACGP curriculum properly. This includes relevant guidelines, checks, and AFP articles.

Stay in the study zone

You have to make the most of time available to you for study. That means keeping up your levels of motivation, giving yourself credit for reaching landmarks (like completing a topic), making sure you have enough pace in your study to cover all you need, and a good filter (to separate out the low value distractions that are time-wasters).

Grow your exam wisdom

Time passes quickly in an exam, and it is a rollercoaster of emotions as you move from cases that you recognise to cases that can throw your confidence. Know this, prepare for this, and have a kit-bag of strategies that mean you don’t get stuck in a ‘vortex of doom’.

Always have in mind what success looks like whenever you are studying. And especially when you are doing practice cases! Things to look out for are:

Exam time management

Start from a position that you will give every question equal time (they are worth equal marks!). Get a sense of what 8 minutes feels like – that’s the amount of time (give-or-take) for each case.

The correct interpretation of questions

Know that one of the greatest causes of getting the answer wrong is getting the question wrong! Case stems can be complex and things can be missed – sure. That’s frustrating. But what’s worse is not being clear what the question is asking for. That’s just throwing marks away. Every time you practice a case – get into the habit of focussing on the question at hand.

Answering technique

One way to think about this is ‘how can I harvest the most marks’. Think about all the different answers that can apply, be broad in your mindset, rather than get stuck on providing answers that are all similar.

One of the most insightful pieces of feedback from our past subscribers is how practising KFP Online cases really help bring this ‘breadth’ to your thinking.

Coping with stress

When you practise a case and you don’t know an answer, it can be painful. But in an exam, pre-think how stressful that might be. Bring that thinking to your practice too. How would you navigate a tricky case? Nailing this in practice makes for a much less tense exam, because you have tactics you can call on that can deliver some marks while not launching your stress levels into the stratosphere.


  • To avoid being a statistic, you have to not focus on meaningless statistics. They’re not your friend.
  • KFP is about the application of your knowledge – this simple fact has to be the centre of your universe as you prepare yourself for the RACGP KFP exam.
  • Be exam-ready. Always try to get value out of your practice cases that you can use on exam day – it is how you go about the exam that matters just as much as what you know.
  • The attitude that people who pass the exam most regularly describe to us as being the most important is to ‘never give up’. So bring this attitude to your preparation and your big day and be amazed how far it can take you. 

KFP Online is all about you being exam-ready

KFP Online is an online study tool designed to help you prepare for the RACGP KFP exam. With over 300 complex KFP cases and 1000+ questions, KFP Online simulates the real exam environment. We also organise weekly online study sessions for all our subscribers. 

Register now to get ahead with your KFP exam preparation.

Start studying >>

Did you find this article useful? Share it!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email