COVID-19 - FAQs on anaesthesia exams for 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a major impact on where and when we run our exams.

Dates and locations for the primary and final exam are listed on the anaesthesia exams page

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions in relation to our exams recognising that further changes may be required should the COVID-19 pandemic create circumstances beyond our control.

General questions

Why is ANZCA running exams this year?

We know that the majority of trainees are eager to progress through the training program in spite of difficulties created by the pandemic, so enabling this to happen is a priority for ANZCA.

We have a responsibility to assist those candidates from the first sitting in 2020 to complete their exams. 

The reasons for continuing with the second sitting are twofold. The first is the desire of the candidates to progress, and we acknowledge the hard work and sacrifices already undertaken by them. The second focus is that of potential workforce congestion and the difficulties that will develop across Australia and New Zealand should exams not occur. This may be alleviated somewhat by the council decision to allow progression of trainees undertaking 2020 exams.
 

Does ANZCA have a plan to conduct regional viva exams in place of a central exam?

ANZCA has moved to a regional approach to the delivery of the primary and final exams. This will require exams to be conducted in state hubs and in New Zealand. The plans for the delivery in this mode is dependent on examiner availability. Delivery of regional exams requires vivas to be delayed and a “rolling schedule” conducted for the primary exam. The final exam vivas will be conducted regionally on a set date across the country rather than over an extended period “rolling schedule" approach.
 
All Primary viva exams will be conducted in 2020.  Final Exam vivas will be conducted in November in 2020.  Final exam 20.2 viva exams have been rescheduled to May 2021.

With regional exams would trainees be examined by the same examiner for multiple viva stations?

The examination sub-committees are planning for multiple examiners to be available in each Australian state and New Zealand, where possible. We have explored enlisting the help of recently retired examiners to assist, and will aim to have multiple examiners so that candidates are not examined by the same examiner more than once. This may not always be possible. It is a requirement within the primary exam that candidates are examined by two examiners and this requirement will be maintained regardless of the examination process adopted.

Will ANZCA consider using a technology-assisted solution for the viva exams?

ANZCA has been exploring the use of technology to deliver vivas for some months.  A working group has been established to explore and pilot technology assisted solutions for the delivery of the vivas.  These options may be used to assist candidates in states that do not have sufficient examiners to deliver the vivas.  The piloting of this is part of the reason for the delay of the vivas in order to give all candidates holding invitations to a viva the opportunity to be examined in either a face to face or technology assisted manner

Does ANZCA have sufficient examiners to conduct all the viva exams?

There are not sufficient local examiners for a face to face regional approach for all exams in each state. Rolling exams, for the primary viva, over an extended period of weeks have been scheduled. The final exam will be conducting the 20.1 viva exams over two days in regional hubs with concurrent online technology assisted vivas.

Are all trainees guaranteed of completing the viva in 2020?

Not all trainees will complete the viva in 2020. Our priority is to allow primary and final first sitting (20.1) candidates to complete their exams.

Exam schedules have been altered and all primary viva exams (20.1 and 20.2) will be conducted in 2020.  Final 20.1 vivas will be conducted in November 2020.  Final 20.2 vivas have been rescheduled to May 2021.

Can trainees sit both first sitting vivas and the second sitting exam?

A candidate can only be registered to sit one exam at a time. 

Only permitting one exam sitting at any given time is consistent with regulatory / certification authorities.

Will ANZCA release the written exam marks?

The written marks from the 20.2 final exam will be made available to candidates upon request.  The Chair of the Final Examination Sub Committee has written to candidates and supervisors outlining the process for those wishing to know their marks

What happens if you are unable to attend the exam due to travel or health issues?

Candidates may withdraw from sitting 2020 exams without penalty if they are unable to travel or due to health reasons.  If unwell and circumstances permit a candidate may be rescheduled to a later session / day of an exam upon receipt of negative test results and in line with regulations and guidelines of the state the exam is being conducted in.

Up to what date can a candidate withdraw from the second sitting of the exam?

Candidates may withdraw from the 2020 exams with NO penalty. Please contact the primary or final exam team if you wish withdraw.

What happens if I reach the limits for extended training as a result of the exams being postponed?

If trainees are reaching the maximum time limits, they will be granted a retention in extended training. They will need to make an application to the DPA assessors as per the normal processes.

Will candidates be provided with an additional exam attempt?

Candidates who currently hold an invitation to the 20.1 primary or final vivas, will be provided with an additional exam attempt if they are unsuccessful.

Candidates who are registered to sit the 20.2 primary and final exams, will be provided with an additional exam attempt if they are unsuccessful.

Candidates who were unsuccessful in the 20.1 primary and final written exams are not eligible for an additional exam attempt

When can I progress to advanced training if I have met all other basic training requirements and awaiting sitting 2020.1 or 2020.2 primary exam viva?

Progression to advanced training from basic training will be confirmed in TPS once you have passed the exam. The pass date of the exam will be recorded as the date the exam was originally scheduled to have been completed (May for PEX 20.1 and October for PEX 20.2). Your supervisor of training should then be able to complete the core unit review when you have met all other training requirements for that core unit. For some trainees this may be the date that the exam is recorded as completed, for others it may be when they complete time or VOP requirements. Once this is done, TPS will reflect all the training time from the core unit completion date as advanced training and any assessments done since the core unit date will be recorded in the advanced training core unit.

When can I progress to provisional fellowship training if I have met all other advanced training requirements and awaiting sitting 2020.1 or 2020.2 final exam viva?

Progression to provisional fellowship training from advanced training will be confirmed in TPS once you have passed the exam. The pass date of the examination will be recorded as the date the exam was originally scheduled to have been completed (May for FEX 20.1 or October for FEX 20.2). Your supervisor of training should then be able to complete the core unit review when you have met all other training requirements for that core unit. For some trainees this may be the date that the exam is recorded as completed, for others it may be when they complete time or VOP requirements. Once this is done, TPS will reflect all the training time from the core unit completion date as either PF pending or PF.

For the time to be recorded as PF you will need to be in an approved provisional fellowship post, or have gained approval for an individual post in anticipation of passing the exam. Trainees should notify the college when they take up a provisional fellowship post. You are normally required to do this within four weeks of commencing in the post, but in this situation we will accept backdating to the date that is recorded as completing the advanced training core unit.


*last updated: 23 October 2020

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Last updated 10:37 23.10.2020