Pain medicine exams

Pain medicine trainees are assessed via long case assessments and the fellowship exam during the pain medicine training program. 

Past examination reports can be found in Networks under the Fellowship examination folder located in the FPM Trainee Support Resources. Trainees will need to log into their Networks account to access these resources. 

Long case assessments 

Trainees must successfully complete at least one local long case assessment and one external long case assessment during the training program. Both assessments use the same marking form. To achieve a pass the trainee must demonstrate proficiency at the level of a specialist pain medicine physician in their first year of practice.

Units will need to comply with local COVID-19 guidance when running the long case.


Local long case assessment

The local long case assessment is held in the training unit and assessed by two FPM fellows.
The assessors do not necessarily need to work at the unit or know the trainee but at least one of the fellows must have previously assessed a long case. The patient should be known to one of the assessors but not the trainee and must be invited as opposed to being a waiting list patient.

Guidance notes and a marking form have been prepared to support units in the delivery of the local long case assessment. Units will need to comply with local COVID-19 advice in delivering long cases.
The marking form must be submitted with the subsequent in-training assessment to the faculty.
Once a trainee has passed a local long case they can sit the external long case assessment.  If they are then unsuccessful at the externally run long case assessment, they must re-sit the local long case assessment and achieve a pass before they can repeat the external long case assessment.

External long case assessment

External long case assessments are usually held in major cities across Australia and in New Zealand twice a year, and once a year in Hong Kong and Singapore.

External Long Case dates

Trainees need to meet the eligibility criteria and submit their application by the relevant application closing date, which varies for each region in view of the scheduling of these assessments. 

These assessments are limited to trainees who live in the region. In regions where the external long cases are not delivered, trainees are encouraged to contact the faculty prior to applying. 

Candidates sitting the external long case assessments are advised that they will need to complete a rapid antigen test (RAT), if experiencing flu-like symptoms on the day of the assessment. 

Regions Venue Assessment date Application closing date
New Zealand Wellington Regional Hospital Thursday 11 May Closed
New South Wales Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Friday 19 May 2023 Closed
Queensland Metro South Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital Monday 22 May 2023 Closed
Western Australia Royal Perth Hospital Tuesday 23 May 2023 Closed
Victoria Geelong University Hospital Saturday 3 June 2023 Closed
Queensland Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) Saturday 9 September 2023 TBC
New South Wales Liverpool Hospital Saturday 23 September 2023 TBC

Trainees based in Hong Kong are advised that the long case assessment will be held at the Queen Mary Hospital in October 2023. The date will be communnicated in due course.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to sit the external long case assessment, the following criteria must be met by the application closing date:

  • Completion of at least one satisfactory ITA
  • Completion of the general physical examination assessment and 
  • Successful completion of a local long case.

If unsuccessful at the external long case assessment, a trainee must complete an additional local long case assessment prior to re-sitting the external long case. 

FPM fellowship exam

Application form

The Fellowship examination covers the theory and practice of pain medicine and comprises of two sections; the written examination and the oral examination. Candidates who are successful in the written examination are invited to the oral examination. Candidates must complete both sections of the fellowship examination in the same sitting to achieve a pass. 

Applications for the 2023 sitting will close on 7 August 2023. All eligibility criteria must be met by the closing date for the examination. 

Any applications for special consideration are due four weeks prior to the closing date. For 2023, candidates who would prefer to handwrite their answers to the written examination may nominate to do so at the time of applying to sit. 

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes in the pain medicine training program curriculum guide the range of content which may be assessed. Competencies relevant to the knowledge, behaviours and clinical skills are found in sections one to three of the FPM curriculum.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate an understanding of what treatments/therapies are available and may be undertaken when referring a patient to other pain management specialists.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to sit the fellowship exam, trainees must:

  • Complete two satisfactory in-training assessments (ITAs) by the application closing date.
  • Submit the application form with payment of the examination fee by the closing date
Late applications are unable to be accepted.





Written section

10 short-answer questions (SAQ)

2.5 hours

Oral section

4 objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) stations

10 minutes each

4  structured Viva voce examination stations

15 minutes each


Dates and venues



Dates Venue(s)

Written examination

Thursday 14 September 2023 Australia: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville

New Zealand: Wellington

Hong Kong and Singapore

Oral examination

11 November 2023 Melbourne

The faculty may need to alter the exam due to unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19. If this occurs, the faculty will advise all prospective candidates accordingly. 

The oral examination will be held face-to-face in Melbourne and in the event of changing circumstances, aspects of the examination may need to be altered.  If this occurs, the faculty will notify all candidates of the arrangements. 

Supporting resources

Several resources are available to assist candidates with the preparations of the fellowship examination:

Withdrawing from the examination

Candidates wishing to withdraw their application on medical or compassionate grounds must inform the faculty in writing before the date of the exam. 

Trainees unable to attend the examination

On the day of the exam, if a candidate is unable to present for the exam on medical or compassionate grounds, the candidate must submit a written notice and provide evidence of cause within seven days of the exam.

No special consideration will be given to a candidate who elects against advice to continue with the exam.

Conditions of entry for FPM exams

Important information for all candidates participating in FPM exams, including our conditions of application and entry.

Find out more

Demo written exam

A demonstration exam has been set up to assist pain medicine trainees as they prepare for the written examination.

Find out more

You might be interested in...

24 Dec 2019


From formal submissions to social media campaigns, we leverage our professional reputation and re...

Find out more


The ANZCA Medal recognises major contributions by fellows to the status of anaesthesia, intensive...

Find out more


Awarded in recognition of those who make extraordinary and critically important contributions (cl...

Find out more
17 Dec 2020


Everything you need to know about college elections, including dates, eligibility, and campaignin...

Find out more
08 Sep 2021

EPM Online

EPM Online provides a primer in the essentials of pain management. It covers the tools that can b...

Find out more
28 Apr 2023

FPM turns 25!

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM). Find out what we're d...

Find out more

Our museum

The Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History was founded in 1935. It showcases over 170 years ...

Find out more


Ulimaroa is a heritage listed, 19th Century Italianate mansion, now incorporated into our Melbour...

Find out more
Last updated 09:49 18.05.2023