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.

Recognising that a number of external long case assessments have been postponed due to COVID-19, trainees who have less than 3 months training remaining and who have completed the local long case, the fellowship examination and have submitted the clinical case study may apply to sit the external long case assessment within their training unit. For information on what steps would be required for this temporary arrangement please contact

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

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. 

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

30 September 2021 Australia: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville

New Zealand: Wellington

Other FPM regions: Hong Kong and Singapore

Oral examination

27 November 2021* Via videoconference from various cities

*Dates and venues may be subject to change as a result of unforeseen pandemic related circumstances.

The oral examination will be held on Saturday 27 November 2021 via videoconference from various cities. While venues are still to be confirmed for 2021, in 2020 the oral component was held in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Singapore and Hong Kong. An orientation to the oral component will be held with candidates in the lead up to this examination. 

The faculty may need to introduce changes to the examination process as a result of COVID-19. If this occurs, trainees will be advised.

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

Last updated 10:09 29.09.2021