It was the first time the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)'s divisional written exam had been delivered online, managed by computer-based testing solutions provider Pearson Vue.
The medical college apologised to students for yesterday's technical error and said it had decided that all students would resit the exam - this time via pen and paper - "in order to be fair".
"We understand that some trainees have booked leave or holidays following today’s computer based test, and we are working as quickly as possible to reschedule a new exam," the RACP said in a statement.
"It is likely to be more than 24 hours before we can notify candidates of a new exam date."
The college said it had "explored all options" with Pearson Vue after the "unknown technical fault" locked a "significant" number of students out of the computer-based test and unable to complete the second part of the exam, but ultimately decided to call it off.
"The RACP is very disappointed that there has been a problem with today’s [exam], and we apologise to all trainee candidates for the distress caused," it said.
Harrowing reporting on the impact of the issue is found here:
Burnt-out doctors deeply distressed by botched high-stakes examKate Aubusson, Jenny Noyes
Published: February 21 2018 - 9:32AM
Up to 1200 doctors are deeply distressed by the Royal Australian College of Physicians “appalling” handling of an IT meltdown that wiped out a crucial, high-stakes examination on Monday.
Senior physicians have raised serious concerns for the mental health and wellbeing of the registrars now forced to resit the test after months of gruelling study regimen, hospital workloads and personal sacrifice.
A technical fault abruptly shut down the basic training exam. The test cost each candidate $1800 to sit and is a requirement for doctors aspiring to specialise as physicians or paediatricians.
The college is facing mounting criticism from its membership, with calls for its president and others responsible for the incident to resign.
Several doctors who sat the botched exam spoke to Fairfax Media on condition of anonymity over concerns that speaking publicly could impact on their future careers.
As crowds of confused registrars poured out of exam centres across the country, many were crying inconsolably, visibly distressed and angry.
“It was just awful … complete chaos” one registrar said.
“There were a number of candidates sitting on kerbs crying ... no one [was] advising of what happens next.”
Several registrars described chaotic scenes long before the technical meltdown.
Lots more here:
Computer glitch in hardest exam of your life is unforgivableSanj Mudaliar
Published: February 21 2018 - 12:06PM
It’s hard to explain to someone outside the medical field what this examination means to those who sit it. The anguish that it can cause and the amount of time that candidates spend preparing.
After roughly 10 years of training and a lifetime of exams, the Royal Australian College of Physicians examination is the last written one you have to sit - and pass - on the road to becoming a fully fledged physician or paediatrician. It assesses your knowledge across all the medical specialties. It is the final hurdle, the finish line, what many see - correctly or incorrectly - as the point where they can stop striving for a life and start actually living one. Holidays, weddings, even births, have all been put on hold, planned around this last brutal test.
Which is why the 1200 or so junior doctors who had to abandon their attempts at the exam on Monday because of a computer glitch are so distressed.
The written exam consists of two papers - a basic sciences and a clinical paper - and is held only once a year, on the same day nationwide. It takes 6.5 hours to complete, with a one-hour break, and covers two years' worth of study. The written exam is like the hardest, broadest university-level final exam you have ever sat. This year, for the first time, it was held in small venues across the country, with eight to 15 candidates per room, instead of in one central venue in each capital city.
Lots of annoyed rage found here: