Article on the CCT of the MICGP

07 November 2018


The candidate perspective of the clinical competency test (CCT) of the MICGP examination: a mixed-methods study

Tony Foley, Kathleen McLoughlin, Elaine K Walsh, Paul Leggett, MurĂ­osa O'Reilly, Molly Owens and Aisling A Jennings

BJGPOpen 2018; 2 (3): bjgpopen18X101605. DOI:


Background The clinical competency test (CCT) was introduced by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) in 2015. Similar to the clinical skills assessment (CSA) of the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners exam (MRCGP), the CCT is a modified objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).

Aim The aim of this study was to evaluate the MICGP CCT from the candidates' perspective, to gain an insight into their views of its fairness, relevance, and acceptability.

Design & setting This mixed-methods study was conducted with GP registrars in Ireland.

Method The study was conducted in two phases. Firstly, focus groups were conducted with participants who had previously undertaken the CCT to explore their experience of the CCT. Secondly, findings from the focus groups informed the development of an online questionnaire, which was sent to all GP registrars who completed the CCT in the 2017 summer sitting.

Results Two focus groups were held with a total of nine participants. Following this, the online questionnaire was emailed to 134 registrars. Of these, 83 registrars completed the questionnaire in full. Registrars reported that the CCT is a fair exam and is relevant to daily general practice. They considered the exam to be a comprehensive assessment that has a positive educational impact. However, they were challenged by time restrictions, and found it financially and emotionally stressful.

Conclusion This is the first study to evaluate the candidate's perspective of an exiting GP membership exam in the UK or Ireland. The CCT is well-regarded by registrars. The study results will help to inform the future development of the CCT exam.

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