Australia

Trainee doctors will get their money back for botched online exam

Related Story: Trainee doctors left 'crying', 'distressed' after computer glitch crashes online exam

Hundreds of trainee doctors will be given a refund after a complex online exam they were sitting was suddenly aborted due to a computer glitch.

Key points:

  • Trainees will not be charged for attempting the resit exam scheduled for Friday
  • The botched attempt last week was run by the international IT company Pearson Vue
  • The mishap has caused distress throughout the medical profession

Trainee physicians were five hours into the crucial test last week when it was suddenly cancelled.

The exam, taken by doctors once they have completed medical training, is an important step for trainees who want to become a physician or paediatrician.

The Board of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) on Tuesday announced it will pay more than $2 million in refunds, with 1,200 trainees across Australia and New Zealand to be reimbursed the exam fee of almost $2,000.

The RACP said trainees would not be charged for attempting the resit exam scheduled for Friday, or the alternative date on March 23.

If a trainee does not pass the resit or alternative resit exam, it will not be counted as one of the three attempts at the examination the trainees are allowed.

The botched attempt last week was run by the international IT company Pearson Vue, on behalf of the RACP. It was also the first time the exam was conducted online.

Pearson Vue said the failure related to human error in the quality assurance phase of the exam set-up.

RACP president Dr Catherine Yelland said the college had requested an inquiry be conducted into the computer shut down.

"We have also been in close discussion with our computer-based exam provider Pearson Vue to understand why the computer system shut down and to negotiate a full-exam-fee refund for trainees," she said.

"Our focus now is on getting trainees through the paper-based exam this Friday."

Technical glitch 'incredibly distressing'

One Facebook user said she only found out her first attempt did not count when already at home.

"Sat the whole things and was home when I found out it didn't count," she wrote.

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John Zorbas, chairman of the Australian Medical Association Council of Doctors in Training, said the event had caused distress throughout the medical profession.

"This is an exam that some people have [been] studying for years for, and for it to come apart at the last minute because of a technical glitch without a backup system in place is incredibly distressing for these trainees," Dr Zorbas said.

In an anonymous letter, one doctor wrote candidates were struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

"The way these candidates have been treated goes a long way to explaining why these rates of mental illness are so high," it read.

"When the decision was finally made to cancel the examination, candidates were seen outside examination venues crying, struggling to come to terms with the fact that what was meant to be an evening of relief, was one of more anxiety and uncertainty."

Original Article

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