Why do we need it?

The Covid-19 pandemic means it is impossible to run the CSA at present. Something that does the job of the CSA – tests a prospective GP’s application of knowledge, clinical and consultation skills in patient scenarios – is needed to allow trainees to progress to completing their training. All stakeholders in GP education and training, including trainees, were involved in the decision to make this replacement an assessment of recorded consultations and you can read the letter here

What is it?

The RCA assesses the ability to integrate and apply clinical, professional, communication and practical skills appropriate for general practice. It is undertaken by candidates in their normal working environment (including at home if required) and should provide an objective assessment of their real-life practise.

  • Thirteen recorded audio or video consultations
  • Expected to be approximately ten minutes long
  • These can be any combination of captures of face-to-face, telephone, or video consultations
  • An IT solution to facilitate upload and capture will be provided
  • You can use previously recorded consultations, so long as not used as a COTs before
  • Cases should demonstrate the breadth of the curriculum, with different levels of challenge
  • The consultations will be marked by RCGP examiners using CSA standards and criteria

Where can I find out more?

The official guidance is on the RCGP website and that is the most important place to check for up to date information.

The RCGP website can sometimes be difficult to navigate, but I would keep an eye on the MRCGP exam page and your inboxes.

What cases should I choose?

For now just think that to demonstrate your readiness to be a GP, it makes sense to choose a selection of cases from across different curriculum areas. Also, whilst some cases could be relatively simple, submitting 13 ingrowing toe nails is unlikely to pass…

How much does it cost?

Unconfirmed but likely to cost the same as the CSA


  1. Yes, the way that we are consulting has changed and the way that this is being assessed is different, but this is basically still the CSA, so prepare for it in the same way
  2. That means practice, practice, practice
  3. Do as many consultations as you can; get as much feedback as you can
  4. Start recording now, the consultations you are doing now can be used
  5. Get used to the feeling of being recorded, make it feel normal.
  6. Watch the clock, learn what ten minutes feels like
  7. Listen to and trust your educators, work with them to develop a learning plan and work on that there growth mindset
  8. Read up on telephone and video consultations
  9. Don’t forget to still focus on your clinical knowledge
  10. Develop, know and apply your consultation structure