IT supplier refunds student fees for botched doctor exam

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IT supplier refunds student fees for botched doctor exam

Human error caused system failure.

Education testing software vendor Pearson Vue has agreed to refund the fee students paid to sit a botched online exam after finding "human error" was behind the failure.

Last Monday a number of trainee doctors found themselves locked out of the crucial computer-based 'basic divisional written exam' and unable to complete the second part of the test.

The exam, administered by the Royal Australian College of Physicians, is the gateway for trainee doctors to enter a specialist practice in either adult internal medicine or paediatrics and child health at the end of their first four years of training.

Students spend up to two years studying for the exam. It has been described as the hardest exam in a trainee doctor's life. 

This year was the first time the test had been provided online, in partnership with provider Pearson Vue.

The RACP later decided to void all the results from the exam and reschedule it - on paper - for March 2, free of charge. The exam costs $1800.

The organisation also publicly released all the questions from the first test to even the playing field.

Pearson Vue last week told iTnews the failure had stemmed from an "unfortunate issue" with the "set-up" of the exam. 

Today the RACP said the provider had informed it that "human error" in the quality assurance process of the setup was to blame. The RACP and Pearson Vue have been contacted for further detail.

The RACP said Pearson Vue had agreed to provide a full refund to the 1200 students who had sat last week's exam.

Students will similarly not be charged for the rescheduled exam this Friday, nor the alternative date of March 23 the RACP has organised for those who can't make it on March 2.

The RACP's board said it had requested an inquiry into the system failure by both the college and Pearson Vue.

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