Trainee doctors who sat a core exam yesterday have had their results voided after a "technical fault" locked some students out of the second half of the test.
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.
"We will of course hold a full and transparent inquiry into the causes of today’s events."
The divisional written examination tests a trainee doctor's knowledge for specialist practice in adult internal medicine or paediatrics and child health at the end of their first four years of training. It costs at least $1800.
This year was the first time the exam was delivered via a computer. The RACP previously said this solution would "provide a modern, secure, robust and reliable service for the delivery of the written examinations".
Seriously poor form by one of he largest medical colleges in Australia. pic.twitter.com/edr3gzrdEe— Bav Manoharan (@bav_manoharan) February 19, 2018
Such a mess by @PearsonVUE. The flow on effects to the trainees and hospitals is unprecedented both emotionally and financially. Where was the back up contingency plan?— Dr Hari Nandakoban (@harinandakoban) February 19, 2018
I love computers and solving problems with tech but the @TheRACP exam debacle is a poignant demonstration of the need for backup systems and plans.— Ross Scott-Weekly (@rscottweekly) February 19, 2018
I think a period of deep reflection about the human price of such a major issue is probably warranted.