Performance of candidates with dyslexia in the Applied Knowledge Test for Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners

Talk Code: 
Zahid Asghar
ZB Asghar, AN Siriwardena, J Larcombe, C Elfes, CA Neden, A Salim, J Richardson, D Smalley, C Blow
Author institutions: 
University of Lincoln


Few studies have investigated performance of candidates with dyslexia in licensing examinations. Candidates taking the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT), a high stakes computer based knowledge test component of the medical licensing examination for UK general practitioners, can declare that they have dyslexia following expert assessment and request reasonable adjustments.The aim of this study was to compare the performance of AKT candidates who declared an expert-confirmed diagnosis of dyslexia with those who did not


We used routinely collected performance and demographic data from all candidates who took AKT examinations between 2010 and 2015.We used multivariate logistic regression to analyse performance of candidates either declaring or not declaring dyslexia, after adjusting for candidate characteristics known to be associated with examination success including number of attempts.


The analysis included data from 14 examinations involving 14,801 candidates of which 2.6% (379/14801) declared dyslexia. The pass rate for candidates who declared dyslexia (83.6%) was lower than those who did not (95%), but after adjusting for other factors linked to examination success including age, sex, country of primary medical qualification, stage of training, number of attempts and total time spent on questions, we found that dyslexia was not associated with lower pass rates in the AKT.


We found no evidence of differential attainment in candidates declaring dyslexia compared with those who did not. Licensing bodies when monitoring examination performance in candidates with disabilities should take into account other determinants of success.

Submitted by: 
Zahid Asghar
Funding acknowledgement: