Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for Frequently Asked Questions. We hope the answer to your query is posted on here. If it isn’t then please contact us.

What is the General Practitioner Certificate (GPCert)?

The ISVPS GPCert is a middle-tier qualification awarded to veterinary surgeons who successfully pass our assessments following the completion of a dedicated modular training programme accredited by us. This ensures that you are provided with the highest quality of appropriate practical and clinically relevant training to prepare you for undertaking the GPCert assessments. The General Practitioner Certificate is awarded in recognition of the additional time dedicated to furthering your knowledge and passion and indicates that you have achieved a deeper and more thorough understanding in your area of interest which can then be applied to general practice. The GPCert is NOT a specialist qualification but will provide you with the tools and knowledge to deal with cases in your specific area of interest in general practice with the highest level of confidence and skill.

What assessment methods are used for the GPCert?

To attain the General Practitioner Certificate in your chosen subject you will need to complete the following assessments:

(1)    A 2300-2500 word clinical case report
(2)    A 25 question practical spot test examination
(3)    A multiple choice question (MCQ) examination*

*50 MCQ examination for clinicals

The clinical case report should be written in a standard format (detailed in our candidate handbook) which will allow your examiner to assess your knowledge, problem solving skills and selection of diagnostic tests and case management, all of which must be clearly justified.  You will also be required to demonstrate self-reflection on your case.  This is a very important aspect of all ISVPS assessments as one of our important aims is to help you develop your problem-solving skills and self-reflective learning. Further guidance on case report writing will be provided at the time of certificate registration (course registration).

All of our practical spot test questions and MCQs are written by Board-Certified Specialists in each of their specialist areas. These are then reviewed by our team of veterinary specialist examiners prior to preparation of the examination paper. This ensures that we maintain the highest level of quality during the examination process and that all MCQs remain highly clinically relevant (many will be based on case-based scenarios).


How much study time should I dedicate in preparation for the GPCert?

The general practitioner certificate assessments encompass the whole syllabus for your chosen course so it is imperative that your self-directed study covers this (the course may not cover all of the syllabus).  The modular course and provided texts will provide the structure required to study but you will need to supplement this with additional study in your own time.  Typically, over a one-year modular course, total study time for the GPCert will be approximately 400 hours (this includes the course lecture times) and for a two year modular course total study time will be approximately 600 hours. This equates to approximately 10-15 hours of additional study time (outside of the taught course) per month to work on private study, enhancement of reflective learning and case report completion.

What is the process for assessment submission and taking the examination?

On registration for the examination you will have access to your dedicated candidate area. This is where you will find your candidate handbook and all information relevant to the assessment and examination process including assessment deadlines and the examination date and venue. This is also where your case report will be uploaded in due course. Turnitin® anti-plagiarism software can be used for ISVPS assessment submissions. This allows us to ensure that all work submitted for assessment is the candidates own original work and also allows detailed feedback to be provided. All of our examiners use a marking rubric to ensure that the marking scheme is fair, comparable and robust across all countries. Ensuring the highest level of quality and originality of the submitted work is crucial to ensuring the high standards of our certificates.

All of our examination materials are processed and managed by ExamSoft®, a sophisticated and innovative software system that ensures all of the ISVPS examination questions are encrypted to maintain the integrity of all examination materials. The MCQs are also blue-printed to the learning objectives for your course. This ensures that we are fair and thorough in assessing your knowledge and problem-solving skills during the examination process. ExamSoft® also provides detailed feedback after your examination regarding your exam performance, areas of strength and any areas of weakness that we may advise dedicating further study time to.

All of our examinations (practical spot test and MCQs) are completed using a computerised offline examination software system called Examplify® (ExamSoft®). This system allows the candidate to download their encrypted examination paper prior to the examination date (hence wireless access is not required on the date of the examination). The candidate will then be given a code on the date of the examination to unlock the encryption and start the examination. As soon as the examination is initiated, the candidate’s laptop will be “locked down” to ensure that no other materials (including the internet) can be accessed during the examination period. This is essential to ensure the integrity of our examination process and the robustness and quality of our examination results. This requires all candidates wishing to sit the GPCert examinations to own a suitable laptop to allow them to undertake the examinations*.

*Details of laptop requirements are provided in the candidate handbook.

What happens if I am unsuccessful in my case report or examinations?

You will receive your results (case report and examinations) within 6 weeks of the exam date. If you fail any area of the assessment process, you will only be required to repeat the failed part (at the next available attempt which is typically one year later) and you have a total of 3 attempts at each part of the assessment process. If you pass all 3 parts of the assessement you will be awarded the General Practitioner Certificate and will receive a printed copy of this certificate which you may display in your clinic. You can also use the relevant postnominals immediately e.g. GPCert(FelP), General Practitioner Certificate in Feline Practice.

What is included in the practical spot test examination?

The practical spot test examination is considered a more balanced and relevant assessment tool for candidates in clinical practice.  It allows a more clinically relevant assessment of the candidates’ knowledge and skills and evaluates how they apply this to clinical case scenarios via the aid of videos (e.g. ophthalmic examination, procedures, clinical techniques), photographic images (e.g. equipment, cytology, clinical case scenarios [e.g. gross skin lesions and cytological assessment of these]), radiographs, CT images and flowcharts. This assessment method will also allow valuable feedback to the candidate via a formal report (marking areas of strength and weakness).