APC Clinical Assessment for Physiotherapists in Australia

Understanding the APC Clinical Assessment for Physiotherapists in Australia

May 07, 2024 3 min read
APC Clinical Assessment for Physiotherapists in Australia

Key Takeaways:

  • The APC Clinical Assessment is a key step for overseas-trained physiotherapists to practise in Australia.
  • It includes four segments: Reading Time, Verbal Summary Time, Patient Time, and Oral Reporting Time.
  • The assessment evaluates clinical competence, covering areas like musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.

To become a registered physiotherapist in Australia, you have to clear the APC exam by the Australian Physiotherapy Council. The Australian Physiotherapy Council provides four assessment pathways, of which the standard assessment pathway is the most common one for overseas-trained physiotherapists. In this pathway, the APC exam has two parts:

In this blog, we will discuss the APC clinical assessment.

Introduction to the APC Clinical Assessment

After you choose the standard assessment pathway, you will have to clear the APC written assessment and clinical assessment. The APC clinical assessment is designed to evaluate the clinical competence and readiness of physiotherapists to practise safely and effectively in Australia. It assesses candidates' ability to apply their knowledge, skills, and clinical reasoning in real-life scenarios, ensuring they meet the high standards set by the profession. It contains three practical assessments:

  • Musculoskeletal physiotherapy
  • Neurological physiotherapy
  • Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy

Structure of the Assessment

The Clinical Assessment typically lasts about 75 minutes and consists of four main segments:

Reading Time (10 minutes): Candidates review background information about the patient.

Verbal Summary Time (5 minutes): Candidates give the Assessors a verbal summary of the patient's information.

Patient Time (50 minutes): Candidates conduct an assessment and treatment of the patient.

Oral Reporting Time (10 minutes): Assessors can ask for clarification and discuss the candidate's treatment approach.

The assessment consists of multiple components, each designed to evaluate specific aspects of a candidate's clinical proficiency:

Reading Time: This is where candidates review patient information provided to them. It could include summary notes, referral notes, test results, and, in some cases, acute medical notes. Once Reading Time starts, you can't withdraw from the assessment without it counting as an attempt.

Verbal Summary Time: After Reading Time, candidates have up to 5 minutes to summarise the patient information for the Assessors. After this, candidates can collect any equipment they think they'll need for the assessment. Setting up in the gym is part of the Patient Time, and any extra time taken before Patient Time officially begins could lead to it starting early.

Patient Time: Candidates have 50 minutes to assess and treat the patient in the treatment room. There will be time checks at the 20-minute and 40-minute marks. Patient Time can end early if agreed upon by everyone or if the Assessors have safety concerns. During this period, Assessors will not speak unless it's for safety reasons, clarification, or if asked to assist. If the candidate needs additional equipment, they must fetch it without pausing the timer.

Oral Reporting Time: After Patient Time, Assessors may use up to 10 minutes to discuss the candidate's treatment plan and rationale. They might also inquire about ongoing patient management.

Key Components Assessed

The components assessed in the APC clinical assessment include:

  • Collection of patient information and formation of a preliminary hypothesis
  • Designing and conducting a safe assessment
  • Interpretation and analysis of assessment findings
  • Development of a physiotherapy intervention plan 
  • Implementation of safe and effective physiotherapy intervention
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of physiotherapy intervention
  • Communication

Preparation for the APC Clinical Assessment

Here are some things you should keep in mind when you prepare for the APC clinical assessment.

Ensure Professional Indemnity Insurance

To participate in the APC clinical assessment, you need professional indemnity insurance with a minimum coverage of $5 million. You must provide the Australian Physiotherapy Council with a Certificate of Currency as proof. Most candidates receive free professional indemnity insurance through associate membership with the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Complete the Council's Orientation

Before your assessment, watch the Council's orientation video and explore other related resources. This orientation will help you understand what to expect during the clinical assessment. 

Review the Simulation Equipment List

Familiarise yourself with the equipment that will be available in the simulation lab for your clinical assessment. This list will help you plan your assessment and ensure you know what tools are at your disposal.

Read the Clinical Assessment Information Booklet

Carefully review the clinical assessment information booklet. This document explains the assessment format, marking criteria, important guidelines for the day, and other key information to help you prepare. Make sure you understand the rules and expectations to avoid any surprises on the day of your assessment.

You can find all the resources on the official website of the Australian Physiotherapy Council.


The APC clinical assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of physiotherapy graduates' readiness for professional practice in Australia. By assessing candidates' clinical skills, knowledge, communication abilities, and professionalism, the assessment ensures that future physiotherapists meet the high standards expected of the profession. Through thorough preparation and dedication, candidates can successfully navigate this milestone on their path to becoming competent and compassionate physiotherapy practitioners.


Q: What is the fee for the APC clinical assessment?

Ans: The fee for the APC clinical assessment is AUD 4,263.

Q: What is the APC clinical assessment?

Ans: The APC clinical assessment is a practical examination for physiotherapists who want to practise in Australia. It evaluates their clinical competence and readiness to work in the Australian healthcare system. The assessment includes tasks in musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.

Nuha Mariyam
Nuha Mariyam
about the author

Nuha Mariyam has more than three years of experience in content writing. She strongly believes in the power of creativity and the impact that it makes. With a keen eye for detail and a love for words, Nuha specialises in creating engaging and informative content across various fields, including healthcare.