FAQs

Visit this section regularly to see the new frequently asked questions posted. Our questions are split into groups to make them easier to view.

Application Process

General
Who is eligible to apply for the Foundation Programme?
  • UK medical school graduates who have been nominated by their medical school.
  • UK medical school graduates who graduated more than two years prior to the start of the programme who have applied through the UKFPO’s  Eligibility Office and their application has been deemed eligible.
  • Overseas graduates who have applied through the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office and their application has been deemed eligible.
How do I apply for foundation training / to the Foundation Programme?

Applicants will either be nominated by a UK medical school or by the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office (please refer to separate guidance for Eligibility Office applicants). Decile scores will be available.

All applications should be submitted through the Oriel (national online application system). Applicants can access Oriel via https://www.oriel.nhs.uk. Applicants are advised to start their applications early to allow sufficient time to complete the necessary sections of the application form and to gather evidence in support of their application.

How is my application scored?

Applications will have a maximum score of 100 points and this will consist of two components: -

  1. Educational Performance Measure (EPM) – 50 points maximum
  2. Situational Judgement Test (SJT) – 50 points maximum
Can I link my application to another applicant?

Yes. You can link your FP application to that of another applicant to ensure you are both allocated to the same UoA, providing you both score highly enough to be allocated to the primary list. Please note that you can only link to one other applicant.

Links will not be considered if either applicant accepts an AFP offer.

You cannot link with someone who is applying for special circumstances.

Links will be broken if preferences are amended following the close of the application window.

The decile score displayed on my Oriel account is different to the one my medical school gave me, what should I do?

You should contact your medical school at the earliest opportunity and they will be able to request for this to be amended prior to 13th December 2018.

How do I apply for less than full-time training?

You will have an opportunity to indicate that you would like to work on the less than full-time basis on your application form. Please speak to your foundation school at the earliest opportunity once you have been allocated.

How will I be allocated to a place / how does the allocation process work?

All applicants will be ranked in score order and given a unique rank on Oriel. In the event of tied scores, the decile score will be used to break the ties. If there are still tied scores, the SJT score will be used to break the ties and then ties will be broken randomly. The unique ranks will be carried forward for the process of matching to groups and individual programmes.

If there are more eligible applicants than places, the ‘n’ top ranking applicants will automatically be placed on the primary list, where ‘n’ is the total number of FP places available across the UK. Applicants who are not allocated to the primary list will be placed on a reserve list and will be allocated in batches on predetermined dates.

Following the national allocation process, local foundation schools manage the process of group / programme matching. Applicants are advised to check the websites of each foundation school to familiarise themselves with local matching processes.

What happens if there are not enough foundation jobs for the number of applicants who apply?

Applicants will be allocated in batches when vacancies arise due to applicant withdrawals.

Is it possible for me to be allocated to my first preference if I am on the reserve list?

Yes. Places will arise due to applicant withdrawals. These places could be located anywhere across the programme.

Can I appeal against the outcome of my application?

You can appeal against national elements of the application process. This includes appeals relating to eligibility for overseas graduated and UK medical school graduates who qualified more than two years prior to the start of the programme, verified educational achievements scores, clinical assessment and special circumstances. You can view the processes here.

What happens if I do not wish to accept the post?

You must contact your allocated foundation school at the earliest convenience and request for your application to be withdrawn. Please note that if you choose to withdraw your application, you will not be able to work as a doctor in the UK with provisional registration under the GMC guidelines. You will need to apply again the following year.

What is the process for providing references for the Foundation Programme?

Referees will be able to submit references online through Oriel from March – April. After this time, the foundation schools and your employing organisation will chase referees for references. It is not a problem if your referees do not complete a reference online.

What happens if I do not pass my final exams and graduate as expected?

You will not be eligible to commence foundation training and your application will need to be withdrawn. You will be able to apply the following year.

I applied last year but did not take up a post, do I need to sit the SJT again?

Yes.

Educational Performance Measure (EPM)
What is the Educational Performance Measure (EPM)?

The EPM is a measure of clinical and non-clinical skills, knowledge and performance up to the point of application. The EPM comprises two elements: medical school performance in deciles for which 34-43 points are available, and educational achievements, which are worth up to 7 points. A maximum of 50 points can be awarded for the EPM.

What are EPM decile scores?

Your medical school performance score will be calculated by your medical school, which will divide your year group into 10 equal groups (deciles) based on performance in a number of assessments.

How is the decile score calculated?

Each UK medical school has agreed with its students, which assessments will be included in this measure. This element of the EPM is known as the EPM decile score. If you are in the first decile (the top 10% of your year), you will receive a score of 43; if you are in the second decile, your score will be 42; the third decile 41 and so on. Students in the tenth decile will be awarded 34 points.

If you are graduating from a UK medical school, these scores will be supplied by your medical school and uploaded onto the Oriel system.

If you are applying through the Eligibility Office, your EPM decile score will be calculated from the medical school ranking information provided on your Dean’s Statement. The Eligibility Office will upload your EPM decile score.

How many points are available for additional educational achievements?

A maximum of 7 points can be awarded for educational achievements: -

  1. Maximum of 5 points for an additional degree (please refer to the Applicants’ Handbook for details of how many points are awarded for different qualifications)
  2. Maximum of 2 points for publications (1 point for each publication).
Can I upload more than one piece of evidence for educational achievements?

No. All documents should be scanned into one combined document.

I have a BSc and an MSc; how can I record both?

You will only have the option to provide details and evidence for one additional degree. You should choose the one that would result in the most points being awarded.

Can I send evidence of educational achievements to the UKFPO for checking beforehand?

No. The UKFPO is unfortunately unable to provide a pre-checking service.

If the verification panel deems that my evidence does not meet the criteria, will there be an opportunity to provide additional / alternate evidence?

No. All supporting evidence must be provided at the time of application.

Is the EPM score used as part of selection for the Academic Foundation Programmes (AFP)?

Scoring criteria for AFP selection is determined locally by each academic foundation school. Some schools will use the EPM score and other won’t. You are advised to the refer to the scoring criteria published on individual foundation school websites.

I have completed all the work required for an additional degree, but I do not graduate until after the closing date for applications, will I still be awarded the points?

No. All additional degrees must have been awarded / ratified by the closing date for applications.

I have completed all the work required for an additional degree, but I do not graduate until after the closing date for applications, will I still be awarded the points?

No. All additional degrees must have been awarded / ratified by the closing date for applications.

My degree certificate doesn’t state the classification of my degree, will this be accepted?

The certificate will not be accepted. If you qualified from Cambridge University, please provide your transcript as well as your degree certificate to demonstrate your classification.

Will points be awarded for Postgraduate diplomas?

No.

I have been awarded a degree, but I do not have the certificate yet, what evidence can I provide?

You can provide a degree confirmation letter from your medical school. Please refer to the Applicants’ Handbook for specific criteria.

I have been awarded a degree, but I do not have the certificate yet, what evidence can I provide?

You can provide a degree confirmation letter from your medical school. Please refer to the Applicants’ Handbook for specific criteria.

My degree certificate is not in English, will this be accepted?

You will need to provide an official translation.

Do I have to be the first named author on a publication to the awarded the point?

No.

If I am listed on PubMed as a collaborator and not an author, would I still be awarded a point?

No.

I have a publication with a PCMID number, does this qualify for a point?

No.

If I mistype the PubMed ID number, will the verifying panel search for the publication on the website and verify the information by author and title of publication?

No. The panel must be able to click once on the link from your application to reach your publication.

Situational Judgement Test
What is the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)?

The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is a test for employment and not a medical school exam. It is used as part of the selection process for entry to the Foundation and Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) to test the attributes needed to work as a foundation doctor.

When will I have to take the SJT?

All applicants to the Foundation Programme commencing in August 2019, including the Academic Foundation Programme, are required to take the SJT in the UK on either: -

  1. Friday 7th December 2018, 10:00 -12:20 AM
  2. Monday 7th January 2019, 10:00 -12:20 AM
Who needs to take the SJT?

All applicants for the two-year foundation programme (provisionally registered doctors) need to sit the SJT and achieve a satisfactory score in accordance with the national person specification.

Applicants for stand-alone programmes (doctors who hold or expect to hold full registration) do not need to sit the SJT.

How can I prepare for the SJT?

There are practice papers available on the UKFPO website on the Applicant Guidance page.

How long is the test?

2 hours and 20 minutes.

Can I appeal against my SJT score?

No. 

I have previously applied to the Foundation Programme, can my previous SJT score be carried forward?

No.

Where will I sit the SJT?
  • If you are a UK medical school graduate, you will be expected to sit the SJT at your medical school.
  • If you graduated from a non-UK medical school or a UK medical school prior to 07 August 2017 (i.e. all applicants who applied through the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office), you will be invited to the sit the SJT at a venue in London.
Can I sit the SJT in another country?

No. All applicants must sit the SJT in the UK.

I usually have adjustments for my university exams, will this be the case for the SJT?

You will have the option to apply for reasonable adjustments to your medical school. Please refer to the reasonable adjustments guidance available on the UKFPO website on the Applicant Guidance page.

What happens if I am unwell or there is a serious reason why I am unable to sit the SJT?

You will be able to apply for exceptional circumstances to be offered the chance to sit the SJT on a different date. Please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances on the UKFPO website on the Applicant Guidance page.

Academic Foundation Programme

Academic Training
Are all academic foundation posts the same? How do they differ from standard foundation posts?

Academic foundation posts vary in content and length. With respect to content, some focus on research; some on medical education; some on management / leadership and some a combination of all three. The length of AFPs vary considerably from standalone four-month blocks to integrated two-year programmes. It is important to research programmes before you apply so that you can pick the best one for you.

Is an academic foundation programme (AFP) the only route into academic medicine?

No. It is not a requirement for higher academic training for applicants to have completed an AFP.

It is one possible route which allows doctors to sample academic medicine at an early stage in their careers.  You do not have to complete the Academic Foundation Programme to be eligible to apply for an academic clinical fellowship (ACF) at ST1 level as part of your specialist training (e.g. paediatrics, neurology, radiology).  Many doctors will enter academic medicine through an ACF post at ST3 level. It is also possible to compete for funding from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, Cancer UK etc. for a PhD at a later stage in your career without having done an Academic Foundation Programme or been in an ACF post. However, entry criteria for ACF posts will include evidence of academic ability and therefore applicants will have to demonstrate they have achieved some academic output during their earlier training (e.g. peer reviewed publication, national presentation, etc.).

Is the AFP only for trainees who a career in research?

No. It is designed for those interested in pursuing a career in clinical work combined with research, medical education or medical leadership/management.

Will doing an academic post mean I have less clinical experience?

Academic foundation posts are carefully designed to ensure that you have sufficient time to develop clinical skills and experience. As such, trainees normally feel that they have plenty of time to complete their clinical and academic work. 

Do I need to complete the same clinical assessments as other foundation doctors? How do I do this if I am based in a lab?

The UKFPO has minimum clinical criteria that all foundation doctors need to achieve regardless of rotation. Some trainees may find they need to be more proactive than their clinical colleagues to fit the assessments in with their other commitments, but they are very achievable. Some foundation schools will also allow you to do more assessments in other blocks.

Academic Selection
I graduate/d from a non-UK medical school, is it possible for me to apply for an academic job?

Yes. All applicants are welcome to apply for academic training posts. However, please bear in mind that all settled workers will be offered places first in accordance with the current immigration rules and regulations. UK Home Office legislation around right to work in the UK is also subject to change.

How do academic foundation posts differ from the standard two-year programmes?

In the majority of cases, academic trainees will undertake a 4-month placement during their F2 year. This time would be dedicated to academic research, medical education or leadership and management. This does vary across the foundation schools. We would advise you to refer to local foundation school websites for specific details.

What is an academic unit of application?

An academic unit of application (AUoA) is a group of one or more foundation schools that have joined together for the purposes of processing AFP applications. These can be different to the Units of Application (UoA) for the Foundation Programme.

How do I apply for an academic foundation programme?

The application form is the same for both the Academic and standard Foundation Programme; however academic applicants will have additional sections on the form to complete.

First, you must ensure that you are eligible to apply. Please refer to the Applicants’ Handbook.

If you are currently studying at a UK Medical School, they can provide you with the relevant information and will be responsible for nominating you for the application process.

You will then need to complete the online application form. In the academic selection section of the form, you would be required to submit a separate application form if you wish to apply for an AFP. You can apply to up to two academic units of application (AUoAs). Each AUoA will then have its own local process for short-listing and interviewing.

More information about how to apply, together with the timeline, is available in the Applicants’ Handbook on the Applicant Guidance page.

Why can I only apply to two AUoAs?
  • By limiting the number of applications to two UoAs, the UKFPO has found that more applicants secure an AFP post whilst still allowing a level of choice. Historically, a number of academic vacancies remained unfilled each year, when a single applicant received several offers and other applicants were unable to then take up these posts.
  • Another reason is that applicants to academic programmes have indicated that geography is the more important factor when selecting where to apply for the majority of applicants, followed by the type of academic programme on offer. Allowing applicants to apply to two AUoAs addresses the first factor and allows a level of choice for the second factor from an applicant's viewpoint.
Am I excluded from applying to the Foundation Programme 2019 if I am unsuccessful in my academic application?

No. If your AFP application is unsuccessful (or if you decline all AFP offers you receive), you will automatically be included in the main FP application process.

What does my AFP match ranking score consist of?

AFP match ranking score = educational/academic decile score + AUoA score.

Where in Oriel can I find information regarding my Academic application outcome?

Log into your Oriel account and click onto the ‘Applications tab’ to view the status of your application, you will find any AFP offers under the ‘Offers’ tab on your dashboard.

My status on my Oriel dashboard says? Interview Complete? Does this mean I will receive an offer?

It does not mean that you will definitely receive an AFP offer. You may receive an offer; however, it will depend on your ranking and the availability of academic programmes.

My status on my Oriel dashboard says Interview Unsuccessful, what does this mean?

This means that you will not receive an offer as you have scored below the threshold at interview.

How long do I have to accept / decline an offer?

Applicants will have 48 hours to accept from when they receive their offer to accept or decline the offer on Oriel.

What happens if I decline my AFP offer? Could I still be considered for FP?

If you decline an AFP offer, you will automatically be included in the Foundation Programme (FP) allocation process. However, please note that if you accept and AFP offer and then decline the offer / withdraw from the AFP selection process, you will also be withdrawn from the national allocation process to FP.

What happens if I do not accept an offer within the 48-hour period?

The system will assume that you wish to decline to offer. You will not be offered any further programmes from within the AUoA vacancy. If you have applied to a second AUoA, you may still receive an AFP offer. If not, you will be included in the national allocation process to FP.

I have applied to two AUoAs and have not been offered my preferred option; can I decline my current offer and wait to see if I get my preferred option in cascade?

Yes. You can decline your offer and wait to see if you receive an offer during the offers cascades. However, please note that it is not guaranteed that you would receive an offer from your preferred AUoA. If you do not receive the second offer you will be included in the FP allocation process.

What happens if I do not receive any AFP offers?

If you do not receive any AFP offers, you will be included in the national allocation process for FP.

To apply for the AFP do I need an intercalated degree?

No, this is not a requirement.

Where do I find out more information about academic posts?

The foundation school websites will provide more information on the academic posts they offer and their structure. The UKFPO have also produced a couple of documents with programme information on the Academic Training page.

Eligibility

General
I am studying medicine at a non-UK medical school; can I apply to the Foundation Programme?

Yes. You will need to apply through the eligibility application process first over the summer months. Please refer to the Eligibility Applicant Guidance on the Eligibility Information page.

I graduated from a UK medical school this year (in 2018), do I need to apply through the eligibility process?

No. Your UK medical school will be able to nominate you for one more year.

I graduate from a UK medical school prior to August 2017, can I apply for the Foundation Programme?

Yes. You will need to apply through the eligibility application process first over the summer months. Please refer to the Eligibility Applicant Guidanceon the Eligibility Information page.

I have a UK medical degree from a school outside of the UK, will my medical school nominate me?

If you are a UK national, your medical school will be able to nominate you. If you are a non-UK or non-EEA national, you will need to apply through the eligibility application process.

How do I apply through the eligibility process?

You will need to submit an online application through the Oriel system. Please refer to the Eligibility Applicant Guidance on the Eligibility Information page.

Do I need to send any information through the post to the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO)?

No.

If I apply though the eligibility application process, am I required to sit the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)?

All applicants will be required to sit the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) on Friday 7th December 2018 or Monday 7th January 2019. Eligibility applicants will be able to book their SJT slot online on Oriel. The deadline to book for the SJT is 12:00 BST on Monday 3rd September 2018.

If my application is deemed eligible, does this mean that I will be guaranteed a job?

Yes. If your application has been deemed eligible with conditions, the condition must be met. You must also meet all requirements of the person specification, e.g. you will need to achieve a satisfactory SJT.

If you are required to pass PLAB, you must pass both PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 by the deadlines specified.

You will need to ensure you have the right to work in the UK.

How do I apply as a refugee doctor?

Please contact the UKFPO team directly for further advice and support in your application via helpdesk@foundationprogramme.nhs.uk

Degree Qualification
I graduated from a non-UK medical school, what do I need to provide as proof of my degree qualification?
  • You must have a valid medical degree recognised by the GMC by the start of the programme.
  • You must have written approval from your medical school Dean (Dean’s nominated representative) of your suitability to apply for the programme. This is in the form of a Dean’s statement. Please refer to the Eligibility Applicant Guidance on the Eligibility Information page.
Does the Dean’s statement need to be handwritten or typed?

The content of your Dean’s statement needs to be legible. This can be either handwritten or typed. The Dean’s Statement and guidance for completion is available on the Eligibility Information page.

My degree certificate is not in English, can I still apply?

Yes. If your degree certificate is not in English, an official English translation must also be provided.

GMC Registration
What type of GMC registration is required for entry to foundation training?

Provisional registration with a licence to practise. 

If you are unsure which registration to apply for, use the GMC's online applicant registration tool to identify the correct application for you and provide you guidance on the steps you need to take. Please click here to use the tool.

Do I need to be provisionally registered with the GMC when I submit my application?

No. You will need to have applied for and obtained provisional registration by the start of the programme. You are advised to apply for registration at least three months before the start of the programme.

For further information on applying for registration with the GMC, please visit their website here.

What is an internship?

The definition of an internship is a period of pre-graduate or post-graduate clinical experience prior to having a licence to practise medicine unsupervised. You can check if your internship is acceptable on the GMC website here.

I have experience of working in a clinical setting, what level of registration will I be eligible for?

Applicants who have postgraduate experience of working in a clinical setting are advised to liaise with the General Medical Council (GMC) about their registration status. For example, applicants who have undertaken a 12-month internship may be eligible for full registration with the GMC, rendering them ineligible to apply for foundation training.

We would advise you to use the GMC's online applicant registration tool to identify the correct application for you and provide you guidance on the steps you need to take. Please click here to use the tool.

When should I apply for PLAB?

To take PLAB 1, you must have qualified from medical school. The latest PLAB 1 examination date that would allow sufficient time to take PLAB 2 and get GMC provisional registration by the start of the programme is 1st November 2018; UK bookings must be made by 25th October 2018 (subject to availability). 

Applicants should take PLAB 1 as soon as possible to have the best opportunity to complete PLAB 2 before the start of the programme. While it is possible to complete PLAB 2 if you pass PLAB 1 in March, there is no guarantee that there will be sufficient places available at planned PLAB 2 sittings.

If you need to undertake PLAB 1 and PLAB 2, your date of qualification from medical school must be no later than Thursday 25th October 2018.

Can I provide PLAB documentation when the eligibility checking period has closed?

Yes. Documentation must be provided by the deadlines provided by the UKFPO.

What evidence do I need to provide to demonstrate that I am not required to take PLAB?

The UKFPO will be able to determine this from your passport and your medical degree certificate, or a valid Dean’s statement showing that you will qualify from medical school by Thursday 25th October 2018. You may also provide confirmation from the GMC that you have either booked or successfully passed PLAB 1 and / or PLAB 2. Or, if you already have provisional registration, you can provide confirmation of this from the GMC.

English Language Proficiency
What are the English language requirements for entry to foundation training?

You must have demonstrable skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking in English language that enable effective communication in clinical practice with patients and colleagues, as set out in the GMC’s Good Medical Practice (2013).

This can be demonstrated by providing a valid academic IELTS certificate with a minimum score of 7.5 in each domain (speaking, listening, reading and writing) at one sitting, or proof that your primary medical qualification has been undertaken solely in English, that all examinations undertaken were solely in English and that your primary medical qualification has included at least 75% of contact with patients in English.

The General Medical Council (GMC) maintains a list of institutions from which they will not accept evidence of English Language proficiency. Confirmation of English language proficiency on a medical school Dean’s statement will only be considered if the medical school is not on this list. http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/registration_applications/23567.asp 

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication.

Does the Foundation Programme accept the Oxford English Test (OET)?

No.

Some of my documents are in a different name (e.g. maiden name), can I still apply?

Yes. If the names given on your passport, eligibility application form, medical school degree certificate and Dean’s Statement do not match, you must upload documentation to Oriel confirming an official name change (for example, a copy of your marriage certificate or divorce decree certificate).

You must complete all documentation and the online applications using the same name, in the same format each time it is shown. For example, if your name is written as John Smith on the eligibility application form, then it must appear that way in all future documentation and correspondence, not as Jonathan Smith, John A Smith, JA Smith, Smith John, etc. The name you record on your online eligibility application form must match the name on your passport.

I have more than one nationality, which one should I include on my application form?

If you have dual nationality / multi citizenship, please ensure that you complete the online Oriel application with information on the most relevant nationality regarding providing evidence of your right to work in the UK and upload the relevant passport / ID card. 

Please note that the nationality provided on your application form will be used to determine whether or not you would be required to undertake the PLAB examinations.

Clinical Assessment
 How do I know if I am required to undertake the clinical assessment?

If you qualified from medical school on or before 7th August 2017, you must undertake an assessment of your clinical skills in the UK prior to being granted full eligibility.

What does the clinical assessment involve?

The primary purpose of this assessment is to determine suitability to start the foundation programme. The assessments will be undertaken by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Candidates will sit a set of 16-station Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) in approximately four hours.

The clinical assessment will be held from 23rd – 25th October 2018.

Can I choose when I take the clinical assessment?

No. The clinical assessment will be held from 23rd – 25th October 2018. You must attend the date that is provided to you.

I took the clinical assessment last year; do I need to take it again?

No. The clinical assessment is valid for 2 years.

What happens if I fail the clinical assessment?

Your application will be deemed ineligible as you will not have met the eligibility criteria for entry to foundation training. Your application will be withdrawn.

What is the cost of the clinical assessment?

£850.

If I pay for the clinical assessment and my application is later withdrawn for another reason, for example, for not passing PLAB, will I receive a refund?

No.

Right to Work
What can I provide as acceptable proof that I have the right to work in the UK?

Passport and visa (if applicable). Please consult the UK Home Office website for further information.

I am currently studying in the UK and have a Tier 4 visa; will these meet the right to work criteria?

Non-UK / EEA nationals who graduate from a UK medical school will be eligible for a Tier 4 visa for the purposes of undertaking foundation training.

I require sponsorship to apply for a Tier 2 visa, will the UKFPO provide sponsorship?

Sponsorship can be provided in support of Tier 2 applications. All settled workers must be allocated first in accordance with EU immigration law. In the event that the programme is oversubscribed, applicants who do not have the right to work will not be considered.

Please be advised that right to work rules and regulations are subject to change and determined by the UK Home Office. The information provided is based on the current legislation. The rules may change at any time during the application process.

Can I provide proof of evidence of my right to work in the UK after the eligibility application window?

Yes. The deadline for providing evidence of RTW for non-EEA (applicants for FP only) is 28th February 2019. Applicants who are unable to provide evidence of their RTW at this time will be flagged as subject to RLMT and allocated once all eligible settled workers have been allocated to places in accordance with EU immigration law.

Please be advised that right to work rules and regulations are subject to change and determined by the UK Home Office. The information provided is based on the current legislation. The rules may change at any time during the application process.

Situational Judgement Test

Situational Judgement Test
What is the SJT (selection assessment for UKFP 2019)?

The SJT is a measurement method set within the specific context of selection to the Foundation Programme. It is an invigilated test which assesses the professional attributes expected of the Foundation Doctor, as defined by the Person Specification.

The SJT assumes that applicants have knowledge of and insight into the job role of an F1 doctor and applicants will be asked to respond as they should as an F1 doctor. The scenarios are set in a clinical setting but there is no requirement for specific clinical knowledge as the test is targeting professional attributes, such as: -

  • Commitment to professionalism
  • Coping with pressure
  • Effective communication
  • Patient focus
  • Working effectively as part of a team

The SJT is a paper-based assessment taken in the UK on one of two national dates.

Examples of SJT questions and rationales for their answers can be found in the worked SJT Practice Paper and more information about SJTs can be found in the SJT Monograph. SJT resources can be found on the Applicant Guidance page.

Who needs to take the SJT?

All eligible applicants to the UK Foundation Programme, Academic Foundation Programme or Defence Deanery will need to take the SJT.

Can I prepare for the SJT?

The SJT assumes that applicants have knowledge of, and insight into, the job role of an F1 doctor and applicants will be asked to respond as they should as an F1 doctor. The SJT monograph explores the attributes expected of you as a UK foundation doctor, provides some of the academic research underpinning the use and development of SJTs, and provides some tips and hints as to how to approach the test. You should also try the SJT Practice Paper to familiarise yourself with the types of question you will encounter, and to refer to the worked answer rationales. You might find it helpful to practice completing the answer sheet in timed conditions.

The SJT assesses the attributes in the Person Specification. The SJT items are written to assess the different characteristics identified through the F1 Job Analysis and mapped against GMC guidelines. You might therefore find it helpful to read Good Medical Practice (GMP), use My GMP app and to access GMP scenarios in action, which although not designed to be representative of the SJT, can help you to become more familiar with GMP 2013.

We are aware that there are commercial guides and courses on the SJT; however, these are not endorsed by the UKFPO. The only preparation material endorsed by the UKFPO and created by those involved in developing the SJT for the Foundation Programme, is available free of charge from this website on the Applicant Guidance page.

I am not an F1. How will I know what I should do in these scenarios?

The SJT has been developed specifically to be appropriate for final year medical students. Although the SJT is set in the context of the Foundation Programme, all questions have been reviewed to ensure they are fair and able to be answered by medical students. All questions also avoid specific knowledge about procedures or policies that may not be experienced until the Foundation Programme. We suggest that you familiarise yourself with the Person Specification and the professional attributes expected of you as a foundation doctor to help you answer the questions.

The SJT lasts 2 hours 20 minutes. How long do I spend on each question? What if I don't finish on time?

The SJT lasts for two hours and 20 minutes and you should aim to answer all 70 questions in that time. It is important that you try and plan your time carefully, we recommend that you allow yourself two minutes to answer each question.

Ten of these questions are 'pilot' questions that are embedded within the test in order to validate them for future use. Your response to the pilot questions will not be included in your final score.

The SJT is a power test and not a test of speed. It is designed so that there is sufficient time for applicants to complete the test. Any questions that you do not answer, you will receive no marks for, but you will not be negatively marked (i.e. your score on other items won't be reduced). As there is no negative marking, you should attempt all questions.

How are the SJT questions written?

All questions developed for the SJT for selection to the Foundation Programme are subject to an extensive development and quality review process involving educational and clinical supervisors, clinical tutors, foundation doctors and psychometricians. New SJT questions are developed each year to ensure that the scenarios presented to applicants are relevant and reflect current practice.

What are the types of questions I will be asked in the SJT?

There are two question types: in part one, you are asked to rank in order five possible responses (two thirds of the questions) and in part two, you are asked to choose three from eight possible responses (one third of the questions).

In part one there are four different formats of lead-ins you may be asked:

  1. Rank in order the appropriateness of the following actions in response to this situation (1= Most appropriate; 5= Least appropriate)
  2. Rank the order in which the following tasks should be undertaken (1= Do first; 5= Do last)
  3. Rank in order the importance of the following considerations in the management of this situation (1= Most important; 5= Least important)
  4. Rank in order the extent to which you agree with the following statements in this situation (1= Most agree with; 5= Least agree with)

In part two there are two formats of lead-ins you may be asked:

  1. Choose the three most appropriate actions to take in this situation
  2. Choose the three most important considerations to consider in the management of this situation

The number of questions with each lead in differs year on year so you are reminded to carefully read the instructions before recording your answers.

Should I approach the ranking and multiple choice SJT questions differently?

Yes. The ranking questions test your ability to differentiate between singular actions in response to a scenario in order (i.e. there is no overlap between individual actions), whereas for the scenarios with the instruction to 'select three from eight', it is necessary to do more than one thing in response to the dilemma in the scenario. You should answer the multiple-choice questions by selecting the three most appropriate responses when taken in combination. For more information about how to approach the F1 SJT, please refer to the monograph on the Applicant Guidance page.

How is the SJT marked?

The SJT is a paper-based assessment and applicant answers are machine-marked against a pre-determined scoring key for each of the items. There are two question formats: rank in order five possible responses (two thirds of the questions) and choose three from eight possible responses (one third of the questions).

Ranking questions are worth up to 20 marks; each of the individual responses is worth up to 4 marks. There are points for 'near misses' i.e. you do not need to get the answer exactly right in order to get a good score – please refer to Figure 1 below. If you 'tie' two answers, you will score 0 marks for either option.

'Choose three from eight possible responses' questions are worth 12 marks; each of the individual responses is worth 4 marks.

There is no negative marking in the SJT (i.e. marks will not be deducted from your overall score for each incorrect answer given).

Figure 1 provides an example of how the ranking scoring system works.

Ideal rank

Applicant rank 1

Applicant rank 2

Applicant rank 3

Applicant rank 4

Applicant rank 5

D

4

3

2

1

0

C

3

4

3

2

1

E

2

2

4

3

2

A

1

2

3

4

3

B

0

1

2

3

4

The correct answer is DCEAB, and you would score 20 marks for this answer. If, for example, you thought the answer was DABEC, you would score 12 marks, as follows:

4 points for option D as it is in the correct position

1 point for option C as the correct position is 2, but the applicant ranked it 5th

3 points for option E as the correct position is 3, but the applicant ranked it 4th

2 points for option A as the correct position is 4, but the applicant ranked it 2nd

2 points for option B as the correct position is 5, but the applicant ranked it 3rd

The SJT is worth 50 points of the application to the Foundation Programme. How is this calculated?

Once all SJT answer sheets have been marked and test-equated, the scores are translated to a 0-50 scale. The distribution of the scale is set to reflect the distribution of Educational Performance Measure (EPM) scores. This ensures that when the SJT and EPM scores are combined, they each exert an equal weighting. The equation for translating the SJT scores to the EPM scale depends on the EPM scores in that year.

Using this scaling method, the equation for the FP 2018 results was as follows:

Scaled SJT Score = Equated Raw SJT Score x 0.141 – 85.1855

The table below shows the results of the conversion for the 2018 scores.

 

Mean

Standard
Deviation

Minimum

Maximum

Equated Raw SJT Score

890.64

26.63

644.67

958.10

Scaled SJT Score

40.48

4.04

5.78

50.00

EPM Score

41.05

3.78

34.00

50.00

How is my SJT points score used in relation to my EPM points score?

Your marks on the SJT will be used to award you a number of SJT points (maximum 50 points, to three decimal places), which will be added to your points achieved for the Educational Performance Measure (EPM) (maximum 50 points, whole number only). Your combined number of points will be your application score.

The SJT and EPM have equal weighting in the total application score, however as the SJT score is reported to three decimal places; it is the SJT which will often determine your relative position compared to others with similar scores.

The table below shows the percentage of applicants who scored at different levels on the SJT and EPM in 2018. It must be noted that 53 of the 7,832 candidates did not have an EPM score and are thus not factored into the percentages in the table below.

SJT Scores in relation to EPM

 

Can I appeal against my SJT score?

No. By arriving at your SJT, you declare yourself fit to sit the test. If there is a disruption during the test itself, you must alert an invigilator so that they can manage the situation at the time.

Will I get specific feedback on how I did on the SJT?

No. You will only be provided with the number of points you achieve on the SJT. It is not possible to provide meaningful feedback beyond the overall score.

Specific feedback about how you do on each item cannot be provided as this would require providing information about items which may be used again in future years. It is also extremely difficult to quantify SJT questions in terms of the domains from the person specification as each question is a composite of domains and sub-domains.

I have previously applied to the Foundation Programme. Can my previous score be carried forward?

No, you will need to take the SJT again for UKFP 2019. The content of the SJT test paper will change each year, and it is important that you are scored and ranked on the same terms as all other applicants to UKFP 2019.

I qualified or expect to qualify from a UK medical school between 8th August 2017 and August 2019. Where do I take the SJT?

Your medical school will contact you with details about the date, venue and timings for your SJT.

I qualified from a UK medical school before on or before 7th August 2017. Where do I take the SJT?

The UKFPO's Eligibility Office will contact you with details about the date, venue and timings for your SJT. You will be invited to take the SJT on one of the two national dates in London (7th December 2018 or 7th January 2019).

You will be invited to book an SJT slot online through the Oriel system once eligibility application outcomes have been released.

I qualified or expect to qualify from a non-UK medical school. Where do I take the SJT?

The UKFPO's Eligibility Office will contact you with details about the date, venue and timings for your SJT. You will be invited to take the SJT on one of the two national dates in London (7th December 2018 or 7th January 2019).

You will be invited to book an SJT slot online through the Oriel system once eligibility application outcomes have been released.

What are the consequences of failing to book the SJT?

Applicants will be withdrawn from the entire recruitment process on account of failure to book the SJT.

Can I take the SJT in another country?

No. All applicants must take the SJT on the national dates in the UK, at a venue arranged by the UKFPO or a UK medical school.

What do I need to bring with me for the SJT?

You need to bring the following items with you on the day of the SJT:

  • Two HB or 2B pencils (other pencil types including mechanical pencils do not scan so do not use them), an eraser and a sharpener.
  • Current, photographic ID (passport, driving licence, EU identity card or current university card if taking the SJT at that university; plus, any documents to support a name change).
  • Some applicants may wish to use a ruler when completing the answer sheet. In addition to pencils, rubbers and sharpeners, clear rulers are permitted inside the test venue, but no other stationery or additional paper.
  • Eligibility Office applicants will also need to bring along their SJT booking confirmation email.
  • There will be a place card on your desk at the venue confirming your Oriel PIN, which will need to be recorded on your answer sheet. If we cannot identify you, you will be given a score of 0 for the SJT.
What if I am unwell or there is a serious reason why I cannot take the SJT?

Some applicants may be seriously affected by illness, bereavement or accident close to or on the day of the SJT. If you believe that extenuating circumstances seriously affect your ability to take the SJT on the date you are registered for, you must submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim form, with accompanying independent evidence, to your medical school or the UKFPO's Eligibility Office at the earliest opportunity.

If you are deemed to have extenuating circumstances, you will be permitted to take the SJT on the subsequent SJT date.

The SJT score will not be changed as the result of a claim of extenuating circumstances. Any applicant unable to take the SJT within the national testing window will be withdrawn from the UKFP / AFP 2019 application process.

Guidance about extenuating circumstances is provided in the UKFP / AFP 2019 Applicants’ Handbook on the Applicant Guidance page.

I usually have adjustments made for my university exams. Will this count for the SJT?

As the SJT is a test for employment, and not a university exam, you will need to make a new application for reasonable adjustments for the SJT. You must submit a request form for accessing the SJT at the earliest opportunity and no later than Thursday 27th September 2018, so that requests can be considered, and appropriate arrangements made.

Reasonable adjustments are practical changes to the planned delivery of the SJT that mitigate the effects of particular applicant characteristics or circumstances on their ability to undertake the SJT, without changing the demands of the assessment e.g. a disability, health condition or impairment, or other grounds for adjustment (e.g. religious observance). No adjustment will be made to the standard of the SJT or the score achieved by any applicant. An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves unreasonable costs or timeframes or affects the security or integrity of the assessment.

For the majority of UK applicants, it is expected that the medical school already holds evidence of approved reasonable adjustments which result in special examination arrangements on the grounds of a disability, health condition or impairment. A request form must still be submitted for the SJT, with reference to the evidence approved held by the medical school. New requests for reasonable adjustments, and accompanying evidence, must be submitted to the medical school or the Eligibility Office at the earliest opportunity, and no later than Thursday 27th September 2018.

What is an exceptionally low SJT score?

An exceptionally low SJT score is one that is a low outlier compared to the norm, once all SJT papers have been scored and test equated. It is anticipated that this will apply to 0.0 - 0.5% of applicants only.

What will the next step be if an applicant is identified as having an exceptionally low SJT score?

Applicants identified as having an exceptionally low SJT score will be withdrawn from the process prior to the national allocation day.

Details of the process for reviewing low scoring applications and withdrawing affected applicants will be published as soon as possible and no later than the 3rd December 2018.

It says that AFP scores are subject to a satisfactory SJT score. What is a satisfactory SJT score?

A satisfactory SJT score is one that is sufficient for an applicant to remain in the process. Please read the FAQ regarding exceptionally low SJT scores and further assessment for more information about the standard required to remain in the process.

How do applicants perform in the SJT?

The figure above shows the distribution of SJT points for UKFP 2018 on the 0.00-50.00 scale after equating and scaling has taken place.

The figure above shows the distribution of SJT points for UKFP 2018 on the 0.00-50.00 scale after equating and scaling has taken place (see above for more information on equating and scaling). The average number of SJT points achieved in UKFP 2018 was 40.48 and the standard deviation (SD) of the distribution was 4.04. Overall, applicants scored high in the SJT, with the mean equated raw score representing 86.0% of the total marks available. The SD is a measure of how spread out the data are; in this case it demonstrates that 72.6% of applicants achieved a score of within 1 SD above and below the mean (between 36.4 and 44.5 points); and 95.8% of candidates scored within 2 SDs above and below the mean (a scaled score of between 32.4 and 48.6 points).

Overall, whilst a small number of applicants achieve a very high or a very low number of points, the majority of applicants perform at a similar level. There is a slight negative skew, meaning that outliers tend to be in the low scoring rather than high scoring end. This distribution is consistent with previous operational results of the SJT, as well as the use of the SJT in other contexts.