Situational Judgement Test (SJT)


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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Percentage of applicants

SJT Score Range

Total

0-30

31-35

36-40

41-45

46-50

Total EPM Score Range

30-35

0.5%

1.8%

3.8%

2.7%

0.1%

9%

36-40

1.0%

3.9%

14.3%

14.7%

1.4%

35.3%

41-45

0.4%

2.5%

13.1%

21.8%

3.2%

41.0%

46-50

0.1%

0.3%

2.9%

9.3%

2.2%

14.8%

Total

2.0%

8.5%

34.1%

48.5%

6.9%

100%

 

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.

 

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.