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5 Tips for Preparing for the Situational Judgement Test

Tips for SJT

One of the more difficult parts of the Foundation Programme application process comes in the Situational Judgement Test. Here you’ll be asked to put yourself into the kind of situations you may face as a FY1 doctor and come up with a solution. As such, it won’t rely on your academic training or theoretical knowledge, but your skills, commitment and passion for being a doctor.

Many people believe that because of this there isn’t much you can do to prepare, but that’s not entirely true. Here are five ways you can prepare yourself.  

Want more info on the format of the SJT? Find out more on our Situational Judgement Test guide!

Access free SJT questions

1. Understanding the test

The SJT is an invigilated test which assesses how you stack up against the professional skills expected of a foundation doctor.

During this test you’ll be presented with situations and asked to respond as if you are already an FY1 doctor. The intention is to see how you will cope with all the challenges daily life as a doctor will throw at you.

It’s a paper-based test with questions presenting real-life scenarios and seeing how you would respond. Example questions might run along these lines: “While rewriting a patient’s drug chart you notice that one of your colleagues has prescribed enoxaparin for a patient who is also on warfarin. What do you do?” It will then present a series of possible answers.  

Read our guide to the format of the Situational Judgement Test>>

2. Brush up on your basic knowledge

Yes, the SJT is based on your reactions in certain situations, but that doesn’t mean the knowledge you’ve built up so far won’t stand you in good stead when the time comes.

Many of the questions in the SJT are based in the GMC’s Good Medical Practice guidelines, which focus on your general knowledge, commitment and professionalism and your communication skills.

Read more Situational Judgement Test Tips>>

3. Focus on the core competencies of the SJT

You need to understand the test, how it works, but most importantly of all what they will be judging you on. For this, you must focus on the core factors that the test will be monitoring:

Take these as your guide and retain your focus on as you think about how they should shape your answers.

Read GMC’s Good Medical Practice guidelines>>

4. Spend time on the wards

The whole idea of the SJT is to test how you’ll react in the real world, so it pays to familiarise yourself with the environment as much as possible.

Try to shadow FY1 doctors as much as you can to become accustomed to the working environment of junior doctors. This will stand you in good stead when the time comes to take the test.

Read 3 Things I Learned in my First Month as an FY1>>

5. Take plenty of water with you into the test

Taking the test can be gruelling in itself and being asked to answer all those questions and make decisions can be tiring.

Your brain can suffer from decision-making fatigue which may see your results tail off towards the end of the paper, so make sure you bring plenty of water with you into the test to stay as fresh as possible.   

Words: Tom Cropper

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