General Practice Assessments
The primary form of assessment during the General Practice recruitment process is the Multi-Speciality Recruitment Assessment. The MSRA is a computer-based assessment that is part of the short-listing process. All applicants who apply to GP training for the first time have to sit the assessment, with a successful MSRA result valid for the whole recruitment year in which it was taken.
Applicants who have previously taken the MSRA for another specialty do not have to re-sit the assessment in another round within the same recruitment year, provided the outcome they achieved meets the minimum threshold necessary for a GP. If applicants achieved an outcome that did not meet the minimum threshold, they will have to retake the MSRA.
Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment
The MSRA comprises two parts:
- The Professional Dilemmas, or PD, paper; and
- The Clinical Problem Solving, or CPS, paper.
Applicants take the test in Pearson VUE Computer Testing Centres, available worldwide.
Sample questions are available from the General Practice National Recruitment Office.
The Professional Dilemmas Paper
The PD paper is a 110-minute situational judgement that assesses an applicant’s approach to working as a doctor. It focuses on appropriate behaviour when interacting with patients and colleagues, and when managing workload. It does not require specific knowledge of specialty training experience, but does assume the applicant has some knowledge of procedures that typically occur in primary and secondary care. The test examines candidates on their professional integrity, ability to cope with pressure, empathy, and sensitivity. There are 58 items and only 50 count towards the final score, the remaining eight intended for piloting purposes.
The Clinical Problem Solving Paper
Once the PD paper is completed, the CPS paper starts automatically after two minutes, and is designed to test a candidate’s ability to apply their knowledge in an appropriate manner. The Clinical Problem Solving Paper lasts for 75 minutes, during which applicants are given clinical scenarios requiring them to show judgment and problem-solving skills when establishing a diagnosis, and managing patients. The paper is comprised of 97 questions, including 11 pilot questions, with only 86 counting towards the final score.
Direct Pathway Offers
Applicants who achieve a combined total score of 575 in the MSRA qualify for a streamlined route, and are not required to attend a face-to-face assessment at a Selection Centre. These applicants are ranked first, and have an increased chance of receiving an offer in their preferred locations.
Applicants who successfully complete the MSRA, but do not qualified for a Direct Pathway Offer, are invited to attend one selection centre, during which they are considered for appointment to training programmes in all of their preferred regions. The assessments are intended to evaluate applicants’ communication skills, empathy and sensitivity, conceptual thinking and problem solving, as well as their professional integrity. Candidates may ask any questions during an opening briefing.
Applicants then have to complete several exercises and are assessed by trained assessors for around three hours, although the time often varies. Despite assessors not having access to applicants’ application forms or CVs, and there being no interviews on the day, applicants are still expected to dress professionally for the selection centre assessment.
The Simulation Exercise lasts for roughly 30 mintues. Applicants will conduct three 10-minute consultations – the first with a patient, the second with a relative or carer, and the third with a non-medical colleague. Applicants do not need to perform a physical examination during the exercise, nor demonstrate specific clinical expertise.
Applicants will also complete a 30-minute written exercise; prioritising and ranking issues, and then justifying their responses. The GPNRO provides some sample questions on their website.
Advice and Tips
The GPNRO recommends that applicants listen to and read the instructions carefully on the day. They should also be honest and natural, and, if possible, should attempt to practice some example scenarios with their colleagues.
Changing Career Paths
Applicants who want to change career path can apply for Accreditation of Transferable Competences Framework. The ATCF applies to applicants who are moving between periods of GMC-approved training, as evidenced, for example, by holding a valid National Training Number or Deanery Reference Number at the time of transfer. Applicants in the early years of training, transferring from one of the following approved Specialty Training programmes, should apply for ATCF.