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The Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

The Situational Judgement Test Medicine (SJT) is a multiple-choice examination for entry into the Foundation Programme, usually taken during an applicant’s final year of medical school.

The SJT is managed by the UK Foundation Programme Office, and is worth a maximum of 50 points of the Foundation Programme application, with the other 50 available points earned through the Educational Performance Measure, or EPM.

For 2018/19, there are two SJT dates: 7th December 2018, and 7th January 2019.

Access free SJT questions


What does the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) assess?

We speak to Dr. Max Roberts about the Situational Judgement Test Medicine in the video below.

The SJT examines the attributes drawn from the F1 person specification, and aims to assess candidate’s hypothetical ability to:

The SJT doesn’t require experience of the situations it employs, but rather an ability to apply real-world experience and personal attributes – including integrity, resilience, and flexibility – to situations that may arise in future.

What’s the Structure of the Situational Judgement Test Medicine (SJT)?

The SJT is an invigilated exam lasting 140 minutes, designed to test an applicant’s knowledge of an F1 doctor’s role. It’s recommended that you spend two minutes per question.

Despite this, there is no requirement that the applicant have specific clinical experience, but rather the personal attributes appropriate to the role – there is an expectation that candidates will respond as F1 doctors, they don’t need to be F1 doctors.

The questions often appear to lack the information required to make a fully-informed decision. The candidate is therefore required to think as a junior doctor, and make the sort of judgement calls required during the Foundation Programme.

FP applicants will answer 70 questions – 10 of which are pilot questions. The pilot questions do not contribute to the candidate’s raw score, and are there purely for quality-control and calibration purposes.

Of the 60 remaining live questions, around two-thirds will be comprised of ranking questions, with the remaining questions answered through multiple choice.

The SJT is thus split into two parts:

Part Questions Question Types
Part One Two-thirds 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)
Part Two One-third of the questions In Part Two there are two different question formats:

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

How is the Situational Judgement Test Medicine (SJT) scored?

Questions require candidates to indicate how they think an F1 doctor should respond to various scenarios, for a maximum of 20 marks for ranking questions, and 12 for the MCQs.

These marks are then scaled to match the education performance measure scale. Both the SJT score and the overall application result are then made available on Oriel.

The candidate’s raw score is reviewed by subject matter experts, or SMEs, and evaluated against a set of ‘correct’ answers. Due to the focus on a candidate’s judgement, there is a wide range of possible responses – however, the SMEs will reach a consensus as to their preferences, and this will effectively become the perfect set of answers. This ensures that the scoring is standardised, and candidates’ results are easily compared.

The scoring system is not absolute, however, and candidates are able to earn points for ‘incorrect’ answers – or those deviating from the perfect answers decided by the SMEs. An example of the system is as follows:

Using this model, the ‘perfect’ answer of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 would receive 20 points – four each for the five correct placements, but the worst possible answer – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – would still receive eight points. This is because number 3 is still in its ‘perfect’ position, and 4 and 2 are two places out – earning two points apiece. Only 1 and 5 earn zero points. There is therefore no negative marking on the SJT, and no reason to not answer every question. Even if the candidate is unsure as to what to do with many of the responses they are presented with, most will be able to identify at least one process they value as important, or a course of action they would prioritise.

Access free SJT questions

When should I sit the Situational Judgement Test Medicine (SJT)?

For 2018/19, there are two SJT dates: 7th December 2018, and 7th January 2019.

What does the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) look for in potential F1 doctors?

The UKFPO have released a vast amount of information about the behaviours they are looking for in a potential F1 doctor. Whilst many are difficult to display in the SJT, it is important for the candidate to role play as an F1 doctor, considering the below descriptors when answering the SJT.

The UKFPO want to see evidence that a candidate:

Booking the Foundation Programme SJT

The medical school or the UKFPO’s eligibility office provides details about dates for the Situational Judgement Test Medicine, and how to book a place, and provide a printable practice paper. The UKFPO does not endorse any commercial preparation resources. The practice paper may be found here.

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