How can you prepare?

Runner

SJT questions test the five professional attributes identified from analysis of the F1 role, as defined in the person specification on the UKFPO website.

  1. Commitment to professionalism.
  2. Coping with pressure.
  3. Effective communication.
  4. Patient focus.
  5. Working effectively as part of a team.

'Should', not 'would'

The test assumes you have some prior knowledge of the F1 role and you'll be asked to respond as such. It's important to remember that your answers need to reflect what you 'should' do, bearing in mind these professional attributes, rather than what you 'would' do.

Preparation and practice

It's often said you can't be coached through the SJT. This is generally true, and knowing the right thing to do in any given situation is a matter of intuition and values. However, this is something that develops over time and with experience, and can therefore change.

As well as this, the exam doesn't test your values - it tests whether you understand the values expected of an F1. This is why you are asked to answer questions as you 'should', not as you 'would'.

The principles on which doctors base their behaviour are learned throughout medical school, so there's plenty you can do to prepare.

The UKFPO website has more information including FAQs, a practice paper and the SJT monograph. You should also read the GMC's guidance on Good medical practice and Outcomes for graduates.

Tips for the SJT

  • Practise as many questions as you can under exam conditions.
  • Consider what each question requires according to each attribute.
  • You may feel each statement is obvious, but be aware that the balance of priorities may be subtly different.
  • Don't overthink the answer or make assumptions.
  • If you don't know the answer to a question, answer it to the best of your ability or move on.
  • Put yourself in the position of an F1. Remember, the questions have been created following analysis of the F1 role and mapped against GMC guidelines.
  • Remember that the wellbeing of your patient is your first concern. Other considerations are secondary.
  • Be honest, act with integrity and be fair to patients and colleagues alike.
  • Remember the limits of your competence. Don't work outside your boundaries, but do whatever you can within them.
  • Seeking advice and gathering information is difficult to criticise.
  • Be strict with timing. Try to complete the paper within the timescales and remember random guesses may be identified as such and awarded zero points.
  • Make sure you have a basic understanding of medical ethics and law.

Finally…

This might seem like a lot of effort for one exam, but the foundation programme is oversubscribed, and in the past some applicants have had to be put on a reserve list with no certainty of being placed.