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Practice and preparation


SJT questions focus on five professional attributes required to be a foundation doctor as defined in the person specification, which can be found on the UKFPO website. These are:

  • Commitment to professionalism
  • Coping with pressure
  • Effective communication
  • Patient focus
  • Working effectively as part of a team.

The test assumes you have some knowledge of the job of an F1 and you will be asked to respond as such. It does not set out to test your values but whether you understand the values and attitudes expected of a foundation doctor. Your answers need to reflect what you 'should' do bearing in mind these professional attributes, rather than what you 'would' do.

It's often said you can't be coached through the SJT. However, given there are a finite number of hypothetical scenarios, and the values and behaviours expected of new doctors are documented in a few publicly available documents, there is plenty you can do to prepare.

Top tips

Study the F1 person specification and consider what the SJT requires of candidates according to each professional attribute.

  1. Read the GMC's guidance on Good medical practice and Outcomes for graduates.
  2. Practise as many questions as you can, and where possible do this under exam conditions.
  3. Read each question carefully and consider what it requires according to each attribute.
  4. You may feel each statement is obvious. Beware, the balance of priorities may be subtly different.
  5. Don't overthink the answer or make assumptions.
  6. If you don't know the answer to a question answer it to the best of your ability or move on.
  7. Put yourself in the position of an F1 when answering each question. Remember, the questions have been created following a detailed analysis of the F1 role and mapped against GMC guidelines.
  8. Don't overthink the answer or make assumptions.
  9. Remember the wellbeing of your patient is your first concern, other considerations are secondary.
  10. Be honest, act with integrity, and be fair to patients and colleagues alike.
  11. Remember the limits of your competence. Appreciate your boundaries, don't work outside them, but do whatever you can within them.
  12. Seeking advice and gathering information is difficult to criticise.
  13. Be strict with your timing. Try to complete the paper within the timescales and remember random guesses may be identified as such and awarded zero points.
  14. Make sure you have a basic understanding of medical ethics and law.


This might seem like a lot of effort for just one exam. However, 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 on the foundation programme after qualification.

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