Help and resources

The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is used as part of the selection process for entry to the Foundation Programme. It's an assessment of the attributes expected of a foundation doctor, not your clinical knowledge and skills.

Get a discounted rate on SJT Preparation courses if you sign up for MDU FY1 membership.

What you need to know

What is the SJT?

Selection to the Foundation Programme is overseen by the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO). Applicants must apply to the Foundation Programme through Oriel and rank all foundation schools. There's also the option to apply for specialised and priority programmes.

To be considered for any of the two-year programmes, you must be eligible for provisional registration with the GMC and have been nominated or deemed eligible in order to apply.

How will I be assessed?

The SJT consists of three parts. Some of the questions have videos, so make sure you have headphones before starting the test. You have 140 minutes to complete the paper and there are 75 scenarios.

The exam presents a series of work-related situations and asks applicants how they would respond to these situations. Questions take multiple formats such as ranking and multiple choice, and could include:

  • evolving dilemmas with multi-part questions
  • speech dilemmas where applicants will be asked to select how they would respond in conversation to difficult situations
  • multimedia elements allowing a more immersive experience with the situation.

For further information about the question formats, reasonable adjustments and marking, see the SJT FAQs on the UKFPO website.

How will I be scored?

Allocation to foundation schools depends on the score achieved by each student. The system begins with the highest-scoring applicant, assigns them their first choice, and continues in the same vein. Once the system reaches an applicant whose first choice is full, they're assigned their second choice, and so on.

So whether you get placed at your first choice location is down to your score and the popularity of your chosen foundation school.

Applications have a maximum of 100 points consisting of:

  • Educational Performance Measure (EPM) – 50 points maximum
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT) – 50 points maximum.

Applicants are then given a total score comprising their EPM score and SJT score and ranked in score order. In the event of tied scores, the decile score is used first to break ties, then the SJT score, and then ties are broken randomly. The unique ranks are then used to match groups and programmes.

Am I guaranteed a place if I pass?

If there are more eligible applicants than places, top-ranking applicants are placed on a primary list. Following the allocation process, primary list applicants are matched to groups and programmes. 

Applicants not allocated to the primary list are placed on a reserve list and allocated in batches on predetermined dates.

Check out the UKFP application FAQs for more information.

When will the next SJTs take place?

We'll update here when the SJT dates for the 2024 Foundation Programme have been announced. You can find out more here.

Can I choose where to take the test?

You can choose the location of the test from a number of Pearson VUE test centres or sit the exam using remote invigilation via OnVUE. Spaces will be available on a first come, first served basis. You can change your booking up to 48 hours before your assessment to start or until the booking period closes (whichever is earlier).

If you book a place but decide not to attend, you must cancel at least 48 hours beforehand. If you change your mind about the delivery method, contact the UKFPO for advice and instructions.

If you choose to complete the test by remote invigilation, you'll be asked to install software and close background processes, so it's recommended you use a personal computer. You will not be able to take the exam in public places and you must have no interruptions.

More information about remote proctoring can be found on the Pearson VUE website. We strongly recommend checking your system requirements and your test environment prior to taking the exam.

Do I need to bring anything with me to take the test?

You'll be required to present one form of original valid government issued ID that includes your name, a recent photo, and your signature. You won't be allowed to take any personal items with you into the testing room.

Check the Pearson VUE COVID-19 update page for testing availability and to review the health and safety measures required for testing. It's your responsibility to know the time, location and venue of your exam. If you arrive more than 30 minutes late or fail to attend and don't have extenuating circumstances, you won't be allowed to sit the exam and will be withdrawn from the application process.

Get set with SJT Preparation

online course icon

Get set with SJT Preparation

The SJT Preparation course is an intensive full-day course designed and delivered by junior doctors. Their combined experiences provide a unique course that offers you what they've found most useful.

You'll cover:

•   why the SJT came to exist and what's expected of a foundation doctor

•   the different types of scenarios, question formats, and marking scheme

•   how to avoid common mistakes

•   a scored mock test to gauge your performance level

•   access to 100 additional online practice questions with worked answers.

Courses are delivered by pre-recorded webinar with a live Q&A.

Read our interview with SJT Prep co-founder Martin Ferguson.

SJT Preparation

SJT Preparation

Future course dates will be announced soon.

Book here

Top tips

  • Put yourself in the position of an FY1. Remember, the questions have been created following analysis of the FY1 role and mapped against GMC guidelines.

  • If you don't know the answer to a question, answer it to the best of your ability or move on to the next. You can always come back to it later on.

  • Don't overthink the answer or make assumptions.

  • Make sure you have a basic understanding of medical ethics and law.

  • Practise as many questions as you can under exam conditions.

  • Consider what each question requires according to each attribute.

  • 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, and keep an eye on the clock.

  • Remember the patient's wellbeing is your first concern. Other considerations are secondary.