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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 66

Is the UK'S situational judgement test a fair and appropriate way to allocate jobs to new doctors?

Centre for Medical Education, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, United Kingdom; National University Hospital, Singapore

Date of Web Publication11-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Neel Sharma
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, National University Hospital, Singapore

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.134320

How to cite this article:
Sharma N. Is the UK'S situational judgement test a fair and appropriate way to allocate jobs to new doctors?. Educ Health 2014;27:66

How to cite this URL:
Sharma N. Is the UK'S situational judgement test a fair and appropriate way to allocate jobs to new doctors?. Educ Health [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Jan 25];27:66. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Following graduation, the process of allocating newly qualified doctors work positions in the UK relies on a twofold process, courtesy of the Improving Selection to the Foundation Programme group. [1] The first process is the Educational Performance Measure (EPM) based on graduates' medical school performance in addition to any other degrees and demonstration of publications and presentations. The second process, the situational judgement test, was formalised only last year. This new assessment is aimed primarily at assessing candidates' ability to answer questions related to targeted attributes desirable of a newly qualified doctor. These include demonstrating: Commitment to professionalism; coping with pressure; effective communication; learning and professional development; organization and planning; patient focus; problem solving and decision making; self-awareness and insight; and working effectively as part of a team.

Now I appreciate that job allocation is no easy process, and I understand that it can be argued that current medical student examinations are not fully aimed at assessing the professional attributes detailed above. But in a system where our students are already being suffocated by academic over-assessment, newly qualified doctors should not be expected to demonstrate these professional attributes, having had little or no experience in true to life clinical practice. Medicine, as we all know, is a lifelong learning process, hence the capabilities and day to day functioning of a consultant, for example, is very different to that of a registrar or senior house officer. It would only be fair therefore for senior doctors like me to be faced with hurdles like the situational judgement test.

The hierarchy that exists, and the typically condescending attitude of seniors to their juniors, has resulted in an over-the-top testing of our young physicians. I think it would prove interesting to see how well senior, practising doctors would fare in the situational judgement test. My guess would be not so great.

In job allocations, the professional attributes of young doctors should be assessed through personal interviews, as they are for most other professions, and not on scores on tests as is this case here.

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1.Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 Dec 27].  Back to cited text no. 1


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