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Interview format 2016-2017

A summary of the ST1 clinical radiology interview format from the recent 2016/17 recruitment round.

The radiology interview process has changed every year for the past few years.  There are a number of reasons for this, but ultimately the college is trying to optimise the process to select the best candidates whilst managing the large number of applicants.  For this reason the number and content of the interview ‘stations’ undergoes a change every year.

The interview & application section of Radiology Cafe provides a comprehensive overview of the application process and previous interview structures.  This article, however, is written by an ST1 trainee and aims to cover the content of interview stations from the most recent 2016/2017 intake only, with examples of questions asked last year.

In 2016-17, the overall application score was made up of 3 components scoring 40 points each.  The overall score of 120 was ranked nationally amongst your peers.  The first 40 points were based on your performance in the Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA), and the remaining 80 from the interview day.

Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA)

The content and nature of the Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA) is covered elsewhere, but for the first time last year the SRA score weighted heavily on the overall application score.  A candidate must have scored high enough to be invited to interview, which in the past equated to scoring in the top 60% of provisional applicants.

After interview, a candidate’s score is scaled amongst the interviewed cohort and given a score out of 40.  As a point of reference, a candidate scoring 570/600 in last year’s exam would have gained 33/40 for that component of the application, and a score of 530/600 would have gained 24/40.


Interview day

This comprised of 3 stations, a self-scoring preparation station and 2 panels; commitment to specialty and portfolio.

A self-scoring station was introduced last year in order to objectively score candidate’s portfolio achievements, with a subsequent panel for evidence and discussion in detail.  The overall self-score was out of 10; 5 sections with a maximum 2 points each, and was roughly as follows:

  • Research
    • 2 points – Radiology publication with the candidate as first author
    • 1 point – Second author for any publication
  • Teaching
    • 2 points – Evidence of organising and delivering a teaching course
    • 1 point – Any evidence of undergraduate or postgraduate teaching
  • Audit
    • 2 points – Completing a closed loop audit
    • 1 point – Completing an audit, but not closing the loop
  • Degrees
    • 2 points – Full MRCP/MRCS, 1st Class BSc or Masters degree
    • 1 point – Completing a BSc with a 2.1 award
  • Commitment
    • 2 points – A radiology taster week longer than 3 days
    • 1 point – Taster week shorter than 3 days

Portfolio panel

This station followed on from the self-scoring to evidence the above sections, with candidates asked to produce documentation and certificates to the interviewers of their achievements.  In some cases this included questions about each of the above 5 stations with further questions regarding reflective practice and patient/colleague feedback.  Candidates could be asked to evidence both reflective practice and any feedback (patient or colleague multi-source feedback) at any point in the interview panels so it is important to know your portfolio back-to-front!

Commitment to specialty

This station was aimed at understanding the candidate’s passion and interest in radiology.  Questions were far ranging but centred around why a candidate would like to commence specialty training, and interviewers attempted to test candidates knowledge of the challenges of radiology as a career choice.

Example questions similar to last year’s interview included:  Why radiology as a career?  What are the positives and negatives?  What will you miss about ward based medicine?

Here’s a large list of example questions typical of those asked at Radiology ST1 interviews to help you prepare.

This post was written by Dr Omar Abdel-Hadi, an ST1 Clinical Radiology Trainee in Leeds (UK) at the time of publishing.


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