Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA)

Information on the SRA for ST1 Clinical Radiology applicants


SRA stands for the Specialty Recruitment Assessment.  It is a computer-based assessment introduced by RCR and London Recruitment and has been part of the ST1 clinical radiology application process since 2016.  There are two parts to the SRA; a Professional Dilemmas (PD) paper, followed by a Clinical Problem Solving (CPS) paper.

In line with a number of other specialties a Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA) test was incorporated into radiology recruitment in 2016. All applicants are required to sit the SRA at a test centre in the January of the recruitment year. Applicants are ranked according to their SRA score and invitations to interview are circulated on the basis of rank until all available 600 interview slots are filled.

The SRA is very important for two reasons:

  1. Candidates need to achieve a score high enough to be offered one of the limited number of interview slots (600) as the ranking for interview slots is directly based on your SRA score.  If you do not perform well in the SRA, you will not be offered an interview.
  2. Once you are through to the interview stage, your SRA score is then weighted to contribute to 33% of the final selection centre score in order to determine appointability for the available Clinical Radiology ST1 posts.

So take this test seriously!  The assessment has been fully researched and evaluated, having shown to have a high predictive validity.

 

Is the SRA the same as the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA)?

Yes - they are the same thing!

The SRA was originally designed for applicants to general practice (GP) training, hence why the questions are very broad in scope.  In recent years many other specialties have started using this test (including Radiology), hence why it will sometimes be referred to as the "Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment" or "MSRA".

 

When is the SRA this year?

Early January 2020.

 

What is the format of the SRA?

It is identical to the GP, Psychiatry, Ophthalmology and Neurosurgery recruitment assessment.  It's a timed computer-based assessment that can be done in any of the nearest local Pearson VUE centres.

Invitations for the SRA are sent out in early December to applicants that submit complete applications and meet basic eligibility criteria.  Here is more information about the two parts of the SRA:

Part 1: Professional Dilemmas (PD) - 110 mins

Key points:

  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
  • 58 questions in 110 minutes

The Professional Dilemmas (PD) paper is a Situational Judgement Test (SJT).  This paper assesses your understanding of appropriate behaviour for a doctor in difficult situations.  Your responses should represent appropriate behaviour for a 2nd year Foundation doctor (FY2) in the NHS.  It focuses on appropriate behaviour with respect to interacting with patients and colleagues and in managing one’s own workload.  It does not require specific specialty training knowledge, but does assume general familiarity with typical primary and secondary care procedures.

The test covers three core domains:

  1. Professional integrity
  2. Coping with pressure
  3. Empathy and sensitivity

You have 110 minutes to complete 58 questions.  Only 50 of these questions account towards the final score, as 8 questions in each test are for piloting purposes, however as you do not know the questions being piloted, be sure to take them all seriously!

Scoring is based on how close your responses are to the most appropriate response for each question.  Applicants can score highly in these questions by providing an answer that is close to, but not identical to that from the expert group.  The closer your answer is to our experts responses the more points you will gain for the question.

There are two question formats: "Ranking" questions - ranking 5 possible responses in order for a particular dilemma OR "Multiple best answer" questions - selection of the 3 most appropriate responses.

This test assesses various core criteria from the Person specification 2019 for ST1 Clnical Radiology including:

  • empathy and sensitivity
  • communication skills
  • conceptual thinking and problem solving
  • coping with pressure
  • organization and planning
  • managing others and team involvement
  • professional integrity
  • personal and professional development

Part 2: Clinical Problem Solving (PD) - 75 mins

Key points:

  • MCQs and EMQs
  • 97 questions in 75 minutes

The Clinical Problem Solving (CPS) paper presents you with clinical scenarios that require you to exercise judgement and problem solving skills to determine appropriate diagnosis and management of patients.  This is not a test of knowledge per se, but rather your ability to apply it appropriately.  The questions are based on Foundation-level clinical practice and test a breadth of knowledge of medicine and surgery.

The CPS paper consists of 97 questions and there are 75 minutes in which to complete the test.  Only 86 questions account towards the final score as 11 of the questions are for piloting purposes.  Again, you will not know the questions being piloted so be sure to take them all seriously!

 

Important guidance documents

To fully understand the format of the exam, we strongly advise you to read the following:

  1. MSRA Test Blueprint Information  

    • Explanation of the exam structure and marking with some example questions.
  2. MSRA Applicant Guide - Sample Questions  

    • A selection of sample questions for the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment.

Please note that although the documents above are written for GP applicants, they are still relevent as clinical radiology applicants also take the same test!

 

Useful hints and tips

  • Prioritising the SRA is important

    • The SRA makes up ~30% of your final selection score.  Many top candidates that work hard could achieve full marks at the radiology ST1 interview, therefore the only difference between these top candidates will be their SRA score, which may mean the difference between getting their 1st or 2nd or 3rd choice placement etc.
  • Be strategic with your revision time and target your weak areas

    • If you've undertaken placements in certain areas, maybe concentrate your revision on other areas you are less familiar with (e.g. if you did cardiology, general surgery and psychiatry, but not orthopaedics, we suggest you should make time to revise and refresh your knowledge of orthopaedic medicine).
  • Papers are NOT negatively marked so make sure you answer all the questions

    • It is important to note that the marking convention for ranking questions in the Professional Dilemmas (PD) paper means that even if got the ranking completely out of order, you would score a minimum of 8 marks for that question.  Skipping or missing an item, however, results in a score of 0 marks for that question!  The point we're trying to make is that you should aim to answer all questions, even if you are not sure of the correct answer to some.
  • Read the instructions and questions carefully

    • There may be times when you would like more information to answer questions.  Just give your best answer given the information provided.
  • There are often no absolute right or wrong answers

    • For the SJT it is important to bear in mind that often there are no absolute right or wrong answers, and that answers provided for the ranking items in particular are marked against a predetermined key, based on a near-miss approach.  Your performance on the test as a whole will be used to determine your level of situational judgement, rather than your performance on individual test questions.
  • Read the example questions carefully

    • If you feel you would benefit from revisiting some areas of knowledge or practice in order to be better able to show your capability, then you should do this before the assessment.  A glossary of terms and medical abbreviations which are not in universal use or may be misunderstood by some candidates will be provided.

 

Are there any useful resources to help me prepare?

 

Books

Succeeding in the GP ST: Professional Dilemmas Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA)
Nicole Corriette, Matt Green

Succeeding in the GP ST: Professional Dilemmas Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA)

Situational judgement practice questions for GPs taking the same SRA exam.

 

Oxford Assess and Progress: Situational Judgement Test (2nd Edition)
David Metcalfe, Harveer Dev

Oxford Assess and Progress: Situational Judgement Test (2nd Edition)

Practice situational judgement type questions.

 

 

 Practice questions

 

 Useful links

Competition ratios

Clinical radiology is a very rewarding career but getting a training post is competitive.

Key statistics from 2019 :

  • There were 967 applications for 278 ST1 training posts in England, Scotland & Wales.
  • 555 candidates were interviewed.
  • There were on average 3.48 applications to every 1 post.

Click here for more information including statistics from previous years

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