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.

As part of the selection process for 2016 all applicants to Clinical Radiology ST1 will be required to take a Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA). This will be used for shortlisting. In line with other specialties, there will be a cut score below which applicants will not be invited to interview. Applicants will also be ranked based on their score. If the available interview appointments are oversubscribed they will be offered based on ranking order in the first instance.

That means that the aim of this test is not simply to pass (achieve a minimum score), but to achieve a score high enough to be offered one of the limited number of interview slots.  Think of it as a hurdle you have to pass to get further in the interview process.  Once you are offered an interview, your SRA score becomes less important, however it may still factor in the final job offer ranking so take this test seriously!

 

Taking the SRA at a test centre

Taking the SRA at a test centre

 

Why do the SRA?

This mandatory assessment is used to shortlist candidates for interviews, due to the ever-increasing volume of ST1 applications.  Applicants are ranked based on their assessment scores to compete for limited available interview slots.  The assessment has been fully researched and evaluated, having shown to have a high predictive validity.

 

When is the SRA this year?

Between 7th to 14th January 2017.

 

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.  

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 5 possible responses in order for a particular dilemma OR selection of the 3 most appropriate responses.

Assesses various core criteria from the National Person Specification 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.

 

Useful hints and tips

 

  • 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!

  • 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?

 

 Essential reading

 

 Practice questions

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Competition ratios

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

Key statistics from 2016 :

  • There were 963 applications for 249 ST1 training posts in England, Scotland & Wales.
  • 537 candidates were interviewed.
  • There were on average 3.87 applications to every 1 post.

Click here for more information including statistics from previous years

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