Interview & application menu

Competition ratios

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

Key statistics from 2023:

  • There were 3068 applications for 350 ST1 training posts in England, Scotland & Wales.
  • There were on average 8.77 applications to every 1 post.

Click here for more information including statistics from previous years

What is a radiologist?

Overview on what a radiologist is and what they do

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Radiology ST1 Interview

Hints and tips for the interview day

To get an interview slot, you first have to pass the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA).  If your score in the MSRA is good enough, you will be offered an interview and it’s important to remember that your interview score now becomes a key part of the decision making tool in recruitment (20% MSRA / 30% Portfolio / 50% Interview). This means your performance at interview is the main factor for final job offer ranking, therefore being thoroughly prepared for the interview is the single most important step in your journey to radiology, especially with rising competition ratios.

This year, the interviews will be held remotely online, typically with two interviewers.

Key points
  • Interviewed applicants final score will consist of their MSRA score, the verified self-assessment score and the interview score.
  • The interview will be held online using Qpercom Recruit, a browser based system.
  • In the event that interviews are uable to be held, the contingency plan is that all candidates will be ranked based on their MSRA scores and the verified self-assessment score only.

The radiology interview process has tended to change year-on-year for the the last 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’ changes slightly every year.

What is the interview structure?

Two interview stations (up to 10 mins each)

The interview questions will be based on the person specification for clinical radiology training and could cover any of the areas within the person specification. The interview will consist of a few questions and cover your commitment to the specialty and communication skills.

For a taste of what may be expected, here are details of the some interview topics used in previous years:

Commitment to specialty (“why radiology”?)

Interviewers are likely to evaulate a candidates ability to understand and discuss pertinent topics in radiology. They may ask about your experience of radiology (including your taster week) and previous training experience including how your previous experience has equipped you for radiology training.  If you are transferring to radiology from another specialty, for example core surgical training, they often want to know why you changed your mind and how you think you’ll cope with going back a few seniority grades. They may ask you to talk about your commitment to radiology.  They may try to find out how much you know about clinical radiology training including questions about the FRCR examinations, stress, the different types of training programmes and radiology academies.  A good understanding of what you’re getting yourself into is essential!  There may also be questions about current issues facing radiology including dealing with excessive workload, MDT meetings, skills mix and teleradiology to name a few. In summary, questions will proably be aimed at the following broad areas:


Personal skills

Interviewers will likely ask a question to assess your personal skills. This will be taken straight from the essential criteria of the person specification and may include questions to assess any of the following:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Empathy and sensitivity
  • Managing others and team involvement
  • Organisation and planning (prioritising time, information, workload etc)
  • Vigilance and situational awareness
  • Coping with pressure and managing uncertainty
  • NHS Values


Other questions

Interviewers will usually always ask at the end whether you have any other questions you would like to ask or if you had any comments for the interviewers. It is worth preparing for this too.

Hints and tips

The number of applicants to clinical radiology has increased year on year and competition for training posts is more now than in previous years.  This means preparation for the interview is more vital than in previous years.

  • Prepare early

    • The key to a successful interview is preparation and practise. If you know what to expect and are prepared, the interview shouldn’t have many surprises. Your local radiology department will be very happy to help you, and as a general rule, will be delighted that you are taking an interest and wishing to explore our specialty as a career option.
  • Practice out loud

    • Practice with someone out loud. This is really important and will help you appreciate that your answers are a good length (not 10 minutes long!). Practice with family and friends under timed conditions.
  • Have a good understanding of the general workings of a radiology department

    • Without evidence of a taster week, valuable marks will be immediately lost. It is important that you spend time in a radiology department at some point before your interview. This gives you the opportunity to see how Radiologists, Radiographers and other members of the radiology team work together to deliver a service. Ask questions and get an idea of some of the current issues affecting radiology (e.g. lack of specialty trainees and moving to 7 day working patterns).
  • Read our example questions

    • We have a comprehensive list of example interview questions commonly asked at ST1 interview.  Read through this list and think about how you would answer the questions if asked at interview.  There are many hot topics to read up on, many of which are based on the clinical radiology curriculum and would therefore likely cover the following areas: knowledge, audit, interpretative/clinical skills, leadership, procedural skills, communication skills, teaching skills and team work.
  • Know the exam structure

    • Questions on this often come up at interview.  We have detailed information and tips for the FRCR exams on this website, however it is primarily targetted at current radiology trainees.  In preparing for your interview you would be better to read the information on the Royal College of Radiologists website.
    • Here is a summary of the FRCR exams for you:

      • First FRCR examination
        Taken in March of ST1
        Consists of two exams; Anatomy (90 minutes) and Physics (2 hours).  The anatomy exam consists of 100 radiological images with one question each (usually ‘name this structure’) and free text answers.  The physics exam consists of 40 true/false questions, each question with 5 components (so total of 200 questions).
      • FRCR Part A examination
        Taken in ST3
        Two 3 hour papers (each 120 questions) taken on one day.  This exam asks questions on the following areas: Cardiothoracic and Vascular, Musculoskeletal and Trauma, Gastro-intestinal & Genito-urinary, Adrenal, Obstetrics Gynaecology and Breast, Paediatrics and Central Nervous System and Head & Neck.
      • FRCR Part B examination
        Taken in ST4
        Consists of three exams; a reporting session (75 minutes), a rapid reporting session (35 minutes) and an oral examination (60 minutes).
  • Attend a radiology course

    • Attending radiology courses is a way of demonstrating your commitment to Radiology. Although course attendance as a topic is unlikely to come up at interview, in general attending courses or conferences can help you engage with other radiologists and will almost certainly help. There are also specific radiology interview courses, which may help with your preparation.

Best interview preparation book

Medical Interviews (2nd Edition): A comprehensive guide to CT, ST & Registrar Interview Skills
Medical Interviews (2nd Edition): A comprehensive guide to CT, ST & Registrar Interview Skills
Olivier Picard

Many candidates have found this very helpful to read prior to the ST1 clinical radiology interview.

Useful documents and articles to read

Below are a list of articles, documents and publications which make good reading prior to interview.  Many of difficult questions and situational judgement type questions you may get require a good understanding of the issues involved to answer well.