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Creating a Successful Foundation Programme Application

5 top tools and techniques

Preparation is the key to success in applying for a Foundation post

  1. Both Leicester and Nottingham Medical Schools provide sessions for all students on how to prepare for the application process.  Look out for details in your medical school in June/July, even sooner for academic applications.
  2. Reading the person specification for any job you're applying for is one of the first places to begin your preparations.  The person specification can help to inform you of what kind of scenarios may be covered in the situational judgement test. Hence, examining the person specification will give you a great starting point in knowing what areas are likely to be covered.
  3. You may want to do some research around which Foundation Schools you are interested in (as part of the application you will need to rank your choices of Foundation School in order of preference). You can find out a lot about different Foundation Schools from each corresponding deanery website.  For instance, on the East Midlands website you will find information about the Trent and LNR Foundation Schools, including information about the different hospital trusts, and the organisation of programmes.  There is also a really useful Foundation Programme section on the national medical careers website.
  4. A Foundation Applicant's Handbook is published each year in June, and is downloadable from the UKFPO website.  This contains a wealth of useful information:  timelines, details about registering online, guidance about the application form itself, references, tips on how to prepare for the situational judgement test, ranking your choice of foundation school, competition ratios, pre-employment checks, and FAQs. This is a must-read for anyone planning to submit an application.
  5. Get familiar with what SJTs involve and the supporting information that is available. SJTs are designed to test your judgement under timed conditions about work related situations that might be expected of a Foundation Doctor. Usually you will need to either rank options or choose the 'best' options from a given list of possible actions – it is natural that such conditions can put you under a degree of pressure.

Key advice when taking SJTs

  • View example SJT questions, as well as a practice paper on the ISFP website to give you an idea of the kinds of questions that are likely to be asked. An example answer sheet is also available so you can familiarise yourself with the question answering format.
  • In an SJT, you are not being asked whether options presented are 'right' or 'wrong' – all the options given may be effective or ineffective; you are being asked to make a reasoned and objective judgement from the options presented.
  • Think in advance about how much time you would need to spend on each question to answer them
    all in the allotted time. Don't spend too little or too long on any question.
  • Approach questions systematically.
  • Read scenarios twice – note down key words/terms during the test if allowed to do so.
  • Be wary of your own assumptions about the scenarios when approaching the questions as these
    could negatively influence your judgement.
  • Check your answer sheet for accuracy to avoid simple recording errors.

Other aspects to consider

Academic Foundation Programmes - For the 2013 programme the deadline for applications is 8th-19th October and coincides with Foundation Programme Applications. Information on Academic programmes and the recruitment process can be found on the UKFPO website.

Other Resources

Foundation Programme Office
Contains all you need to know about how to apply to the Foundation Programme, what to expect during your training, how assessments work, how to get the most out of your Foundation Learning Portfolio and what resources are available to help you decide on your future career.

NHS Medical Careers
The site has a suite of career planning tools to help all those within the medical field come to a well informed and realistic decision about their career by looking at self-assessment, career exploration, decision making and plan implementation.