The Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

Finally…The final frontier …the final voyage before you are done with all you compulsory exams.

For myself, I had given 4 exams in order to get to this point…  PLAB 1, PLAB 2, IELTS and the CSA … needles to say I was pretty much done… 2 years of examinations is more than enough for this old horse…


It is an assessment designed to test a doctors aptitude for employment and professional attributes expected of a Foundation Doctor. In other words, it tests your understanding of the ethics exam and the questions are hypothetical scenarios where you are faced with challenging situations.

It is the doctors own responsibility to book the date and venue through Oriel. You can do this around the month of September /October after your eligibility has passed the initial phase.

Once the SJT answers have been marked and test-equated, the scores are translated to a 0-50 scale (unlike to EMP score which starts off at a minimal score of 34).  An estimated 10% of doctors who take the SJT score score below 34. (UKFPO 2018 Handbook).

The overall score of the EMP and SJT will rank candidates against each other which is used by the Deaneries for selecting their doctors.

There are 2 basic types of questions. The 1st 2/3rd section of the exam (questions 1 – 47) deals with questions where you have to rank 5 actions based on priority/agree-ability. These questions carry 80% of the final SJT grade.

The last 1/3rd of the exam is composed of questions (questions 48- 70) which questions  where you have to pick the 3 most appropriate options (out of an estimated 10). This portion carries the remaining 20% of the SJT grade.

Worth mentioning, there is no negative marking.

Sample questions are provided at the end of this page.

Marking of questions

Each question from section 1 is marked according to how close you are to the right answer. Each correct answer means you scored 4 marks. Since you have to rank all 5 options, this means your total score per question is 20. If your answer matches the 2nd best option for that part, you score a 3. If it is the 3rd best answer you score a 2 and so on.

In section 2, each correct answer in a question scores you 4 marks. Thus 3 correct answers will give a maximum score of 12 per question.

The total decile score however is not simply based on the total marks obtained. It also follows a regression model, meaning if all candidates did well on that day, the 40 (UKFPO) percentile mark will be higher, and vice versa.


The exam

The exam is free.

In 2017/18, the exam was held at the:

Business Design Center,

52 Upper Street,

London N1 0QH,

United Kingdom.

To find out if this is still the address for your SJT, go to the “Assessments” section on your Oriel.

The exam is 2 hours and 20 mins long. It consists of 70 questions and is divided into 2 question formats, namely ranking 5 possible responses in order and select the 3 most appropriate responses.

The SJT carries 50 points for the total (UKFPO) score.

The exam is held twice a year. Once in December, and another exam in January. In both instances it is held from 10:00 – 12:20.

You will need to bring

  • 2 HB or 2B pencils
  • an eraser
  • pencil sharpener
  • current ID (passport, UK drivers licence, EEA country of Switzerland ID , UK university ID card only for doctors taking the SJT at the university they attend)
  • your SJT booking confirmation email

Sample questions:

The following has been copied from the SJT UKFPO website, found here.

Example Ranking Question

You are just finishing a busy shift on the Acute Admissions Unit (AAU). Your FY1 colleague who is due to replace you for the evening shift leaves a message with the nurse in charge that she will be 15 to 30 minutes late. There is only a 30 minute overlap between your timetables to handover to your colleague. You need to leave on time as you have a social engagement to attend with your partner.

Rank in order the following actions in response to this situation (1= Most appropriate; 5= Least appropriate)

A. Make a list of the patients under your care on the AAU, detailing their outstanding issues, leaving this in the doctors’ office when your shift ends and then leave at the end of your shift

B. Quickly go around each of the patients on the AAU, leaving an entry in the notes highlighting the major outstanding issues relating to each patient and then leave at the end of your shift

C. Make a list of patients and outstanding investigations to give to your colleague as soon as she arrives

D. Ask your specialty trainee* if you can leave a list of your patients and their outstanding issues with him to give to your colleague when she arrives and then leave at the end of your shift

E. Leave a message for your partner explaining that you will be 30 minutes late

Answer: ECDBA

Rationale: This question asks you to demonstrate your commitment to patient care. Although it is not appropriate for trainees to stay for an extensive period of time after their shift ends, or do this on a regular basis, staying an extra 30 minutes on this occasion is important to ensure an effective handover (E). It is more appropriate to provide information directly to your colleague to ensure they receive it (C) and your registrar/specialty trainee could also be able to ensure that your colleague receives the information (D). Leaving lists of information on the end of a bed is less effective and leaving a list in the general doctors’ office is least effective as your colleague is unlikely to know it is there (B, A)..

Example Multiple Choice Question

You review a patient on the surgical ward who has had an appendicectomy done earlier on the day. You write a prescription for strong painkillers. The staff nurse challenges your decision and refuses to give the medication to the patient.

Choose the THREE most appropriate actions to take in this situation

A. Instruct the nurse to give the medication to the patient

B. Discuss with the nurse why she disagrees with the prescription

C. Ask a senior colleague for advice

D. Complete a clinical incident form

E. Cancel the prescription on the nurse’s advice

F. Arrange to speak to the nurse later to discuss your working relationship

G. Write in the medical notes that the nurse has declined to give the medication

H. Review the case again

Answer: BCH

Rationale: Ensuring patient safety is key to this scenario. It is important to discuss the nurse’s decision with her as there may be something that you have missed when first reviewing the patient (B). Therefore it would also be important to review the patient again (H). Also relating to this is the importance of respecting the views of colleagues and maintaining working relationships, even if there is disagreement. As there has been a disagreement regarding patient care, it is important to seek advice from a senior colleague (C).