Assessment methods

This page gives an overview of how your ST3 application will be assessed. There is more detailed information about each stage on the relevant sections of the website.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there have been some changes to the assessment process from previous years. Additionally, a contingency method has been agreed should interviews not be possible to complete due to the pandemic; this is covered at the foot of this section.

Your application will be assessed at three main stages:

  • Longlisting  – ensuring you can meet the main eligibility criteria to be considered for an ST3 post; this is mainly foundation competence and minimum experience.
  • Shortlisting  - if capacity is insufficient to interview all eligible candidates, deciding who can be invited to interview.
  • Interview  – assessment by consultant interviewers based on your answers to a variety of question areas.

Application self-assessment

When you apply you will assess yourself against an  application scoring  matrix based on your achievements across a number of domains. At some point after applications close, you will be asked to upload your evidence to support each claim; t he  evidence documents  section of the website has further information about this area.

Your self-assessed score will then be verified by a senior clinician who will check you claims against your application form and the evidence provided. At this stage scores could be increased or decreased based on the assessment. 

If applications exceed interview capacity, candidates will be invited in order of their verified score; with tie-breakers being employed for applicants with the same total score using each of the domains in turn.  The  after submission  page of the website has more information about this process.

Your verified score will also be used to make up a proportion of the total score used for ranking and offers. This is detailed in the 'Interview & scoring' area of each specialty's page. 


Evidence checkers are aware that, on occasion, it will not always be clear exactly which option to choose and so will not treat most cases of perceived over-claiming as a serious offence. However, any instances of candidates blatantly or persistently trying to gain an unfair advantage by over-claiming scores for and/or exaggerating their achievements will lead to a probity investigation and applicants in this position should expect to be contacted to review their scoring.


There is an extensive section of the website with general information about the  interview , with specialty-specific information included in their section of the website. At interview it will be determined if you can be considered for appointment, and the interview will form the majority of the marks used for your total score, which is used to rank candidates for the offers process.

Contingency plan

In the event that the public health situation means interviews cannot be completed for a specialty, a contingency plan will be implemented to allow applications to be assessed and the process completed. This will involve assessing applicants via their verified self-assessment and application form:


Your verified self-assessment score will be used in two ways :

  • A minimum score set that must be achieved to be considered for a post; this has not yet been set and will be confirmed if the contingency plan needs to be enacted.
  • The score will contribute to the total score which will be used for ranking and making offers. It is anticipated that all domains will contribute towards the final score but will be weighted in accordance with their predictive validity for interview performance based on previous years. The exact method will be confirmed if the contingency plan needs to be enacted.

Application form review

In addition to self-assessment, your application form will also be assessed for other elements:

  • Commitment to specialty – this will be assessed and scored by reviewing your answers about this on the application form and by reviewing your career and achievements to date.
  • Essential selection criteria on the  person specification  – your form and evidence documentation will be assessed against essential criteria on the person specification to determine whether it can proceed to be considered for offers. This includes:
    • Written communication skills
    • Organisation and planning – evidence of preparedness and thoroughness
    • Commitment to personal and professional development
    • Teamwork within multi-professional teams and capacity to work well with others
    • Evidence of self-reflective practice.

Ranking and offers

Following completion of this review, it will be determined whether applications can proceed to be considered at the offers stage, and a rank assigned to all those progressing. The exact scoring matrix to determine ranking will be published if the contingency plan is to be enacted.