This is an overview of the Emergency Medicine ACCS Interview that we’ve written in combination with our Emergency Medicine ACCS Interview Question Bank. We hope you find it useful!
The panel at your Emergency Medicine ACCS interview are not trying to catch you out. They want you to succeed because they want to add enthusiastic, well-rounded professionals to their specialty. Being confident and relaxed will do wonders for your interview score. That said, there are standards that must be met to qualify for a training number especially in competitive deaneries. Successful applicants will have familiarised themselves with the format of the interview, prepped their portfolio against the score sheet and be well-versed in the realities of a career in Emergency Medicine.
Prior to the interview you will be provided with a portfolio self-assessment score sheet and a list of required documents. Bring both with you to the interview. Make sure that you have prepared photocopies of all the required documents as there will not be the time or the facilities to make copies on the day.
When you arrive at the interview venue you will be taken into a holding area with the other candidates in your session. You will submit your documents to the faculty and wait for your interview circuit to begin. There is access to toilets and drinking water. You can leave coats and bags here as you will return to this room after your interview. The only thing you need to take with you into the interview is your portfolio and your self-assessment score sheet.
The interview is divided into 4 main stations. Each one lasts 15 minutes.
Clinical/ Ethical station:
In this station you will be presented with a clinical and ethical scenario. They may be combined into one scenario or tackled separately. You will be provided with a written abstract which you will have time to read through with the interviewers. They will then question you on how you would approach each scenario. It is worth noting that even if you get the initial clinical diagnosis wrong there is still the potential to pass the station if your management is sensible and safe.
In this station you will work through the self-assessment score sheet with the panel using your portfolio to justify your score. They will also ask you general questions about what you learnt from your experiences. See this station as easy marks. If you have marked yourself fairly against the score sheet then you should already know what score you will get going into this station.
This station is longer than the other three because you will be given 10 minutes to prepare your presentation topic. You will be given a topic by one of the invigilators and supplied with a quiet room, flip chart paper and markers. When the station starts you will present your topic to the panel for 10 minutes followed by a further 5 minutes of questions. If you finish in less than 10 minutes the questions will go on for longer. This station can be daunting for candidates, especially if they lack experience in public speaking, however the topics are often recycled each year and having a structured approach you can apply to any topic will help ease anxiety on the day.
Commitment to Emergency Medicine station:
This station has the loosest structure and the most varied content depending on who is interviewing you. You will discuss topics ranging from the basic (“Describe to me the structure of the ACCS training programme”) to the complex (“How would you tackle the problem of exit block?”). This station is the most difficult to prepare for but has the potential to boost even an average candidate to a high overall score if done well.
The stations do not exist in isolation – you might be asked about how you’d manage a difficult clinical situation in the “Commitment to Emergency Medicine station” and you may be asked about your reasons for choosing Emergency Medicine during your “Portfolio” station. Relax, it’s normal. If you’ve already ticked off the requisite boxes then the panel are probably just trying to find out more about you as an individual. Remember they’ve been sitting down asking the same questions and getting similar answers all day.
If you have worked in EDs within your interview region then there is a fairly high chance that you might know some of the panel. The facilitators will always tell you before you go in to the station if you know one of the consultants and they will give you the option to have this panellist sit out. Decide for yourself whether you would want them to stay. I found a friendly face helpful but it is up to the individual. Either way, don’t let a surprise appearance from one of your bosses rattle you.
The interviewers will always be professional and fair but be prepared to be challenged. You will be asked to explain your opinions and choices, sometimes in minute detail. This does not mean that the panellists necessarily disagree with you. Stay calm and explain your reasoning. Emergency Medicine physicians are straight talking and relish someone who can stand their ground and articulate their point of view.
Finally, familiarise yourself with the ACCS Emergency Medicine person specification. There is a large amount of cross over between the attributes listed here and those that will score you points on the interview mark scheme.
Check out our other Emergency Medicine ACCS Resources.