General Surgery ST3 Application Process
General Surgery 16th November 2023

The General Surgery ST3 Application Process

When you apply for the ST3 General Surgery interview, you may find it difficult to find a clear summary of the application process. Many candidates have requested we produce a summary of the timeline and the type of evidence they needed to submit, so that they can start their preparations early. Therefore, we have provided a clear summary of the application process below. Pay particular attention to the ‘Supporting Information’ required on the Oriel application form.

Application timeline 2024

For posts commencing in August 2024, the job advert will be released on Wednesday 15 November 2023, and you’ll be able to apply for General Surgery through the Oriel website between Thursday 16 November and Thursday 7 December 2023. No applications will be accepted outside of this period so it’s crucial that you’re prepared and ready to submit your application during this time. You’ll also be asked to provide three references, one of whom must be your current supervisor, but the employing Trust will only use these after offers are made.

A full breakdown of the General Surgery ST3 recruitment dates for posts commencing in August 2024 are provided on the NHS Health Education England (HEE) website and in the table below:

Stage Key dates
Vacancies published 15 November 2023 by 5pm
Applications open 16 November 2023 at 10am
Applications close 7 December 2023 at 4pm
Evidence verification upload 12 December 2023 – 9 January 2024
Portfolio shortlisting scoring date 15 January 2024
Portfolio results release date 17 January 2024
Appeal window 18 – 22 January 2024
Invites to interview 27 February 2024
Interview window 19 – 21 March 2024
Preferences window 22 March – 10 April 2024
Initial offers out 18 April 2024 by 5pm
Hold deadline 23 April 2024 at 1pm
Upgrade deadline 24 April 2024 at 1pm

Longlisting for General Surgery ST3 

In order to meet the entry criteria to be considered for specialty training, the application form requires you to confirm the following achievements in line with the 2024 person specification:

  1. MBBS or equivalent.
  2. Full MRCS or equivalent – MRCS Part A and Part B – by offer date
  3. Complete employment history.
  4. Evidence of achievement of CT1 competencies in surgery by time of application and CT2 competencies in surgery by time of appointment.


You will calculate a self-assessment score from your personal achievements and be required to submit evidence. 

The self-assessment questions in 2024 are as follows:

Question 1 – Time spent in General Surgery

This question relates to how many months you will have spent in total in General Surgery in any post-foundation programme in any country by the end of July 2024 or by the completion of Core Training if this is later.

There are a maximum of 6 points available:

Responses Score
0 to 3 months 0
4 to 12 months 2
13 to 24 months 4
25 to 36 months 6
37 to 48 months 4
49 to 60 months 2
61 months or more 1

Question 2 – Time spent in other specialties

By the end of July 2024, or the completion of Core Training, will you have spent at least 4 months in T&O, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, ENT Surgery, Cardiac/Thoracic surgery, A&E, ITU, Paediatric Surgery, Urology, Vascular or OMFS posts since completing your Foundation Programme?

A maximum of 4 points are available as follows:

Responses Score
I will not have spent 4 months in any of these specialities. 0
I will have spent at least 4 months in a post in 1 of these specialities. 2
I will have spent at least 4 months each in posts in 2 or more of these specialities. 4

Question 3 – Appendicectomies completed

This question asks how many appendicectomies (laparoscopic and/or open) you have completed which have been done either STS or STU or P or T?  Note: This refers to those done at the time of application, and they must be recorded in a validated logbook and each sheet signed by a consultant.

You can score a maximum of 4 points for:

Responses Score
0 to 5 0
6 to 15 1
16 to 25 2
26 to 35 3
36 to 45 4
46 to 60 3
61 to 80 2
81 or more 1

Question 4 – Publications

Here, you’re required to submit your 2 best publications, published in any PubMed indexed journal. To be eligible, these must have a PubMed ID and be published by the time of application.

5 points are available per publication, giving a maximum of 10 points for this section.

Question 5 – Presentations

You need to submit your 2 best presentations (these can include poster presentations) to be eligible for this section. Again, the presentations must have occurred by the time of application.

Points will be awarded for candidate contribution, being the presenter of the work, quality of study and scope of meeting (regional, national, or international). A maximum of 5 points is available per presentation and 10 points in total.

Question 6 – Audits and QIPs

You can submit your 2 best closed loop audits and your best additional audit/QIP. You can only include audits/QIPs that you have presented as you need to provide evidence of presentation.

Points are awarded for candidate involvement, reference standard, study design, importance of clinical question and impact of work. You can achieve up to 8 points per closed loop audit and 5 points for your additional audit/QIP, giving a maximum of 21 points for this section.

Question 7 – UK higher degree

You can score points here if, at the time of application, you have completed and been awarded a stand-alone UK higher degree or equivalent examined by thesis/dissertation. This section has been broadened to include PG Certs, Diplomas and taught Masters degrees.

You can score a maximum of 5 points for the following:

Responses Score
PG Certificate 1
Diploma/Masters degree without thesis or dissertation 2
Masters with thesis or dissertation (e.g. MSc, MMedEd, MS, ChM) 3
MD 4
PhD 5

You must ensure that evidence is provided for every self-assessment criteria. You can find guidance on what evidence to use for each question here. Where guidance on evidence is vague, consider requesting a letter confirming the evidence signed by a Consultant.

The upload window for evidence is 12 December 2023 – 9 January 2024. Independent assessors will verify the evidence for a final ‘verified’ score. The verified score can be appealed if there is any disagreement.

This score will be used to shortlist for a remote interview.

After shortlisting

If shortlisted, you will need to book an interview via Oriel. Invites to interview will be sent on 27 February 2024. Slots are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2024 interview window is: Tuesday 19 – Thursday 21 March 2024.

The General Surgery ST3 interview for 2024 will be an online interview. This will last 40 minutes and involve 3 stations:

  1. Clinical Station – You will be given 5 minutes before the interview to read a clinical scenario about a patient. This will be followed by 10 minutes of questions about the clinical scenario and other related questions.
  2. Management Station – Again, you will have 5 minutes to read through a management scenario based in the clinical environment. This will once again be followed by 10 minutes of questions about the management scenario and other related questions.
  3. Portfolio Station – You will have 10 minutes to answer questions about aspects of your career to date.

You can find more information in our guide to the General Surgery ST3 Interview Format for 2024.

To help you prepare effectively, we’ve developed our General Surgery ST3 Interview Question Bank, where you’ll find example scenarios and the recommended answer structures. For example, for the clinical scenario, you’ll be given a scenario such as the one below and guidance on how to answer:


In the interview, you’ll given 5 minutes reading time before the clinical scenario and management scenario. This isn’t a lot of time in which to read the scenario and begin preparing for the related questions. However, the recommended answer structures provided in the question bank will guide you through all considerations, so you can provide a clear step-by-step management plan within your answer.

After the interview, you will be asked to list your preferred jobs in order. Offers will be made based on your ranking at interview and your verified self-assessment scores. You’ll then have to accept, reject or hold (i.e. if considering jobs in other specialties) one offer with the option of ‘upgrading’ if a more preferred post becomes available. All dates, including when the initial offers are released and ‘hold’ and ‘upgrade’ deadlines, can be found in the table above.

For more interview guidance, check out our blogs discussing the interview format and interview preparation and essential reading, and to support your interview preparations, there’s our interview questions.

Further reading

General Surgery ST3 Interview Questions 

General Surgery ST3 Interview Format 

ST3 General Surgery Interview Preparation and Essential Reading

Person Specification 2024

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