The exact details of the 2021-2022 recruitment process for Radiology ST1 have not been released yet, however it is expected to be similar to the previous 2020-2021 process, which is detailed below.
What was the application process for Radiology ST1 in 2020-2021?
- Applications to Radiology ST1 are made via the online platform ORIEL. This is a national application process encompassing applications within England, Scotland and Wales.
- The ORIEL application form includes a self-assessment score, based on the candidate’s personal achievements. Evidence to support this scoring will be uploaded onto the ORIEL system. The evidence will be reviewed by Radiology consultants to ensure the self-assessment scoring is accurate.
- All candidates sit the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) exam.
- Candidates are ranked using a combination of both their self-assessment score and their MSRA score. The top 55 scoring candidates bypass the interview and are offered places. They will be ranked 1-55 for offers.
- The reminder candidates (i.e. those that ranked 56 and below on their combined self-assessment and MSRA scores) are invited for interview.
- Interviews are held remotely on Microsoft Teams. Candidates who attend the interview have a final ranking based on a combined score from their self-assessment, MSRA score and interview score.
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What was different about the 2020-2021 application process for Radiology ST1?
The 2020-2021 Radiology ST1 application process differed from previous years applications.
Firstly, not all candidates needed to interview. The top 55 ranking candidates bypassed interviews and were automatically ranked 1-55 for the purposes of job offers. This initial ranking was based on two criteria:
- MSRA score
- Portfolio self-assessment score (uploaded online during the ORIEL application process and verified by Radiology consultants)
The remaining candidates (i.e. ranked 56 and below) needed to interview. This was a single interview conducted on Microsoft Teams. For these candidates their overall ranking score was based on their MSRA score, self-assessment score and interview score. They were then ranked from 56 onwards for the purposes of job offers.
It is therefore clear that a strong portfolio is more important than ever (possibly allowing you to bypass interviewing!) – please refer to our blog post on an expected marking criteria and how to boost your portfolio.
What is the timeline for 2021-2022?
|Application window||4 November 2021 – 1 December 2021|
|Evidence verification upload||TBC|
|Invitation for MSRA||21 December 2021|
|MSRA window||6 January – 15 January 2022|
|MSRA result||4 February 2022|
|Interview invitation||7 February 2022|
|Interviews (remote on Teams)||21 February – 24 February 2022|
|Initial offers||15 March 2022|
How are training programmes ranked?
Candidates can view all the available deaneries on the ORIEL platform – the number of available places per deanery will be listed, although more specific details on each deanery are limited. Candidates can then rank deaneries based on preference via the ORIEL platform – you do not need to rank every deanery and you can exclude yourself from specific deaneries if you wish. This ranking process takes place before the results of the interview.
What is the offer process?
Offers should be circulated on 15 March 2022 (as per the RCR and ORIEL website). Essentially, candidates are ranked according to their overall score; based on this the top ranked candidate is offered their highest preference job that is available. This process is repeated for each candidate sequentially down the rankings until all jobs have been offered. If there are spare vacancies, there will be a clearing process.
How to prepare for applying for radiology
As described in the post about the application process, the overall radiology application can be divided into the Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA) and the interview itself. This post will focus on preparation for the interview.
In terms of the basic general eligibility criteria, most of it is basic stuff that the vast majority of candidates will automatically fulfil. More specific, unusual personal circumstances are beyond the scope of this post and you are better off emailing HEE London and South East Recruitment directly if you are worried you are ineligible. However, one specific point to make is that applicants must have 18 months or less of experience in Radiology (excluding Foundation Year modules) to be eligible to apply.
Your CV will form an important part of the application process. Please be aware, however, that unlike other specialty interviews, for radiology the interviewers will NOT have a chance to see your CV or portfolio beforehand. Candidates may be asked to talk about their portfolio and achievements, and it is therefore important to keep a few things in mind:
- You need to know your portfolio inside out – under the pressure environment of an interview you need to be able to quickly describe your key achievements to the assessors
- There is a limit to how much you can go through during the timeframe of the interview, and therefore concentrate on trying to have evidence of achievement in each criteria, rather than overly focussing on one area
In terms of the criteria listed by the person specification, overall domains include the following:
- Commitment to radiology – unless you have actually worked within a radiology department, it is essential to have attended a taster week within radiology. Be prepared to talk about what you learned/ observed, and how it confirmed your desire to do radiology as a specialty
- Attendance at radiology courses/ conferences will also provide evidence for your commitment to the specialty
- Qualifications – this includes BScs, MDs, PhDs, and post-graduate exams (such as MRCP or MRCS)
- BScs, MDs, PhDs are probably difficult to achieve within a short timespan, so do not worry if you do not have one. Few applicants will have MDs or PhDs.
- On the other hand, it is worthwhile trying to pass some postgraduate exams, as this is something that is achievable within your Foundation Years (if you are applying from a more senior role such as Core Medical or Core Surgical Training, then chances are you already have these)
- Research – particularly radiology-related. If you have a paper then this is ideal, although this may be difficult to achieve so do not stress too much if you do not have one. Even a non-radiology related paper is valuable
- Audit – again, it is better to have a radiology related audit. It is probably easier to get a radiology related audit (compared to a radiology related paper) so it is worth focusing your efforts on this, especially as many other candidates will have one. It is better to have completed the audit loop, as this demonstrates clinical improvement/ improvement to patient safety
- In terms of getting involved with a radiology audit, speak to current trainees or consultants in your radiology department
- The RCR has a list of “audit recipes”, where they have provided templates of audits, including the audit background, cycle, targets and criteria. This saves you having to come up with audit ideas yourself!
- Teaching – all applicants will have done some teaching. In order to stand out, consider attending a teaching course. Alternatively, consider organising a teaching programme for medical students (beyond the isolated single sessions that most people do). In terms of presenting teaching feedback, it may be worth collating feedback into a few pages summarising favourable comments/ data from your overall teaching – this avoids the problem of shuffling through pages and pages of feedback forms
- Management and leadership – this is a bit more vague and difficult to provide evidence for.
- Consider attending a management/ leadership course (if feasible)
- Alternatively, consider providing examples in a non-medical context (e.g. leadership roles within university societies, from hobbies etc)
- The person specification also suggests providing examples from multi-source feedback assessments