The ST3 Neurology Interview is currently an OSCE style, station-based interview consisting of three stations. Each station has predefined topics (see below) on which you will be assessed. Ten minutes is allocated to each station, with a rest station of five minutes in between. Several candidates will be interviewed on a carousel basis however only one candidate will attend each station at any one time. You could potentially start on any one of the stations. This post is written in combination with our Neurology ST3 Interview Question Bank to help you prepare.
Neurology ST3 Interview Stations
Station 1– Commitment to Specialty / Achievements and Portfolio
Important – please see our guide to setting out your portfolio.
Your portfolio will be scrutinised against the achievements you claimed in shortlisting. Be aware that interviewers will be looking specifically to see if there are probity claims, so do make sure that all claimed achievements are clearly highlighted.
Marks will be awarded for evidence of career progression (i.e. achievements commensurate for time out of medical school) and commitment to the speciality. High marks tend to be awarded for candidates scoring broadly across categories (i.e. achievements with publications, leadership, medical education, audit/QIP etc.) rather than in just one area.
You will most likely be asked to talk about your career progression and why you wish to pursue a career in Neurology. This is an opportunity to highlight the achievements in your portfolio and say why they make you want to be a neurologist.
The conversation may then change to your awareness of hot topics within the specialty. These will naturally vary year on year. See our tips on where to find the most up to date information.
Station 2– Clinical Scenario / Communication
This station usually starts with a primer sentence which will be given to the candidate in the rest station immediately prior to entering the station. You will be given a card with a sentence on it and a few minutes to plan your answer before entering the interview room. There is no opportunity to take notes.
The case will usually centre around a key topic in the neurology curriculum, however it will be one that any candidate on the completion of CMT should be able to discuss. For examples check out our Neurology ST3 Interview Question Bank.
Marks will be awarded from your discussion around the key issues relating to the case. A good CMT candidate will score 3/5, an excellent answer (5/5) would be one you’d expect a registrar in the specialty to give. If your answer explores the areas they’re looking for but requires some prompting, you will most likely achieve a 4/5.
After a brief discussion on the case, the scenario will likely change into a communication scenario. This may be on the same topic but may also be different.
Station 3– Presentation / Professionalism & Governance
You will be expected to present an interesting (neurological!) case you’ve been involved with. This doesn’t have to be ground-breaking stuff; any case that you found interesting personally will do. Choose wisely.
The interviewers will expect you to present the case over 3 minutes, with two minutes of discussion. This will be without multimedia back up: imagine presenting a patient over a cup of coffee. Two minutes for questioning will then ensue, so make sure you get across the salient points. If you know the diagnosis, be prepared to discuss differentials and treatments. Your knowledge of the in-depth particulars are not being assessed; rather the interviewers are looking for a clear communication style and that you recognise the learning points of the case being presented.
Tips for success; practice in front of a mirror and film yourself. If you practice with a timer, make sure you bring a watch to interview as you will not be permitted your mobile phone in the interview carousel.
As for professionalism and governance; questions will centre around your understanding of professionalism and standards in the specialty; knowledge of professional bodies involved in the practice of the speciality, recent publications related to the above and also general aspects of governance. Successful candidates will reflect their own experience in their answers; e.g. if asked about improving or identifying a problem within a service, you may wish to talk about the QIP you led the year previously and what the next steps are…..
At each station there will be two markers (usually consultant neurologists) present. On occasion, a third examiner will be present. This is usually for quality control to ensure a fair process, or a lay representative. They will usually not be involved in asking questions or marking the candidate but are there to ensure consistency over the two days of interviews.
For each of the six topics above, each marker is asked to rate the candidate out of 5. This means there is a total of 60 points on offer. As a guide, marks are awarded according to the following quality markers:
- 0/1 – very poor answer; does not grasp concept.
- 2 – Poor answer; falls below standard required for commencement of ST3
- 3 – Average Answer; Standard expected of an average candidate completing CMT
- 4 – Good Answer; Above average ability
- 5 – Excellent Answer; a high performing trainee.
Final points from the interview will be processed through a predefined formulae to combine the interview score with your short list score. The final mark will be published /100. The process of this and the formulae are available on the ST3 recruitment website.
Of note, candidates scoring ≤2 points from three separate markers will automatically be ranked as unappointable to an ST3 post.
Check out all our Neurology ST3 Interview resources.