Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ST3: Interview 2024
T&O Surgery 29th November 2023

Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ST3: Interview 2024

If you’re considering applying for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ST3 (T&O ST3), you’ll no doubt be aware that it can be a competitive specialty. With this in mind, we have created this T&O ST3 interview guide to help you prepare well for the interview and application process.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about applying for T&O ST3, including the application timeline, format of the interview and the competition ratios, to give you the best chance of a stress-free application process.

Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ST3 Interview Timeline

The following is the T&O ST3 recruitment timeline for 2024:

Activity Date
Applications open 16 November 2023 at 10am
Application deadline 7 December 2023 at 4pm
Self-Assessment Uploads 20 December 2023 – 5 January 2024
Self-Assessment Verification 11 – 12 January 2024
Interviews 18 – 21 March 2024
Initial offers released on 18 April 2024 by 5pm
Holding deadline 23 April 2024 at 1pm
Upgrade Deadline 24 April 2024 at 1pm

Maximise your performance at the T&O ST3 interview by preparing effectively and efficiently with our Interview Question Bank.

Find out more →

T&O ST3 Applications

Applications for T&O ST3 2024 will open between 16 November – 7 December 2023, giving you a limited amount of time to submit your application. You can only apply through the Oriel recruitment system, and all sections of the application need to be completed.

The ST3 T&O application form has several self-assessment multiple-choice questions. This part of the application form requires you to select responses to the questions while providing evidence to support your answers.

The T&O self-assessment questions cover:

  • Specialty Experience
  • T&O Specialty Experience
  • Related Specialty Experience
  • Operative Experience
  • Publications (a)
  • Publications (b)
  • Presentations
  • Audits
  • Higher Degrees
  • Leadership
  • Teaching

As part of the essential entry requirements for T&O ST3, you must successfully complete MRCS Part A and Part B by the offer date. It’s also desirable to have:

  • Completed a minimum of 10 months’ experience in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Acquired CT/ST1 and CT/ST2 ISCP competencies identified within the T&O curriculum within the last 24 months
  • Gained a minimum of 8 months’ experience in two related specialties – for example, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Vascular Surgery, ENT Surgery, Cardiac/Thoracic Surgery, A&E, ITU, Urology, OMFS and General Surgery.

You can find more information about the entry criteria and person specification for T&O ST3 here.

T&O ST3 Interview Format

If your evidence is verified by the assessors and your application is considered successful, you will be invited to an interview.

The T&O ST3 interview is a multi-station, 60-minute interview. This will be split into the following four 10-minute stations, please note, the Communication station is an addition for 2024, after previously being removed from the virtual interviews:

Commitment to Specialty (previously Portfolio)

During this station, you will be interviewed about various aspects of your career. The two interviewers will be looking to gain insight into your experience to date.

The categories on the mark scheme include:

  1. Career Motivation, Learning and Development
  2. Leadership and Team Involvement
  3. Organisation and Planning
  4. Communication – Information Giving
  5. Academic

All the above categories are given a score out of 5 by each examiner, giving a total of 10 available points per category.

Below is an example question from our Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ST3 interview question bank:

T&O ST3 Interview – Portfolio Question


The clinical station consists of two halves and two scenarios lasting 5 minutes each. Candidates are presented with XRs or scenarios either from a trauma or elective setting and then asked related questions. The assessors will score you based on the following:

  1. Technical Knowledge
  2. Problem Solving and Decision Making
  3. Situational Awareness
  4. Communication – Information Gathering
  5. Communication – Information Giving

The following is an example of a trauma scenario from our T&O ST3 interview question bank:

T&O ST3 Interview – Clinical Question


This station – sometimes considered the trickiest – consists of a prioritisation exercise. It tends not to test any new knowledge that hasn’t been covered in the clinical station but requires a certain technique to excel.

The candidate is presented with several cases which they must prioritise in order of urgency. Usually, the setting is that of the on-call registrar organising the next day’s trauma list and also deciding which patients to see first in the emergency department.

To give you an idea of the types of prioritisation questions you might face, the following is an example from our T&O ST3 interview question bank:

T&O ST3 Interview – Prioritisation Question

For each prioritisation question in our T&O ST3 interview question bank, you’ll be given a possible answer (prioritisation list) and a discussion of each case to understand how this decision has been reached.

The two interviewers, who score you independently, will test elements of your skill set. This includes:

  1. Organisation and Planning
  2. Communication – Information Gathering
  3. Communication – Information Giving
  4. Judgement Under Pressure
  5. Situational Awareness

As with the previous stations, there will be a maximum of 10 points per category available.

Communication (New for 2024)

Previously, communication was assessed across the other three stations (as is still the case). However, for the T&O ST3 2024 interview, it has also been introduced as a separate station.

The communication station is based on a scenario involving communication with a patient. You will be assessed – and scored individually by the two assessors – against the following domains:

  1. Technical Knowledge
  2. Situational Awareness
  3. Judgement Under Pressure
  4. Communication – Information Gathering
  5. Communication – Information Giving

The full scoring matrix for the interview can be found in Appendix 4 of the applicant handbook.

We have added Communication scenarios to our question bank for 2024, and have provided an example below so you know what to expect.

T&O ST3 Competition Ratios

In 2023, T&O ST3 had 483 applications. With only 160 posts, there was a competition ratio of 3.02. This means more than three people were applying for every post. With a high number of applicants battling it out, you need to ensure that your T&O ST3 application is the best it can be.

When preparing your application, we recommend ensuring you are familiar with the self-assessment scoring guidance and the application handbook. We’ve also designed the Medibuddy Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ST3 Interview Question Bank with a broad range of questions covering all elements of the interview and detailed explanations to help you succeed. You can find out more about our new T&O ST3 interview question bank here.

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