Prepare for NHS STP Online Aptitude Tests and Interview

Are you applying for the NHS Scientist Training Programme? In order to get a place on the STP you need to impress in three very different assessment stages. Learn more about these assessments and how to prepare for them with the resources on this page.
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The Scientist Training Programme offers around 220 places across a series of different disciplines. Competition is fierce for each position, so you have to be prepared to do your best at each stage of the process. This page sets of out the three main stages of the NHS STP scheme recruitment process.

NHS STP Recruitment Process

STP Application Form

The first stage of the recruitment process is the STP application form. As well as the usual information about you and your education designed to assess your eligibility for the STP, the application form also asks you to fill in a set of specific scientific and leadership skills questions. In all there are four questions on the application form, and you have a limit of 250 words per question. Plan out your answers carefully as if you don’t answer to their satisfaction for application will not be taken forward to the next round.

NHS STP Online Tests

Once you have submitted your application form you are invited to the next stage, the NHS STP aptitude test. The purpose of these tests is to help reduce the number of candidates, so you must pass these tests before your application form will be considered. You will sit (up to) two tests provided by Talent Q - a numerical and logical aptitude test.

Numerical Aptitude Test

The numerical reasoning test assesses how you work with information provided in a numerical format, for example in a table or graph. In order to answer a set of multiple choice questions on each piece of information, you have to be able to perform simple calculations. Talent Q tests are adaptive, meaning that they get harder the more questions you get right, and they also have tight time limits per question, so you have to move quickly through your calculations. Learn more about this type of test and how to prepare for it with our tailored Talent Q Elements style numerical reasoning practice pack.

Logical Aptitude Test

Logical reasoning tests assess your problem solving skills without using words or numbers. In this type of test you are given a matrix filled with shapes linked together in a pattern. Your task is to identify the logic that links these shapes both horizontally and vertically and choose the next option from a set of choices. Prepare for this test with our Talent Q Logical Elements test style practice pack.

NHS STP Interview

Once you have passed your tests and your application has been approved for the next stage, you are next invited to the NHS STP interview day. This day involves four scored interview stations, each with two interviewers. NHS STP interview questions are based on your area of specialty, general information, and the NHS STP competencies and skills. Each interview lasts ten minutes.

You are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 by each interviewer at every interview against four areas:

  • Suitability and experience
  • Understanding of the speciality or pathway
  • Clinical scenario
  • Potential to benefit from training, leadership and professionalism.

The interviewers will pay special attention to your verbal communication skills in each interview, although they are not an official component of your overall interview score. If you score less than a 2 in any interview you will not be considered for a position. You are then ranked against all other applicants for your speciality with the highest scorers offered the places on the NHS scientist training programme.

Ahead of the interview day review your application form and in particular your answers to the application form questions. Make sure that you are confident on your specialty, and that you have examples of times when you have demonstrated certain skills. Draft answers based on the STAR method (Situation, Take, Action, Result). Once you have pulled together all your research, answers and examples, you will want to rehearse your answers. The best way to do this is with an interviewer in a mock interview. Try our Skype based interview with a trained assessor who can give you both interview practice and feedback on your performance.

In Summary

Competition for places on the scientist training programme is extremely stiff. There are usually thousands of applications for just over 200 places, with odds of less than one in ten applicants getting a job. This means that you have to be thoroughly prepared for each stage of the recruitment process in order to achieve the minimum requirements. Prepare for your healthcare scientist training assessments with our range of dedicated resources.

Are you applying for the NHS STP? Tell us about your experiences in the comments box below.

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