Prepare for NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

 

NHS STP Key Dates

NHS STP Key Dates

STP webinar starts 17th January 2022 (12:30 - 1:30pm)
Applications open 18th January 2022 (11:00am)
Applications close 1st February 2022 (4:00pm)
Situational Judgement Test opens 8th February 2022 (6:00am)
Situational Judgement Test closes 11th February 2022 (5:59am)
Longlist releases Week of 27th January - 4th March
Shortlisting opens 11th March 2022 (12:00pm)
Shortlisting closes 4th April 2022 (4:00pm)
Shortlist releases by 22nd April 2022
Sub preference opens 25th April 2022 (11:00am)
Sub preference closes 29th April 2022 (4:00pm)
Interview allocations (offers) open 3rd May 2022 and onwards
Virtual interviews begin 16th May 2022 onwards – possibly earlier, depending on applicant and employer confirmations
Applications to employers open
As soon as possible, based on employer outcomes

 

STP Situational Judgement Test Practice

SJTs (Situational Judgement Tests) are a popular tool used by assessment companies, employers, and organisations to evaluate candidates' behavioural and cognitive abilities using daily work-related situations. This psychological assessment presents you hypothetical, yet realistic, scenarios related to the job you are applying to.

The Preparation Pack on this page will get you fully ready for every aspect of the STP situational judgement test, which you must pass in order to be accepted into the NHS' Scientist Training Programme.

Here are some details about the STP SJT:

Duration: 50 minutes for the test, but 90 minutes in total (including a non-disclosure agreement and tutorial before the test, and a survey afterwards).*

Format: You will be faced with different scenarios, and must choose responses according to what is expected of a scientist. 

Each scenario is centered around a trainee scientist, and you must rank the quality of given responses to the scenario from 1 (very appropriate) to 5 (highly inappropriate). Each scenario will have you ranking several responses.

Number of questions: 25 Scenarios, with several responses for each one  (174 responses to choose from in total).

 

 *Note: Applicants with an approved 25% time extension will have 63 minutes for the test, but no additional time for the agreement, tutorial, and survey.

STP SJT Sample Question

Tom and his colleague, Bob, are working together on a hospital ward and are sharing assignments. After a month, it becomes clear that Bob has taken most of the quicker and simpler tasks and has been leaving Tom with longer, more challenging tasks. How desirable is the following response by Tom in this situation?

 

Speak with Bob about his concerns regarding the distribution of work tasks.

 

A very appropriate thing to do
Appropriate, but not ideal
Neither appropriate nor inappropriate
Innapropriate, but not awful
A very inappropriate thing to do
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
The correct answer is A very appropriate thing to do.

This is a good response. Tom is dealing with the problem himself: He talks to Bob honestly, explaining his concerns about the unfair distribution of work tasks. Tom speaks to Bob politely to solve the problem on their own and maintain a good relationship afterwards.


 

Discuss the situation with a colleague that knows them both and ask for his opinion.

 

A very appropriate thing to do
Appropriate, but not ideal
Neither appropriate nor inappropriate
Innapropriate, but not awful
A very inappropriate thing to do
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
The correct answer is Inappropriate, but not awful.

This reaction does not help Tom find a solution. It is not appropriate to involve a third party before attempting to speak to Bob directly. When Tom speaks to a colleague who knows both of them and tells about Bob’s bad behaviour, it can be perceived as gossip that can cause problems in the future. It is not awful reaction since it attempts to find a neutral opinion to decide the matter relatively fairly.

Like the real test, the scenarios presented in the STP SJT PrepPack always ask for a resolution of a given conflict which represent realistic situations that occur in a workplace.

While you will need to use your intuition, the Preparation Pack will teach you how to comprehensively analyse the various scenarios and choose responses that highlight your skills to better represent yourself on the test.

The Preparation Pack is updated to match the 2022 iteration of the test, and includes accurate STP SJT questions!

 

 

Brief Overview of the Scientist Training Programme

The Scientist Training Outline:

Over the course of the three-year programme, you will be placed under the direct supervision of the NHS, or for some, a private NHS partner.

During that period, you will go through:

  • On-site training.
  • Completion of a master's degree (part-time.)
  • Undergo a final assessment of competence.

Upon successful completion of the entire program, you will be eligible to officially register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and will then be free to begin applying for scientist roles throughout the industry.

As a side note, you will be glad to know that training comes with a salary of around £31,000 and that the part-time master’s degree is fully covered. Before we get into the master's degree's basic curriculum, let's go back to the overall curriculum for the programme itself.

STP Core and Scientific Modules

The two primary modules are broken down into two primary segments:

  • Experience – You will apply your knowledge, know-how, and skills in the workplace, as practical training.
  • Master's Program – During your part-time study programme at university, you will primarily study blood science focusing on clinical biochemistry, including a research project. Additionally, you will delve into various subjects like ethics, professionalism, patient and carer perspectives, and communication skills.

 

NHS STP Core Person Specification

Now that you have an overview of the programme, let's dig into the core person specifications necessary to get into the program.

NHS STP Qualifications

Those who finished their undergraduate honours degree in pure or applied science, and finished with either a 1st or 2.1, are eligible to apply to the programme.

In specific cases where the applicant's degree is higher than the specialism demands, they may also apply with a 2.2.

Please note that due to intense competition, candidates with comprehensive experience are preferred.

STP Scientific Skillsets

These are the scientific skills that you must demonstrate in the context of either your prior work or study.

Skillset 1: You must show a background in patient care and a profound understanding and exploration of scientific practice in relation to clinical care.

Skillset 2: You must showcase your ability to assess and analyse various medical literature, design experimentation, and investigatory methods. Lastly, proper clinical judgment is crucial.

Skillset 3: This next skillset follows skillset 2. You can be well versed in scientific data, but incompetent in quality control and management assurance. In short, as the product is developed, it must continuously remain relevant to current demands.

Skillset 4: If you can follow Standard Operating Procedures and understand how to improve, find new uses for those procedures, or develop new methods, you will do just fine.

Skillset 5: Following the previous skillset, the NHS will now want to ensure that you understand the ins and outs of medical equipment, how to identify incompatible results in testing and more. 

Skillset 6: The next metric they will look at is your overall understanding of your chosen medical niche in the general healthcare setting.

Skillset 7: Yup, even doctors need to be well-versed in computer software to do their job accurately. They want to ensure you are comfortable and knowledgeable in all the various systems used in the industry.

Skillset 8: Lastly, they want to ensure that you can draw from your experience to analyse and extrapolate complex data or laboratory work.

STP Transferable or Soft Skills

In addition to the many hard skills mentioned above, there are many other transferable skills, which are also critical for the job. Let's take a look.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills - Both oral and written communication are critical for explaining a wide range of issues to health professionals or laypeople alike. From speaking with a patient, making a formal presentation, and writing day to day reports, these skills are a must-have.

Be a Good Listener – Bedside manners is important, as well as being able to take constructive criticism from your bosses or co-workers. Additionally, one must also be adaptive, meaning that the health professional should have the ability to convey the same message to different people in a way that is right for them.

Independence and Organisation – Next, you will need to be a self-starter, while strictly adhering to guidelines. Additionally, depending on the position, you may also have to demonstrate the ability to plan, monitor, and set policy on the team level.

Safety and Support - You will come across patients in a range of conditions from light to severe and even those on death's door. Bedside manners are more important than ever. In a similar vein, knowing all the proper procedures for disposing of hazardous reagents and chemicals is important for your safety and those around you.

Pressure and Values – These two really go together because it's in the toughest moments that we can lose the values and principles we value. Keep your emotions in check and your ability to plan and work with the patient always at heart.

 

The 2022 Changes to Recruitment and STP Aptitude Test 

Now that you have a broad understanding of the general process and specific skillsets the NHS will be looking for, here are some of the changes to the process that were made in 2022.

Specialty Restriction:You are now only allowed to choose one specialty. It is your responsibility to do as much research as possible before filing your application!

Long-listing: The logical and numerical tests are out, and an online Situational Judgment Test is in. The test will focus on your behaviours, professionalism, and values.  In 2022, the test will only be available during the specific test window, and not immediately after your application has been submitted.

Platform: The SJT will be conducted using Pearson VUE, also used for assessments by other Health Education England recruitment efforts.

Short-listing: After successful long-listing, applicants will be sorted using an algorithms based on scores from the application, and the applicant's location preference. They will then be invited to interviews with employing departments based on that algorithm. Rseserve applicants will receive an interview offer if one opens.

No "Hold Offer" – In previous years, you were allowed to put an interview offer on hold until a preferred one became available. This year, that option has been eliminated, and your first offer is your only offer.

 

FAQ

What are the recommended technical requirements for the STP SJT?

Use your choice of Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari or the current version of Chrome. Mobile devices are not supported, and a wired network connection is recommended. Make sure you enable internet cookies during the test, and that JavaScript is not blocked by security software!

How do I start the STP SJT?

You will receive 2 email messages automatically, which will include your web username and temp. password to take the test through Pearson VUE. Note: these messages will be sent to the email account you use on the Oriel application. 

 

 

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