Win Your Place In the Course - Public Health Specialist Test

If you are applying to become a Public Health Specialist, you know how important passing the public health assessment centre is to become a public health registrar. There is no doubt that taking three difficult Pearson VUE tests is a major challenge, and we fully understand your apprehension.

We know that the time limits on each of the three tests (RANRA, Watson-Glaser Test and Public Health Situational Judgement Test) are strict and trying to accurately prepare for the recruitment and selection process can be confusing.

To quell your fears, we have developed a preparation pack mirroring real test conditions for a full practice before going to the Public Health Assessment Centre. 

Keep reading for further information, example questions, and everything you need to pass the test.

Our Prep Guide will give you:

  • Accurate practice tests covering every segment. This includes a full public health-oriented SJT and an accurate simulation test for the whole exam.
  • In-depth step-by-step explanations for insight into every problem
  • Dedicated study guides giving you full comprehension of every subject

So, let's dive further into the Public Health entrance exam, and get you ready to score big!

Public Health Specialist Tests
  • Full Public Health Specialist Test Simulation:
    • Full Public Health SJT
    • 3 full-length RANRA style practice tests
    • 2 full-length Watson Glaser style tests
  • 300+ additional practice questions & drills
  • Video tutorials & study guides
  • Normalised scores
  • Comprehensive explanations

Tamar, Expert in Public Health Recruitment Tests at JobTestPrep
Have a question? Contact me at:

About the Public Health Specialist Recruitment and Selection Process

The faculty for Public Health is the standard-setting body for specialists in this field. Recruitment for the Public Health specialty training is done through the Public Health National Recruitment Office or the PHNRO.

There are several eligibility requirements you must meet before you can even start the Public Health recruitment process. Additionally, receiving a place on the programme, you must provide a high-quality Public Health application at each stage of the process.

There are Public Health training programmes available across the country and two main routes in—clinical routes for medical professionals and an alternative route for Public Health professionals. The two courses are the same once you are in the programme. 

The Public Health Registrar (ST1) hiring process consists of several stages:

  1. Online application
  2. Assessment tests
  3. Selection centre:
    • NHS interview
    • NHS written test
    • NHS group exercise

PHNRO Online Application

Applications for the programme open in November. The NHS form asks for your qualifications, experience, and evidence of how you fit the criteria in the person specification for the programme. You should be familiar with relevant concepts and issues and the policy arena.

Questions on the application may include:

  • How do your skills and attributes demonstrate you as a suitable candidate for a higher career in this field?
  • What efforts have you made recently to further your knowledge of this specialty? What have you learned from this and how do you feel it has developed your suitability for this particular specialty?
  • Give an example of a time you found it difficult to understand the concerns of a patient or caregiver. What impact did this have and what feedback did you receive as a result?
  • Describe a time when you needed to communicate with people who had differing levels of understanding about the situation. What strategies did you use to adapt and how did you know your approach was successful or not?
  • Describe a recent experience of working in a multi-disciplinary team where a challenging clinical situation was apparent. What approach did you take in this situation and how did your behaviour enable the team to overcome the situation?

Public Health Specialist Assessment Centre

If your application form meets the necessary requirements, you (alongside other successful applicants) will be invited to sit three tests at a Pearson VUE assessment centre as part of your selection process.

Assessment centres are available across the UK and in five European cities. The tests conducted at a Public Health assessment centre are aimed at measuring your numerical reasoning, critical thinking, and situational judgement abilities.

Below are the three NHS tests you may need to take:

Public Health Specialists Online Prep

The Public Health Specialist Preparation Pack includes comprehensive practice materials for all three tests.

Available for only £39, you can ensure the high score you deserve and unlock your potential.

Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal

The NHS Critical Thinking Appraisal assesses your ability to think critically about given information, which involves interpreting data thoroughly and carefully, as well as thinking about its application to reach justifiable conclusions. This test takes 30 minutes to complete.

The test specifically measures five abilities:

  • Drawing inferences – how you draw conclusions from facts.
  • Recognising assumptions – the ability to assess whether a statement is justifiable based on an assumption given.
  • Deductive reasoning – how you weigh information to decide whether conclusions are correct.
  • Logical interpretation – how you understand the weighing of different arguments given a particular question or issue.
  • Argument evaluation – the ability to distinguish between strong and weak arguments.

The Watson-Glaser test is complicated and significantly different from other tests you may have taken in the past. Practising it helps you sharpen your skills, improve your answering techniques, and increase your confidence.

RANRA - Rust Advanced Numerical Reasoning Appraisal

The Public Health RANRA test aims to measure numerical reasoning skills. This exam is usually found in conjunction with the Watson-Glaser test. RANRA is not a typical maths test, it examines your deduction, analysis, and interpretation skills.

Assessing how you make decisions based on the analysis of numerical data, the RANRA asks you to identify the most important information from numerical facts and apply quick mathematical shortcuts to reach a solution. This exam takes 40 minutes to complete.

There are two parts to the RANRA test:

The first section: This section is a comparison of quantities, where you are given two quantities, a statement, and four possible answers.

The second section: This section is a sufficiency of information test, in which you are given two statements followed by a question. You will then have to pick one of five possible solutions based on the available information

Situational Judgement Test

The NHS SJT was designed especially for Public Health Specialty Training, to assess candidates to determine whether they possess the required personal and professional skills. This test is mainly focused on the non-academic, personal and professional competencies needed in Public Health.

The SJT measures your judgement in response to situations that you may come across in the workplace. You are given a set of hypothetical scenarios and asked to make judgements against possible responses. The SJT contains a total of 50 questions that must be answered in 100 minutes.

There are two parts to the test:

Part 1: Ranking Questions: Each scenario is followed by five possible response options. You will need to rank the responses to these given scenarios according to their order of appropriateness; 1 being the ‘most appropriate’ and 5 being the ‘least’.

Practise for this section of the test – At JobTestPrep, we offer 2 practice Graduate ranking tests, each consisting of 10 questions.

Part 2: On this section, you will receive the same scenarios, however this time you will be asked to choose 3 options (from a list of 9) that together represent the most appropriate response to the given scenario.

Your score is a tally of all correct answers, so you will get a better score by answering as many questions as possible. You can prepare for the test by reviewing the official specification of the types of people the recruitment office is looking for to take part in the programme.

Situational Judgement Test Example Questions

You have been assigned to work on a new project with a big client expecting you to counsel him on restructuring his business, given some new changes in tax regulations. To do so, the client expects you to gather information from a dozen locations across the United States. You are part of a central control team based in New York State and are in charge of supervising the quality of data collected by the assembly team and analyzing the data. You find that some of the team members are struggling to collect all the data and are complaining that they don't understand why you are asking them to collect some of it. You are confident that all the data must be collected to produce a high-quality report.

What would you do in this situation?

Please rank the responses below on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being what you are most likely to do and 5 being what you are least likely to do. Each ranking can only be used once.

Response #1: Contact their managers and ask them to speak with the problematic team members for you to get all the information you need.

Response #2: Agree with the complaints, as the assembly team members are on site and probably have gained more understanding on what is important to the project and what is of less relevance.

Response #3: Organize a web conference with all the members of the assembly team and clarify the importance of the data you are asking them to collect and why you are asking them to do so.

Response #4: Work with the information you have. Most team members have sent you all the data, so you can produce a good report, even with the missing data.

Response #5: Send an email to all the team members, emphasizing and explaining the importance of the task and the relevance of the data

Primary competencies: Team Building; Resilience/determination; Persuasion, motivation and negotiation skills
Secondary competencies: Effective communication; Independence

The correct ranking is:

#1 - 3

#2 - 5

#3 - 1

#4 - 4

#5 - 2

Explanation: You are in charge of supervising the quality of data collected, and for this reason, you are expected to portray leadership skills. You are specifically expected to take action that will result in a cooperative and highly functioning team to retrieve the information needed to produce a high-quality report.

Let's consider each response separately:

Response #1: This response demonstrates determination, as you take measures that will enable you to obtain all the information needed to produce a high- quality report. Although turning to their managers for help is not necessarily a negative response choice, it indicates a lack of independence and an inability to persuade and motivate the team

Response #2: This response exhibits poor leadership skills as you doubt yourself and accept the team's complaints. If you are confident in the necessity of this data (as stated in the passage) then you should be able to convey the importance of the data to the rest of the team and persuade them to cooperate. This is a negative response choice.

Response #3: This is a positive response choice. Notice that the team isn’t complaining about the irrelevancy of the information. They are 'complaining that they don't understand' why they must collect this data. By explaining to them why this data is so important, you are targeting the problem. You portray good leadership skills—you take an active stance, you target the problem, and you use your persuasion and motivation skills to influence the team.

Response #4: This is a passive response. You compromise the quality of the report over dealing with the problematic team members. This is a negative response choice

Response #5: This is a positive response, as you emphasize the importance of collecting the data and its relevance. This action will most likely result in a cooperative and highly functioning team.

The two positive responses are three and five, as both exhibit good team building, determination and persuasion, motivation and negotiation skills. In both responses, you act independently to achieve the desired results. Response three is slightly better due to the means of communication utilized, as a web conference with all the members is likely to be more engaging than an email and is likely to guarantee that all the employees received the information.

The two negative response choices are two and four, as both fail to reflect leadership skills. However, response two is slightly worse than response four, as it portrays you as a weak leader who goes against his judgement, while response four portrays you as an avoidant leader.

Response one is ranked lower than three and five, as it lacks independence and negotiation skills. It is, however, ranked higher than two and four, as it exhibits determination to retrieve the necessary data to produce a high-quality report.

The Public Health Selection Centre

The NHS assessment centre is a half-day session consisting of several exercises. These exercises test you against all the requirements listed in the person specification. This selection centre is held in Loughborough for all candidates.

There are three main exercises held at this assessment centre:

The NHS advises that you be aware of the following at the start of your application. These may also be useful for the selection centre:

  • What are your top six skills?
  • What are your work values?
  • What type of work do you prefer?
  • What sort of environment do you want to work in?
  • What is your career plan now and for the next five years?

The Public Health Interview

The NHS interview is really a set of short interviews in 'steeplechase format', in which you will move from one short interview to another in a row. You will be interviewed by six panels overall, as each interview will be on a different topic. Every interview will last around 10 minutes.

All stations follow a certain structure, in which interviewers will ask a specific set of questions and may also demand more information through supplementary questions. Questions during the interviews can be situational-based, experience-based, or questions about other tasks at the assessment centre.

  • Example NHS interview questions include:
  • What would you do in such a situation?
  • What are your thoughts on audit and research?

The interviewers are looking for evidence that you understand Public Health and the current issues, as well as that you have demonstrated the key competencies in the past. Don’t forget to provide this evidence in each of your answers.

You may benefit from preparing examples ahead of the selection centre and organising your answers using the STAR method. For more information about the STAR method, see here. Taking part in a mock interview ahead of the selection day can also help prepare you for the real thing. 


The Public Health Written Test

The NHS written test assesses your qualitative and quantitative analytic skills. This written test may follow a number of formats, including analysing a list of situations in order to rank them based on order of importance.

You may also be asked to provide reasons for your choices on the list. You can prepare for an exercise like this, as well as other forms of written exercise, using JobTestPrep’s written exercises preparation pack.


The Public Health Group Exercise

The aim of this exercise is to test how you interact in a team. The group may be asked to discuss a challenging or contentious situation. You are given written instructions setting out what the assessors are looking for you to achieve as a group. Essentially, this is a job simulation aimed at ascertaining what your style of teamwork will be in real situations.

You may be given an individual task or perspective to convey to the group, which you will be assessed on. You are also being examined on your ability to engage and relate with others, communicate, problem solve, organise and plan.

How you talk to the group, the quality of your input, and how you engage others within the group are also being assessed. Thinking about these points in advance and rehearsing your strategies will help you during the actual assessment. . JobTestPrep offer group exercise training to help you prepare.