About the UKCAT Situational Judgement Test

The UKCAT SJT assesses one’s ability to comprehend situations that occur in the real world, recognise important factors, and appropriately cope with respective situations. Specifically, the ability to make rational and moral decisions involving patients, medical staff, and the general public is evaluated.

The test examines how you respond to difficult situations in your day-to-day or professional life. The UKCAT SJT focuses on integrity, perspective, and team involvement. As a doctor, you will have to judge situations on a daily basis and choose the appropriate behavioural response each time.

The UKCAT Situational Judgement test focuses on two sets of competencies: your interpersonal skills (how you relate to others around you) and your ethical competencies (how you relate to medical ethics).

Why Is There a UKCAT Situational Judgement Test?

Situational judgement tests are often used in the selection process for jobs in the medical field. This test evaluates one’s ability to adapt and work on a team, as well as one’s resilience, integrity, and perspective-taking skills.

UKCAT Situational Judgement Test Format

The UKCAT SJT is comprised of scenarios and potential considerations and actions. Prior medical knowledge is not required. There are two sets of questions in this section:

Question Type 1

In the first set of questions, a scenario is presented and you need to rate the suitability of a series of potential responses to that scenario. The ratings are as follows:

  1. A very appropriate thing to do – This means the response deals with at least one facet of the scenario.
  2. Appropriate, but not ideal – This means the option is not necessarily good.
  3. Inappropriate, but not awful – This means the option should not really be used, but it would not be awful.
  4. A very inappropriate thing to do – This means the response should definitely not be taken and that it would worsen the situation.

It is possible the action described in a response is not the only action being taken. In other words, there may be multiple steps not noted in the response option. If a wrong medication, for example, is given to a patient, there are several things that need to happen, including medically assessing the patient and ensuring that he or she is okay. Thus, a response such as 'ask the patient if he or she is okay' is still an appropriate response, as you should consider that this is not the only step being taken.

The answer options 'a very appropriate thing to do' and 'appropriate, but not ideal' indicate that a positive decision has been made. Clearly, 'a very appropriate thing to do' suggests that this is the most accurate decision in the given scenario, whereas 'appropriate, but not idea' suggests the decision is good but that it does not fully address every issue raised in the scenario.

'Inappropriate, but not awful' indicates the correct decision was not made, but that it is not an irreversible or tragic mistake. In contrast, 'a very inappropriate thing to do' highlights that the decision is an extremely poor one, as it does not address any issues raised in the question.

Question Type 2

In the second set of questions, you need to rate the importance of a series of choices for how to respond to a scenario. These are the options for rating:

  1. Very important – This means the option is something critical to consider.
  2. Important – This means that while the option is important, it is not crucial for consideration.
  3. Of minor importance – This means the option could be considered, but it does not make a difference if it is or is not considered.
  4. Not important at all – This means the option should definitely not be considered.

The Situational Judgement section is comprised of 69 questions (associated with 20 scenarios) to be completed in 26 minutes (plus one minute for instructions).

UKCAT Situational Judgement Sample Questions

Sample Question 1

A fifth-year dental student, Anna, is overheard by a senior dentist boasting about how she copied parts of her first-year assessment from the internet to her friends in the hospital cafeteria. How important are the following when considering what the senior dentist should do?

  1. The alleged offence occurred a long time ago and nothing was detected at the time
  2. Whether there is any evidence of copying
  3. Anna’s reputation as a hard-working and honest student
  4. The school’s reputation as vigilant and anti-cheating

Sample Question 2

'You are a qualified medic on night shift in A&E. A young man is in a great deal of pain with a dislocated shoulder, so after a thorough examination, you decide to correct his problem by relocating the shoulder into its socket. How appropriate was your action?'

In this question, two issues are raised: the patient has a dislocated shoulder and the patient is in pain. In the passage, you dealt with the dislocated shoulder, so an appropriate action has been taken. The scenario does not note whether or not you have attempted to alleviate any of the patient's pain with medication. Therefore, the best answer would be 'appropriate but not ideal', rather than 'very appropriate', because not all issues have been addressed by your solution.

For more UKCAT Situational Judgement test samples, please see our free UKCAT practice test.

UKCAT Situational Judgement Scoring

Scoring on the SJT section is different from other sections of the UKCAT. The raw score is provided in one of four bands, with one being the highest band and four being the lowest band. If you answer correctly, you will receive the full amount of points for your answer. If your response is close to the correct answer but is not correct, you will receive a partial amount of points. You will be provided with an explanation as to what each band means:

UKCAT 2016
Band 1 Performed at an excellent level, displaying judgement similar to the majority of the expert panel.
Band 2 Displayed a decent level of performance, often demonstrating appropriate judgement, with several responses corresponding to model answers.
Band 3 Performed at a modest level, displaying appropriate judgement for some questions and significant differences from model responses for other questions.
Band 4 Performed poorly, displaying significantly different judgement than the model response in several cases.

How Can JobTestPrep Help?

Our UKCAT PrepPack™ offers comprehensive UKCAT Situational Judgement practice questions. Practice materials can be completed in either Timed or Step-by-Step Mode, in which each question comes with a detailed explanation. This method allows you to learn as you prepare for the test. Our online pack also contains a complete guide to the UKCAT, featuring specific tips for the Situational Judgement subtest as well as a full-length mock test. 


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