Candidates applying for the 2020 Core Surgical Training interviews have to complete a set of self-assessment questions during their application. The answers you give to these questions are validated during the portfolio station on the interview day and make up a significant proportion of your overall interview score. You have to provide evidence to support your answers for each question and can get referred to a probity panel if you are suspected of trying to mislead the interviewers with the evidence you have provided.

The questions, the different responses you can select, and examples of the evidence accepted for each question are shown below. These are taken from the These are taken from the 2020 Self-Assessment and Portfolio Guidance for Candidates document. These change slightly every year so don’t rely on them being the same in future years.

Key Skill: Postgraduate degrees and qualifications and additional degrees
Response Scoring Range
  • Primary Medical Qualification only
  • 2.1, 2.2 or 3rd class BMedSci awarded at University of Nottingham
  • 0
  • Degree obtained during medical course (eg intercalation, BSC, BA, etc) – 2.1 or equivalent
  • Undergraduate degree obtained prior to starting medicine – 2.1 or equivalent
  • MPhil Master of Philosophy
  • Single-year postgraduate course (eg MSc,MA,MRes, etc)
  • Nottingham BMedSci – 1st Class Honours
  • 2
  • Undergraduate degree obtained prior to starting medicine – 1st class honours or equivalent including BDS
  • Degree obtained during medical course (eg intervalation, BSc, BA, etc) – 1st class honours or equivalent (excluding Nottingham BMed Sci)
  • PhD or DPhil Doctor of Philosophy MD
  • Doctor of Medicine – two-year original researched based
  • 4
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    Original degree certificate

    Key Skill: Additional Achievements
    Response Scoring Range
    None/other: Please specify 0
    Scholarship/bursary/equivalent awarded during medical undergraduate training or Foundation Training 2
    One prize/distinction/merit related to parts of the medical undergraduate training or Foundation Training awarded to no more than the top 20% 3
    More than one prize/distinction/merit related to parts of the medical undergraduate training or Foundation Training awarded to no more than the top 20%

    High-achievement award for primary medical qualification (e.g. honours or distinction) awarded to no more than the top 10%
    4
    Awarded national prize related to medicine (open to all trainees) 5
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Original letter from medical school / Departments/ Foundation School
    • Original certificate

    Key Skill: Quality Improvement (clinical audit)
    Response Scoring Range
    None/other: Please specify 0
    I have participated only in certain stages of a quality improvement project or clinical audit 3
    I have actively participated in using QI methodology through a QI project or clinical audit; but I have not presented the complete results at a meeting within a local Trust 5
    I have actively participated in using QI methodology through a QI project or clinical audit; and I have presented the results at a meeting within local Trust 7
    I have designed, led and implemented change using QI methodology through a QI project or clinical audit; and have presented re-audited results at a local meeting 9
    I have designed, led and implemented change using QI methodology through a QI project or clinical audit; and I have presented the re-audited results at a Regional or National meeting 11
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Copy of audit project presentation hand-outs for project
    • Letter from consultant or supervisor stating level of involvement
    • Evidence of exceptional commitment

    Key Skill: Teaching Experience
    Response Scoring Range
    No evidence of teaching 0
    I have taught medical students or other healthcare professionals occasionally. I have evidence of formal feedback 2
    I have provided regular teaching for healthcare professionals or medical students over a period of approximately three months or longer. I have evidence of formal feedback 4
    I have organised a local teaching programme for healthcare professionals or medical students consisting of more than one session and contributed regularly to teaching over a period of approximately three months or longer. I have evidence of formal feedback 6
    I have worked with local tutors to design and organise a teaching programme (a series of sessions) to enhance locally organised teaching for healthcare professionals or medical students. I have contributed regularly to teaching over a period of approximately three months or longer. I have evidence of formal feedback 8
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Original certificate for teaching qualification
    • Letter confirming attainment of teaching qualification
    • Letter confirming involvement in a teaching programme

    Key Skill: Training in Teaching
    Response Scoring Range
    I have had no training in teaching methods 0
    I have had brief training in teaching methods lasting no more than two days or online modules. I can provide evidence to demonstrate this 2
    I have had substantial training in teaching methods lasting more than two days. I can provide evidence to demonstrate this

    I am currently undertaking a course for a higher qualification in Teaching and can provide evidence to demonstrate this
    3
    I have higher qualification in teaching e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, MA/MSc 4
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Certificate of attendance
    • Evidence of registration for higher qualification in Teaching

    Key Skill: Presentations
    Response Scoring Range
    None/other please specify 0
    I have given an oral presentation, or shown one or more posters at a local medical meeting(s)

    I have shown one or more posters at a regional medical meeting(s)
    2
    I have shown one poster at a national or international medical meeting

    I have given an oral presentation at a regional medical meeting
    4
    I have given an oral presentation at a national or international medical meeting

    I have shown more than one poster at national or international medical meetings
    6
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Copy of presentation (hard copy) and copy of event programme
    • Copy of publication including PubMed number or link to publication If accepted proof of acceptance

    Key Skill: Publications
    Response Scoring Range
    None 0
    I have published one or more abstracts or non-peer-reviewed articles

    I am first author, joint-first author, or co-author of one PubMed-cited other publication (or in press)
    2
    I am co-author, of one Pub-Med-cited original research publication (or in press)

    I am first author, joint-first author, or co-author of more than one PubMed-cited other publication (or in press)
    4
    I am co-author of two or more PubMed-cited original research publication (or in press)

    I am first author, or joint-first author, of one PubMedcited original research publication (or in press)
    6
    I am first author, or joint-first author, of two or more PubMed-cited original research publications (or in press) 8
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    Publication in Portfolio and Reference (Pub-Med)

    Key Skill: Leadership and Management
    Response Scoring Range
    None/other: please specify 0
    I hold/have held a local leadership or managerial role related to my role as a doctor or medical student for 6 or more months and can demonstrate a positive impact 4
    I hold/have held a regional leadership or managerial role related to my role as a doctor or medical student for 6 or more months and can demonstrate a positive impact 6
    I hold/have held a national leadership or managerial role related to my role as a doctor or medical student for 6 or more months and can demonstrate a positive impact 8
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Letter confirming attainment of leadership role
    • Letter confirming involvement in a leadership programme

    Key Skill: Commitment to Speciality (all surgical specialties)

    Only assessed at interview
    Response Scoring Range
    Gives clear examples of commitment to surgery in portfolio evidenced by examples shown below (not scored in another section of the Portfolio)

    • Surgical audit or research project
    • Membership of Surgical Society (RCS or ASIT)
    • Surgical elective
    • MRCS Part A
    • Surgical Experience evidenced by an operative logbook
    • Evidence of a Surgical Taster with Portfolio, with reflection

    Courses:

    • Basic Surgical Skills
    • Systematic Training in Acute Illness Recognition Training
    • Advanced Trauma Life Support
    • Surgical Skills for Surgeons
    • National Catheter Education Programme (NCEP)
    • ASIT Preparing for a Career in Surgery
    • ASIT Foundation Surgical Skills
    0 to 12 points

    2 points each for six commitments to surgery

    Maximum two courses to score
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Any specific specialty level skills e.g. practical skills
    • Any specific surgical or related experience or training (e.g. posts, specialist clinics, taster sessions, work abroad, etc)
    • Surgical research commenced or grants applied for that have not yet resulted in presentations or publications
    • Presentations, papers etc. in preparation or submitted, awaiting review
    • If MRCS exam has been sat or passed

    Key Skill: Clinical / procedural experience in both surgical and nonsurgical posts
    Response Scoring Range
    No evidence of clinical / procedural experience in either surgical or non-surgical posts 0
    Evidence of clinical / procedural experience in either surgical or non-surgical posts commensurate with time in training 1
    Evidence of clinical / procedural experience in either surgical or non-surgical posts ahead of expected competencies at current stage in training 2
    Evidence of clinical / procedural experience in either surgical or non-surgical posts well ahead of expected competencies at current stage in training 3
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    • Letter from educational supervisor confirming experience
    • Letter from Medical Staffing confirming length of appointment
    • Written evidence of completion of undergraduate surgical module
    • Copy of essay, publication, project work completed as an undergraduate
    • Evidence of reflection

    Key Skill: Organisation of Portfolio

    Only assessed at interview
    Response Scoring Range
    • Index as per marking criteria
    • Well-presented Portfolio
    • Concise and appropriate content
    0 to 3 points
    Examples of Acceptable Evidence
    Organisation of Portfolio Folder
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