The Core Surgical Training interviews usually take place over a couple of weeks in late January and for the last few years have been held at Stewart House in central London.

Upwards of 1200 people are interviewed each year, and you will have the opportunity to pick which date and time slot you want on a first come first serve basis. The interview consists of 3 stations, each lasting 10 minutes with 3 minutes breaks in between, and they run in a similar format to OSCE examinations with two interviewers scoring you per station.

Candidates arrive on the day at your assigned time depending on when your interview is booked. There is then a wait of about an hour while your documents are checked and portfolios taken off to be looked through. You are then called into your groups and taken to different corridors of the building. You start sat outside of a room with station instructions on the door and then work your way round the circuit.

The core surgical interview stations are as follows:

Panel A: Clinical Scenario Station Panel B: Portfolio Station Panel C: Management Station
  • 2 clinical scenario questions
  • The first is given to the applicant outside of the interview room
  • 3 minutes to read the question, and once inside the applicant has 5 minutes to answer that question
  • Once you are 5 minutes into the station a bell is rung and you are given a second scenario and then 5 minutes of further questioning
  • Panellists have 10 minutes prior to interview to review portfolio
  • Applicants must complete the Portfolio Checklist prior to interview and insert this at the front of their portfolio folder
  • The Portfolio Station will have no set questions and will instead be based on the applicant’s portfolio
  • Pre-prepared 3 minute presentation (interviewers stop you at 3 minutes if not finished)
  • 2 minutes of question on presentation content
  • You are then given 1 management scenario and 5 minutes of questioning on that scenario

General tips for the day:

  • Give your self plenty of time to get to the selection center – plan your route, check for roadworks/closures, don’t turn up late and stressed
  • Dress smart – suits and ties for men (avoid club ties/sports ties), trousers/long skirts and formal tops for women
  • Make sure your portfolio is well presented and easy to navigate – no loose bits of paper
  • Smile – you may not feel like it but it makes all the difference!
  • Be courteous and polite to everyone – practice your smile and introduction with the other interview candidates whilst waiting for your slot
  • Start from fresh between each station – whether the last station when amazingly or terribly, forget about it as soon as you leave the room and concentrate on the next station

Please note the exact format and set up of the interview changes every year. The information below is based on previous years’ experience.

To sign up to the CoreSurgicalPrep mailing list and be the first to hear about updates for the 2020 application and interview round, click here.