The Situational Judgement Test, or the SJT, is the 5th and therefore last section of the UCAT. It is comprised of 66 questions (down from 69 in 2022) and you’ll have 26 minutes to solve them. Although 66 may sound like a lot, the SJT is considered by most to be the least time-pressured section of the UCAT.
The Situational Judgement Test, as you can infer from the name, will test your ability to make decisions in situations in a clinical context. In other words, you need to know how you should behave in a certain situation as a doctor or a medical student. This may sound serious, but the SJT on the UCAT tests if you only have a very basic clinical intuition, there is not a lot of background knowledge required. Having said that, there are a number of rules that you should follow on the Situational Judgement Test. Have a look at the section below:
There is a limited number of themes that come over and over again in the SJT section of the UCAT. Below, we’ve compiled a list of rules that should allow you to answer the majority of SJT questions (though note this is not an exhaustive list):
1. Patient health and safety should always be the number one priority
2. Anything that could undermine public trust and confidence in medicine is always inappropriate
3. Seek immediate and local help first, and do it yourself, before escalating to people in higher positions (consultants, managers, heads of the department etc.) and involving others
4. Always maintain patient confidentiality (never disclose any personal information, even if the person claims to be a related/a close friend)
5. Anything that can be categorised as illegal (stealing, drug use, fraud etc.) is totally inappropriate (even if it seems a good short-term solution)
6. As a medical student and later as a doctor, you should care about and benefit from learning opportunities
7. Seeking advice from seniors when you are unsure is a good practice.
8. Patients should not be forced to undergo treatment and must always give informed consent.
9. You should handle confrontations and private discussions in a private setting (never in front of others)
10. Always report inappropriate behaviour (this includes cheating or plagiarism in medical school)
11. Always consider the patient’s wishes and expectations regarding treatment (never ignore people, as it shows a lack of empathy).
12. Do everything to maintain a good doctor-patient relationship
The Situational Judgement section of the UCAT tests your clinical intuition - your ability to make responsible, ethically righteous decisions in a clinical setting. But since there are so many possible scenarios, how do you know how to behave in each one of them?
Luckily for you, the General Medical Council (a body that keeps the register of all doctors in the UK and sets standards for doctors) once produced a document called “Good Medical Practice”, which outlines, very succinctly, all possible rules that doctors should follow in their work. It’s like The 10 Commandments, but for doctors.
Reading GMC’s Good Medical Practice will help you develop the clinical intuition necessary to ace the SJT. And it can also benefit you in the long-term for your medicine interview prep. Although it’s a long document, it doesn’t contain a lot of text and you should be able to go through it within an hour or so.
Intent on acing the UCAT? Check the tips we’ve collected for other sections too!