What is this section?
This section tests your ability to understand real world situations. It looks at how you identify critical factors and choose the appropriate actions to deal with them. You don’t have to know any medical knowledge for this section; all the information will be given in the question.
Why do you have to do this section?
Situational judgement is used by doctors (and medical students) in everyday practice. As a doctor, you will face tricky ethical dilemmas regularly, such as when patients refuse treatment, or when dealing with prescribing errors. These kinds of scenarios require adaptability, which is being tested in this section.
As a clinician, it is also very important to be able to see different perspectives. When making these ethical decisions, you have to be able to see the situation from all viewpoints. For example, if a patient is refusing treatment, you should consider their perspective, a medical perspective and also the relative’s perspective.
When weighing up decisions from all points of view, doctors cannot be biased one way or another. In order to maintain a neutral perspective, clinicians always help patients despite age, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religion. Any personal beliefs cannot be allowed to influence a clinical decision to treat or not treat a patient. The situational judgement section is testing your integrity through various sets of questions.
Above all, clinicians make a lot of decisions under time pressure. It is important to be able to weigh up both sides of a dilemma and reach a fair conclusion swiftly, which is exactly what you have to do in the situational judgement section.
Numbers for this section
You have 26 minutes to do 69 questions. There are 22 scenarios, with 2 to 5 questions each. This gives you about 23 seconds per question – not too long at all! However, practice makes perfect and we’ve got a few tips below to help you out 🙂 .
Top tips for Situational Judgement
- Read through each scenario completely. Although you are on a very strict time limit, it is important to read through the full scenario and make sure you don’t miss any key points of information.
- Review the key ethical principles. You should be aware of the 4 pillars of medical ethics before you sit this exam; autonomy, justice, beneficence and non-maleficence. These will come into play in some of the questions.
- Remember that one option = one course of action. You must remember that although there are four options to some questions, each option is a single course of action. Whichever one you pick, that is the only possible outcome for the scenario.
- Remember your role. Each question will tell you what your role is in the scenario. Sometimes, you will be a doctor, other times you might be a medical student or simply yourself. Whatever role you take, it is important to remember that you should still be answering as you; if you were the doctor, what would you do?
- Go with your gut. If you have a gut instinct in situational judgement, it’s best to follow it. Sometimes, you will look at the options and know that something is definitely right, or something is definitely wrong. Don’t overthink the scenario; you’re most likely correct.