This year, many IMGs – international medical graduates – have been shortlisted for BST – Basic specialty training interview in different specialties. I know this because many such candidates have contacted me for interview guidance. Therefore, I decided to write this blog to help everyone.
But, before you read any further, I’d advise you to read the previous posts I’ve written on general interview tips – https://magicwithmedicine.com/2021/07/25/job-interview-tips-for-doctors/
and GP training interview – https://magicwithmedicine.com/2022/01/10/gp-training-interview-what-to-expect-and-how-to-prepare/
because all job interviews have some common elements.
Having said that, there are 4 main domains of BST interview: introduction, ethics, team work and clinical approach assessment.
There are a few components that make up the final rank and merit list. They include:
|Undergraduate Academic achievements||20|
|Research and other qualifications||10|
|Interview performance and communication skills||20|
The undergraduate academic achievements are scored according to the centile/decile letter that you provided in your application. If you provided no letter then you would receive the minimum score i.e. 4. If your university does not have this evaluation system and you provided a letter stating the same then you would be given a score of 6. And if you do have the centile letter then you would be marked in the following way:
|Top 10% (90-100%)||20|
|Next 20 % (70-89%)||16|
|Next 40% (30-69%)||12|
|Next 20% (10-29%)||6|
|Lowest 10% (0-9%)||4|
For most Pakistanis, the score is usually 6 as most medical universities don’t have centile/decile evaluation system.
For research, credit is given to research publications, poster and paper presentations. For other qualifications, credit is given to post graduate exams. Detailed marking is as follows:
NQAI level 10 qualification (PhD) (relevant to medical practice) – 3 marks
Published International Journal (First Author) – 3 marks
Presented at International peer review mtg – Oral 2 marks|Poster 1 mark
Published in an International Journal (Joint Author) – 2 marks
Published in a National Journal (First Author) – 2 marks
Published a Case Report in a Peer-Reviewed Journal – 1 mark
Presented at a National Meeting – Oral 1 mark|Poster .5 mark
Published in a National Journal (Joint Author) – 1 mark
You should have submitted the DOI or the link to the published article in order to be awarded marks. Also, medical journals where you have been published must be listed in the SCImago Journal & Country Rank portal for your publication to be considered for marking.
For professional development, you are graded for career progression ever since you graduated – which includes post graduate examinations, research, teaching experience, workshops, professional courses etc.
For clinical acumen, you are marked according to your responses in the clinical scenarios. And interview performance and communication skills are obviously assessed during the interview.
My total interview score was 68 and rank was 49/540 and interviewer feedback was that my performance was above average compared to other applicants.
Use the CAMP acronym to prepare this introduction: Clinical, academic, management, personal. See details in my previous post
in which I’ve even elaborated the exact wording that can be used.
Prepare a few lines for this introduction as it’s a mandatory question and would set the tone of the interview.
As I applied for BST in medicine so I prepared the topics accordingly. I did the emergency topics from Oxford handbook of medicine and the website: https://wikem.org/wiki/Main_Page
Moreover, I drafted an overview of the management of common diseases in medicine from the website: https://patient.info/patientplus
This question will not be straight forward like tell approach to headache. Rather, it will be a long stem like those MRCP qbank questions with lab values etc. So, be prepared for that. Try to give concise answers but don’t panic if you are clueless. You can still make a differential diagnosis based on the information given and carry out investigations to reach the exact diagnosis. This is an entry level interview, so they don’t expect you to answer like a consultant!
You may be asked how you would respond to a difficult situation with a colleague or at your workplace. In answering this, just try to be a responsible and safe doctor with good manners. Use the STAR acronym here: situation, task, action and result, if needed.
I have explained this in detail here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2022/01/10/gp-training-interview-what-to-expect-and-how-to-prepare/
I hope, this short guide helps you prepare for the interview. Let me know if that is the case.
My next post will be about the subsequent steps in BST application after a successful interview. This is a very crucial time with important decisions so make sure to read about that.
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Best of luck!