Situational judgement is the final of the five sections of UCAT. It’s designed to test your capacity to understand real-life situations, find the key critical factors and behave appropriately when dealing with them.
Situational judgement doesn’t assess your academic abilities – instead, it focusses on integrity and adaptability in ethical scenarios.
It’s very different to the other UCAT sections – and it’s marked differently, too.
During the exam, you’ll get 26 minutes to answer 66 questions, related to a series of scenarios. Each scenario can have up to 6 questions associated with it. This allows for around 23 seconds per question.
Situational Judgement is made up of multiple-choice and ranking-style questions.
These can be broken down into the following question types:
You’ll get full marks if your response matches the correct answer, or partial marks if you’re close. Your marks are then translated into a situational judgement band score.
The four situational judgement bands – and their explanations – are:
A third of people scored in Band 2 and another third in Band 3 in the 2021 UK situational judgement test. The average UCAT ANZ situational judgement score last year was 581.
A good situational judgement score in the UK would be band 2, with a high score being in band 1.
For Australia and New Zealand, a score of 647+ would place you in the eighth percentile and in the top 20% of test-takers.
|Average UCAT SJT Bands||Band 1||Band 2||Band 3||Band 4|
|Average Situational Judgement Test Scores||2019||2020||2021|
When you tackle the situational judgement test, you need to understand that you’re trying to find the correct response when you take into consideration the GMC Medicine Guidelines – not what you personally think is the right action. It may be called situational judgement but you’re not supposed to apply your personal judgement to the answers.
In order to score well, you have to understand what’s being tested and what attributes are being looked for. You also need to understand what that means in relation to example situations.
Furthermore, you need to understand what the answers mean. For example, what does appropriate but ideal really mean? How can you judge whether a response falls into this category?
As part of his first hospital placement at medical school, Todd is preparing to observe his first surgical procedure. He is feeling almost sick with dread and nerves, but knows he needs to ‘get over it’ at some point. A nurse tells Todd that they will be beginning in five minutes.
How appropriate is the following response by Todd in this situation?
Tell the nurse how he is feeling and ask her opinion
The answer: A very appropriate thing to do. That’s because it’s good to let someone know that he’s feeling unwell, and she herself may have been in a similar position, too. Asking for advice and support is always a positive attribute.
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