29th July 2023
It’s important that you score above Band 3 in the Situational Judgement section of the UCAT, since that’s the cut-off for many UCAT unis. These UCAT SJT tips will help you do just that.

1. Read Good Medical Practice

One of the best Situational Judgement test tips is to make sure you understand what this subtest is looking for, which you can do by reading the GMC’s Good Medical Practice guide.

You can think of this document as a blueprint for the Situational Judgement section. Many of the principles and themes of the SJT subtest are derived from this document.

If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, at least read the first page on ‘Duties of a Doctor’.

2. Remember The Main Themes

When you answer Situational Judgement questions, you need to make sure you pick answers that relate to the key traits of a good Doctor. These include honesty and integrity, safety, dealing with pressure, and teamwork.

3. Don’t Think About What You Would Do

A key element of SJT is that you shouldn’t just choose answers that match what you would personally do. You always need to think about the qualities of a good Doctor and choose the answer that best matches this criterion.

4. Understand What The Answers Mean

To find the right answer, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of what the different options mean.

SJT answers defined:

  • ‘A very appropriate thing to do’ means that it will address at least one aspect of the situation (but maybe not all of them).
  • ‘Appropriate but not ideal’ means it could be done but wouldn’t be the most ideal solution.
  • ‘Inappropriate but not awful’ means it shouldn’t really be done, but it wouldn’t be awful.
  • ‘A very inappropriate thing to do’ means that it should definitely not be done and would make the situation worse.

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5. Rate The Response, Not The Scenario

Many Situational Judgement questions portray a scenario where your actions have been incorrect or problematic. For example, the scenario might say that as a Doctor, you have given the wrong medication to a patient. This type of question is designed to test how well you respond when something has gone wrong.

When you’re choosing an answer, don’t let your thought process become muddled by the scenario. It’s vital that you focus on how appropriate or important the response to the scenario is, rather than the scenario itself.

6. Be Aware Of Your Stated Role

Most of the time, a scenario will say what your role is: you could be a school pupil, a medical student or a Doctor. Remember that the role has been chosen for a reason, so pay attention to it and think about how you should act within that role.

For example, a scenario might state that a patient has asked you if they’re likely to get better from their illness and that you confirm this to the patient. If you are a Doctor in this scenario, this is appropriate because no Doctor would shy away from telling a patient this good news.

However, if the scenario states that you are a work experience student, it would be inappropriate because you are not qualified to tell the patient anything about their health.

7. Don’t Assume It’s The Only Action Taken

When judging the appropriateness of a situation, do not compare an action to other possibilities you can think of that aren’t included in the options. You are not being asked if this is the most appropriate action to take – only if it is an appropriate one that would be taken alongside assumed others.


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8. Use Your Instinct

Try not to get too caught up in what the ‘right’ answer is. Situational Judgement questions are really easy to overthink if you mull on them for too long, because you could always make an argument that something is more or less appropriate based on other factors.

Take the scenario you’re given and go with what you know to be true based on it. Remember that you get half marks for being on the right ‘side’ (appropriate/inappropriate), so even if you are not sure about how good a choice it is, you should be able to work out whether it is generally appropriate or not.

If you have time remaining, try to resist the urge to go over these Situational Judgement questions again and again. It might be wiser to use your time elsewhere.


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