Unlike the other parts of the test, which can seem quite abstract compared to medical practice, Situational Judgement is the application of real situations and actions that you would be expected to take in a clinical environment. In this way, it can actually be one of the most fun parts to study for, because ethical responsibilities are interesting and important!
It is quite unlikely you have done anything similar before, and that can make it difficult to know what to expect, so this blog will detail our top Situational Judgement tips to help you in your preparation!
1. Don’t assume that the action is the only one taken
When judging the appropriateness of a situation, do not compare an action to other possibilities.
You are not being asked if this is the most appropriate action to take, only if it is an appropriate one which would be taken alongside others. You may think, for instance, that in a certain scenario doing an immediate action to preserve patient safety is the most important, but a long term solution may also be an appropriate action to take.
The questions therefore exist both in isolation (you will not be aware of many parts of the situation you would know about in reality) but also in context, where it is assumed that this will not be the only action taken, just one of many.
This is one of the most important UCAT Situational Judgement tips. You should always imagine yourself as a doctor when considering your answer, unless the question states differently. You’re not a medical student, or an applicant, you are a doctor in a hospital or practice held to the General Medical Council guidelines and standards, as well as your legal and social responsibilities.
This means the GMC guidelines (Good Medical Practice 2013 especially) are going to be your best friend when practicing. There is even a handy GMC website with practical case scenarios (found here), many of which will likely come up in the test. Working through practical scenarios and understanding the reasoning behind each outcome is important, and will ultimately make the exam feel easier.
Try not to get too caught up in what the ‘right’ answer for any question is. Situational judgement questions are really easy to overthink if you mull on them too long, because you could always make an argument that something is more or less appropriate based on other factors.
Take the sentence that 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 of a choice it is you should be able to work out whether it is generally appropriate or not.
If you have time remaining you might have to resist the urge to go over these Situational Judgement questions again and again – which could be a shame if your attention is better used elsewhere! I would argue that for Situational Judgement, so long as you know the GMC guidelines, your gut instinct is more likely to be right than sitting down and physically ‘working out’ the correct answer.
Words: Riley Botelle
Want more winning Situational Judgement strategies?