The situational judgement subtest is a very different subtest to the others in your UKCAT. For one thing, it is a psychometric test rather than an aptitude test. For another, it is scored differently than the other subtests – in bands rather than out of 900. And finally, many universities consider lightly, if at all. You can read more about what the situational judgement test measures on our dedicated blog. In this blog post, we discuss what is it that the situational judgement subtest adds to the UKCAT.

What does the situational judgement test add to the UKCAT?

The ability to judge a situation quickly and effectively and choose the appropriate course of action is an important skill for any doctor. The situational judgement test will measure your professionalism in difficult situations, and how well you apply medical ethics to real-life situations.

As you progress through your career, emphasis will be placed on the softer side of being a doctor – how you speak to patients, your empathy and attitude. The situational judgement test provides an opportunity to get a glimpse at your softer skills at a very early stage. Read more about the key domains of the situational judgement test on our website.

Example situational judgement question

The following question is an example of the type of scenario you may be presented with on a situational judgement test. In the test, you will be given a statement such as “the student speaks up and says that he disagrees”, and gives four options to assess the appropriateness of the action. Take a moment to think about what you think is an appropriate action in this case:.

A student is assisting a clinician on a case of a patient suffering from acute abdominal pain. After reviewing all the medical tests, the junior doctor concludes that the patient can be discharged home as all his tests indicate that he is in good health and he is probably just suffering from a stomach virus. The student believes that this is not the case as he has spent more time with the patient and feels that the severity of the patient’s pain indicates a more serious condition.

Why should I prepare for the situational judgement subtest?

This may be the first time you come across a situational judgement test during your medical career, but it is certainly not the last. Situational judgement tests are used during medical school exams, in the selection of foundation doctors, GPs, and in some medical specialities. So the sooner you learn how to crack them the better.

The situational judgement subtest is based on a set of competencies and medical ethics principles. You need to be familiar with them ahead of the test. Our UKCAT situational judgement practice questions are designed around these competencies and principles, enabling you to build your familiarity with how they work in practical situations. The more you practise putting yourself in these situations, the easier it will be in the test itself to slip into character.