core surgery interviews

Core Surgery Interview Overview

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Understand The Core Surgical Training Interview


In 2021 the core surgery interview officially will be held online and lasts 20 minutes with a panel of interviewers asking questions related to clinical and decision-making questions. The interview is designed to assess the selection criteria on the Person Specification with interviewers scoring against these criteria.

The interview will consist of one 20-minute interview station with 2 sections completed in the following order:
1. Management question lasting for 10 minutes
2. Clinical scenarios lasting for 10 minutes

There is no break in between the management and clinical questions and they are asked by the same panel members.

The remote panel will be comprised of a maximum of two consultants and there may also be a lay representative on the panel whose role is to check for fairness and consistency.

Core surgery interviews will be held online via Microsoft teams.

The stations for 2021 Core Surgical Training Interview are:

What To Expect


Upwards of 1200 people are interviewed each year, and you will have the opportunity to pick which date and time slot you want on a first come first serve basis.

The online interview format will mean you need to be even more focused and well-prepared to ensure you stand out and reduce errors.

Core Surgery Interview Station Scoring

Applicants will need to book an interview slot using their Oriel account. Slots are offered on a first come first served basis and will need to be booked by the deadline stated in the invitation to interview. Further information on how to book an interview slot can be found in Oriel Applicant User Guide.
All interviews will be undertaken online using Microsoft Teams between Monday 22nd February and Friday 5th March 2021.

There is an Applicant Declaration which all applicants must agree with and adhere to in order to sit an online interview. The Declaration also contains a list of vital steps you must undertake before the day of interview. You can find a copy of the Applicant Declaration here

As soon as the link to join the online interview has been received, applicants should ensure that they test this from the device they plan to use for their interview as you may need to source an alternative device to ensure connectivity if you experience any issues. Any applicants unable to connect should contact the recruitment team at the earliest opportunity. When testing the link, applicants should reach a screen that states that the host will commence the meeting shortly or similar wording. If you are unable to connect directly from the link, try pasting the URL link into the browser, or try using an incognito browser.

On the day of the interview, each applicant should click on the link and join the call 5 minutes prior to their allocated time. Before the interview commences, applicants will be briefed on the interview process and will be required to confirm their identity with the interview administrator. It is therefore important that applicants have suitable photographic ID available (passport or UK photo driving license). In addition, applicants will be required to move their camera to show the entire room where they are undertaking the interview, to confirm that nobody else is present.

Once identity has been confirmed, the administrator will advise the interview panel that the interview process can commence.

Applicants should ensure that their camera and microphone are turned on and working correctly prior to joining the call. Interviews will be terminated where the panel cannot see the applicant.

The interview must not be recorded by either the applicant, the administrator or the panel members.

On completion of the interview, the applicant should terminate their connection to the call and the interview process is complete.

Core Surgery Interview Scoring


The core surgery interviews are scored out of a total of 216.

Every station has two interviewers, each of whom will present a stem and a series of questions designed to last five minutes. Seventy two marks are available for each station with a total of 216 marks available overall. It should be noted that there is a cut-off score of 136 marks (or 62%, subject to slight yearly variation guided by statistical analysis), whereby any candidate below this score will not be deemed suitable for core surgical training. Interviewers will score digitally via tablets.

As you can see from the scoring breakdowns below each interviewer scores a certain criteria out of six for the management and clinical stations. A full breakdown of the portfolio station scoring is reflected in the self-assessment scoring system. Scoring systems are mapped against the person specification.

Other marking elements may be used in assessing suitability, such as the modified Angoff method or a weighting being given to the clinical station, and this means that there is no guarantee of success even if the candidate scores a total mark above the cut-off. An example of this might be if the interviewers deem an answer to have shown unsafe practice.

Core Surgery Interview Management Station Scoring

Clinical Station Scoring

Core Surgery Interview Clinical Station Scoring

Top Tips For The Core Surgery Interviews


  • Make sure you have all your documents prepared well in advance and have included and completed the checklist for your portfolio
  • On arrival at the interview centre you will be directed to a document checking area and then to a waiting room. A number of parallel interview sessions take place at any one time, so make sure you know which interview circuit you should be attending. At the document check, basic identification details and eligibility for interview will be confirmed. The waiting room will have some refreshments and is a place to relax and prepare mentally.
  • Administration staff are available on each circuit and floor to guide you or answer any questions you may have on the day.
  • You may receive a short presentation when you arrive to help familiarise yourself with how the selection centre process works.
  • Remember to acknowledge lay people who may also be present in the interview room and don't let an extra person put you off
  • Give your self plenty of time to get to the selection center – plan your route, check for roadworks/closures, don’t turn up late and stressed
  • Dress smart with suits and ties for men and trousers/long skirts and formal tops for women
  • Make sure your portfolio is well presented and easy to navigate, invest in a nice binder
  • Remember to smile and be personable despite nerves.
  • Each station is a fresh start – whether the last station went amazingly or terribly, forget about it as soon as you leave the room and concentrate on the next station

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