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Core Surgical Training Interview January 2021 Course Success

The national selection interview for Core Surgical Training is established as being one of the most competitive junior doctor interviews in the UK. Traditionally, candidates used to prepare for these interviews via numerous face to face courses. Travel and meeting restrictions in England with COVID-19 had hindered candidates from attending these preparation courses. A virtual interview course was therefore organised to support applicants in preparing themselves.

The virtual interview course ran for one day and consisted of a morning teaching session and an afternoon mock session. Key elements on how to approach a patient using the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) and Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient (CCrISP) algorithms were revised, and advice on answering questions relating to surgical leadership and management was given. The mock session simulated the virtual interview format in both in the style of questions asked and time allocation. The scoring system was adopted from the rubric published on the Oriel website which was to be adopted in the actual interview by Health Education England.

All candidates agreed that the course had clear learning objectives and was constructive. 91% stated that the course gave them a platform to connect with other applicants and form study groups. 83% of the candidates agreed that the mock session emulated the actual CST interview. The course received positive feedback in both objective and subjective formats. Virtual interview courses can be used as an alternative to face-to-face courses in the future to assist applicants in preparing to secure a training number in surgical specialities.

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