Downloadable Leaflet on What to Expect at Specialty Assessment Centres
Employers use assessment centres to give applicants the chance to demonstrate their skills, rather than simply discuss their previous experience. At an assessment centre you will generally be asked to participate in a variety of activities observed by assessors. Assessors are looking for behaviours, dialogue, methodology, and anything else that can be mapped to the competencies necessary for the specialty.
Activities can vary depending on the specialty and might include written exercises, group work, simulations with actors and activity stations. The activities or scenarios try to mimic real situations in which a trainee might find themselves. You will not know the scenarios in advance: for most people, not knowing what the activities are but reacting to them spontaneously will give the most accurate impression of how they would behave in a real situation.
The best preparation is to be self-aware, consider what the competencies mean for the specialty and what attributes or strengths you want to ensure come across in the assessment centre.
Your other preparation should be similar to the preparation you would do for an interview. Think about what kinds of attributes you would be looking for if you were an assessor and consider how you could ensure that these are demonstrated at the assessment centre. It is a good idea to arrive slightly early, look professional and be friendly to everyone you meet, including the other applicants.
Recruitment to training for general practice
If you are applying to get into training in general practice, you will have to complete a clinical scenarios assessment under invigilated conditions (supervised in a way similar to exams) as part of the short-listing process.
The assessment consists of two 90 minute papers: clinical problem solving and professional dilemmas. More information about the assessment and practice questions are available on the GP recruitment website.
A very useful resource
The AGCAS DVD is a very useful resource if you are attending an assessment centre. Borrow the DVD from Post graduate Centre at your trust or watch it via the VLC. You will need an account enrolled on this course to view.