General Practice Speciality Training (GPST)
Advice & Insight From GP Stage 3 Specialists
Having a firm understanding of the General Practice Speciality Training (GPST) application process is essential in securing a successful GPST application. We have compiled a range of essential application information as well as key tips in order to help you make a more informed and successful GPST Application.
GPST Stage 1-3 Application Timeline
GPST Stage 1 Application Requirements
The GP Stage 1 application is completed on the online platform ‘Oriel’ between November and December each year. Applicants are required to demonstrate the following competencies in order to proceed to stage 2 of the application (Multi Speciality Recruitment Assessment):
- Full registration with a Licence to Practise awarded by the GMC (UK)
- Evidence of English language proficiency
- UK National or evidence of right to work in the UK
- Criminal Record and Fitness to Practice Declaration
- Three references (including most recent employer, Consultant or Educational Supervisor)
- Recognised primary medical qualification
- Currently in the second year of a UK Affiliated Foundation Programme or achieved Foundation Competencies within the last three years.
- Advanced Life Support Qualification (Required prior to commencing GPST1 post)
- UK valid driving licence with vehicle access or commitment to independently make suitable alternative transport arrangements in order to attend emergencies and provide domiciliary care.
- Confirmation that you will be available to sit the MSRA during the specified examination window.
GPST Stage 1 Application Key Tips
- Submit your application at the earliest opportunity
- Unfortunately, the Oriel website is notorious for technical difficulties close to the applications deadline, and late submissions are not accepted under any circumstance.
- Confirming three suitable references can take longer than expected, hence it is important to contact suitable references early in the application window.
- Rank according to personal preference, and NOT ‘tactically’
- Jobs are allocated on applicant scores irrespective of where one has ranked the specific deanery (eg. If an applicant has ranked Royal Free Hospital third and has missed his first two ranked choices, he will still be offered Royal Free Hospital before someone who has a lower overall score, despite the latter candidate ranking Royal Free Hospital as their first choice).
- Simplistically, the recruitment process allocates jobs according to overall applicant score (MSRA +/- Selection Centre) and not based on applicant’s ranking positions.
- Making changes:
- In the event that you change your mind regarding your preferred hospital location(s), you can change your rankings after you have submitted your GP Stage 1 application, until the final GP Stage 3 selection centre date.
- Alternatively, if you wish to change your references, this can be done at any point prior to the reference sumission deadline (after GPST offers released).
- Commence MSRA preparation early
- Whilst it takes up to three weeks from submitting GP Stage 1 applications to receiving a GP Stage 2 (MSRA) invitation, applicants are strongly advised to commence MSRA preparation prior to this, given that only a very small minority of applicants are rejected at Stage 1. Additionally, waiting until the end of December to commence MSRA preparation, does not leave sufficient preparation time for this vitally important examination.
Optimise Your GP Stage 3 Performance
Learn the best GP Stage 3 strategies and practice with reflective GP Stage 3 scenarios.
Competition Ratios and Vacancy Numbers
GPST Stage 2 (MSRA) Essential Information
· Open and honest with others; willing to admit own mistakes.
· Treats others with respect and dignity and knows where personal/professional boundaries lie.
· Able to balance ethical tensions in relation to demand, resources and expectations.
· Strives for quality and manages risk.
· Works proactively and is inquisitive in approach.
· Takes responsibility for self, others and the health of the wider population.
· Demonstrates a commitment to equality of care for all and strives to act in the patients’ best interests.
Coping with Pressure
· Understands and manages own emotions; understands the impact of these on decision making.
· Willing to admit when experiencing difficulties and seek assistance where needed.
· Readily employs tactics for managing own stress and pursues a healthy work/life balance.
· Maintains a professional demeanour; remains calm under pressure.
· Demonstrates self-awareness, understanding own limitations and how behaviour may affect others.
· Accepts and manages uncertainty and change; responding flexibly when required.
· Is resilient, managing criticism well.
· Able to take on multiple complex roles and effectively balance differing responsibilities and commitments.
· Capable of modifying behaviour to adapt to differing roles or skills required in the future.
Empathy and Sensitivity
· Employs a caring approach towards patients and colleagues.
· Capacity and motivation to view situations from the patient/colleague perspective.
· Demonstrates an understanding of others situation and circumstances.
· Takes a holistic approach to patient care and considers social, psychological and emotional factors as well as the wider healthcare system.
· Empowers patients through involvement in their own care.
· Acknowledges and explores the patient’s wants and needs.
· Takes a patient-centred approach, treating patients as individuals.
· Acts in an open and non-judgemental manner
Clinical Problem Solving – 96 Items, 75 Minutes
Infectious disease/ Haematology/Immunology/
Pharmacology & Therapeutics
GPST Stage 2 Key Tips and Score Banding
Timing – The Clinical Problem Solving Paper is the more time restricted of the two papers, and unfortunately finishing the Professional Dilemmas paper early does not permit any additional time for the latter paper. It is essential to manage your time effectively given that you have only 45 seconds/question (including reading time). Failing to finish the paper will significantly affect your score and chances of obtaining your preferred GP deanery. As such, implementing strict timed conditions throughout your MSRA preparation will ensure that you are accustomed to the time pressures of this examination.
O&G and Paediatrics – These two specialities consistently ‘over-represent’ in the MSRA examination, with year-on-year candidates reporting that 20-30% of their questions related to either O&G or Paediatrics. Contraception, vaccinations and milestones are particular favourites.
Finals Refresher – Most of the clinical content addressed in the MSRA is to a similar standard as that encountered during medical school finals. Instead of learning content afresh, re-review your cherished finals notes, and you’ll be surprised how much quicker you will re-learn the core content.
110% – The Multi-Speciality Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) is no longer merely a stepping stone to reach the GP Stage 3 Section Centre. A score in the top 10% of all applicants taking the MSRA will provide an automatic offer to any deanery of your choice, as a result of the new ‘Direct Pathway to Offers’. For those not obtaining direct entry, a strong MSRA score is essential in obtaining a place in one of the competitive GPST deaneries, with applicants ranked and offered places based on a combination of MSRA and GP Stage 3 Selection score. As such, all applicants should give 110% to this increasingly important examination.
If in doubt, guess – Neither question paper has any negative marking, and hence there is no penalty for incorrect answers.
BlackStone Tutors GPST Stage 3 Preparation Course
Written Prioritisation Techniques & Mock Exam
Candidates are taught our proven techniques for scoring the very highest marks in this section, with the opportunity to implement these techniques during our in-course mock exam. Ten written prioritisation tasks will also be provided to complete in your own time, with model answers included.
Simulated Consultation Practice & Feedback
Practice simulated consultations, receiving individualised feedback, from our team of GP Stage 3 assessors.
Our Courses are focused on maximising your practice opportunities, through small groups and a high facilitator to applicant ratio.
Learn from the Experts
Our team of GP Application Specialists are either current GPs or GP Registrars who have scored the maximum Band 4 in all four GP Stage 3 assessment domains. As such, they have all secured spaces in their first choice deanery, and are perfectly placed to assist you similarly.
09:30 Registration and Resource Collection
09:45 Stage 3 Selection Centre: What to Expect
10:00 Written Prioritisation Exercise: Key Tips and Techniques
11:00 Morning Break
11:15 Written Prioritisation Exercise: Mock Exam and Feedback
12:00 Simulated Consultations: Structure, Practice and Implementation
13:00 Lunch Break
13:45 Simulated Consultations: ‘Special Cases’: Breaking Bad News, Explaining Investigations/Diagnoses, Conflicting Interests
15:00 Simulated Consultations: Mock Exams with Individual Feedback
17:00 Afternoon Break
17:15 Simulated Consultations: Model Consultations
18:00 Question & Answers
The BlackStone Tutors GP Stage 3 Comprehensive Resource guide comprises of the following:
- What examiners are looking for in simulated consultation tasks
- Structured, trusted framework for simulated consultation tasks
- Guidance on ‘Special Cases’ (eg. Breaking bad news, conflicting interests etc.)
- Simulated Consultation Marking Domains and Mark Scheme
- Tips and techniques for written prioritisation exercises
- Justifications and actions for common written prioritisation issues
- Common reflection questions with example answers
- 10 written prioritisation exercises with model answers