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Stage 3 Assessment Preparation - Tips

For those of you that get to the Stage 3 Assessment for GP ST entry, here are a few helpful tips on what to expect. 


Since 2011 the format for Stage 3 has changed. All deaneries use the same national format for Stage 3 Assessments. This consists of a 4 part assessment. These include:

Simulated consultation with a patient

Simulated consultation with a relative / carer

Simulated consultatoin with a colleague

Written prioritisation exercise

The consultations last 10 minutes each including reading time, and the written exercise lasts 30 minutes. All 4 parts are equally weighted.

Prioritisation tasks

This typically gives you a list of things that need to be done in a limited time, and asks for you to list them in order of importance / priority, with a reason for each, and to describe the actions you would take. There is no one right answer / order, so it is important NOT to get hung up on that. Usually there is at least one that is clearly of high clinical importance. It is important to discuss both your REASONING, and what actions you would take in detail. Answers should relate to the competencies being tested, and be specific to the information provided and in what you would do.

Simulated Consultations.

You will do 3 different simulated consultations - 1 with a patient, 1 with a relative or a carer, and 1 with a colleague.

The simulated consultations could include various communication issues - an ethical scenario, breaking bad news, explaining an investigation or diagnosis etc. In these cases, remember the basics will get you some easy marks - introduce yourself, try to establish rapport, ask about the other person's Ideas, Concerns and Expectations. Check their understanding and try to be person centred.

Clinical knowledge is not being assessed, however if you demonstrate a clear lack of basic clinical expertise, or tell the patient something that is clearly unsafe, this may affect your overall mark.

In some cases, the role player will be asked how they felt you communicated with them, and this may affect your marks.

Time can be very tight, as you only have 10 minutes including reading time. One way to use your time more effectively is to become familiar with the format of the information provided - you will see that half the text on the page is the same for all cases - once you know what this says, you can ignore it in the exam, reducing your reading time.

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