UCL Medical School


Supporting your career

  1. Careers Advice and Developing your CV

  2. UKFPO - the National Foundation School Application Process

  3. The Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

  4. The Educational Performance Measure (EPM)

  5. Your Medical School Referee

  6. Foundation Training in Singapore

Please liaise with medsch.year6@ucl.ac.uk for advice about careers and foundation school transition.


1. Careers Advice and Developing your CV

UCL Medical School:

UCL Medical School holds careers events in each year of the programme with the aim of supporting students in developing their CVs, beginning to consider different medical specialities, and preparing their Foundation School applications. Workshop and presentation slides and resources are made available to students in Moodle after each session.

  • Dr Aroon Lal, Deputy Head of MBBS Programme (Years 4-6), is the MBBS lead for Careers & Foundation School Transition
  • The Year 6 Team is available to help you with queries about the application process - medsch.year6@ucl.ac.uk
  • Medical Student Support Tutors may also be approached for general advice about careers and you can book an appointment at a time to suit you

UCL Careers:

UCL Careers provides bespoke support to UCL medical students through the work of David Clegg, a Careers Consultant who specialises in medical careers. See the drop down menu below for further details.



    Support for Medical Students from UCL Careers

    David Clegg, a Careers Consultant who specialises in medical careers, works with UCL Careers to provide one to one appointments and a number of timetabled careers seminars through the academic year for specific year groups.
    Medical Careers appointments are available two afternoons each month and last up to thirty minutes. David is happy to discuss all aspects of medical career planning and progression. He can also provide advice to those who might be considering other options.
    Appointments with David are available to book online via the UCL Careers online booking system MyUCLCareers 

    Appointments are delivered remotely using Microsoft Teams video conferencing software.
    If you have any questions about this service, or other ways that UCL Careers can support you, please contact our Information Staff at careers@ucl.ac.uk

    For general information about UCL Careers 


      Managing your medical career - links and resources
        Reflective practice through the MBBS programme

        Reflective practice is an important part of medical undergraduate and postgraduate training. As you progress through your career, you will need to be able to demonstrate self awareness and a growth mindset as well as being able to provide examples of how you have developed core skills and competencies. These skills include the ability to work well in a team, management and leadership, prioritisation and decision making skills, the ability to cope under pressure and the ability to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity.

        It is important, therefore, to identify tools or approaches that will help you to reflect effectively on your work and your professional development. Keeping a reflective diary in your portfolio during your MBBS can be useful in helping to record and track your progress and development over time. There are a range of ways that you may choose to organise your reflective diary and you need to choose the method that best suits you and that will be most use to you when you come to apply for specialty training posts.

        Ways of organising a reflective diary

        • Focus on what is meant by the ‘core competencies’, e.g. communication skills, ability to work well in a team, professional behaviour, prioritisation skills, and an ability to cope under pressure, which we know are likely to be assessed during the specialty training application process and beyond.
        • Use these ‘core competencies’ as headings under which you can list particular examples which demonstrate that skill set.
        • Alternatively, you might want to start by reflecting on particularly positive (or negative!) experiences which you have had during your clinical training which you can then ‘unpick’ or analyse in terms of particular skills and competencies.
        • Remember, there is no ‘one right way’ to keep a reflective diary. It is your document and you need to make the experience as practical, useful and relevant to you as possible.

        Learning from seeing and doing – A reflective tool

        Reflection often tends to focus on the negatives. This model, based on counterfactual thinking (Rose 1997) is a reflective tool that encourages reflection on both the negative and positive elements of a situation.

         Positive ActionsNegative Actions
        What could have been better?

        Was something missed out?

        What else might be done?

        What would you do more of?

        What should have been avoided?

        What was unnecessary?

        What mistakes were made?

        What would you do less of?

        What could have been worse?

        What could have been forgotten?

        What would have caused problems if neglected?

        What can you learn from?

        What mistakes could have been made?

        How were mistakes avoided?

        What could you have done to do a worse job?


        UCL Medical School Career Events

        Year 1 - November

        • Introduction to Careers (CIF Week A)

        Year 2  - February

        • Careers in Medicine and Transition to the Clinical Years (CIF Week B)

        Year 4 - September

        • Introduction to the Career Management process and information on Foundation School application process (IOM)

        Year 5 - September

        • Careers and the Foundation School applications (IOM)
        • Specialty workshops (IOM)
        • Specialised Foundation Programme

        Year 6 - July of Year 5

        • Foundation Training (IOM)
        • Foundation Programme Application Process (IOM)
        • The Situational Judgment Test and Workshops (IOM)


        Alternative Careers

        The vast majority of MBBS graduates go on to train within one of over 60 medical specialities.

        Medicine is such an extraordinarily varied profession that the likelihood of finding a specialty that suits your interests, skills and preference is very high.

        Nevertheless each year some doctors choose to move away from practising medicine to work within one of the many alternative careers available.

        It’s worth remembering that up to 60% of graduate-level jobs are open to all degree disciplines, including medicine. Therefore, if you treat your MBBS like any other degree you can see that you have a wide range of options available to you.

        If you are interested in alternative careers to being a doctor, first ask yourself whether you still want to work ‘within medicine’ in some capacity, or whether you’re more interested at looking at opportunities ‘beyond medicine’. This will help to clarify what it is you are looking for and why you are considering leaving the profession.

        It can also be valuable to reflect on what parts of your MBBS you have most enjoyed and which parts of the course have you found more challenging. This will give you an insight into alternative options that would suit your preferences and interests. For example, some students really enjoy the problem-solving or analytical aspects of medicine, whilst others get most satisfaction from working closely with patients.

        You may find talking things through with a careers adviser or educational adviser may help you to clarify your ideas and generate options to explore further.

        To aid your reflection, below are some suggestions of roles which are either linked to medicine in some way or those with are less connected to the field. Remember, these are a few starting points to reflect on; some of these roles will require additional study and training.

        Career Alternatives within Medicine examples:

        Health policy, medical journalism, medico-legal work, medical (NHS + beyond) management, health economics, medical photography/illustration, medical education, medical statistics, humanitarian relief work, clinical trial management, translational research and development

        Career Alternatives beyond Medicine examples:

        Management consultancy, psychotherapy, publishing, accountancy, social work, solicitor/barrister work, pharmaceutical research and development, forensic work, public affairs, banking, teaching, central/local government roles.

        Resources and Further Information


        External Resources

        Professional Bodies and Professional Organisations

        PG Medical & Dental Education in London and the South East

        Support for Doctors:

        Online resilience training

        Career Information 

        Application to Foundation Training

        Application to Specialty

        Academic Medicine and Research

        Integrated Academic Pathways for Doctors and Dentists

        Women in Medicine

        Working outside the UK


        2. UKFPO - The National Foundation School Application Process

        The application process is managed by the UK Foundation Programme Office and all information and guidance is published on the UKFPO website

        UCLH, The Royal Free and The Whittington Hospital Trusts are within the North and Central London Foundation School which is managed by Health Education England (London and South East). Information about this and other UK Foundation Schools can be found via HEE’s website


        3. The Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

        The SJT is an online examination taken in December or January of Year 6 as part of the application process for the Foundation Programme.

        All information about the SJT can be found on the UKFPO website


        4. The Educational Performance Measure (EPM)

        Information about the EPM can be found on the UKFPO website.

        Notification of EPM outcomes is sent to students in September of Year 6 by the Year 6 Manager.

        In summary, Medical Schools are required to rank their students’ performance in local assessments into deciles following national rules, which:

        • exclude pass/fail outcomes
        • are calculated for the cohort entering Year 6 (i.e. not by reference to the original cohorts in which students took their Year 4 or 5 exams) 
        • carry forward original rankings for students who have delayed their application to Foundation training*
        • carry forward original rankings for finalists who resit out of cohort (as the contributing marks are drawn from assessments taken up to the time of FS application)*  

        *(these rankings are appended to the new cohort list after the new cohort rankings have been determined)

        Students in the Year 6 cohort at UCLMS will be ranked according to their overall score and allocated into deciles based on the following national rules: 

        • each student will have a rank place between 1 (highest scoring) and n (lowest scoring) 
        • students with the same score will share the same rank place 
        • where x students share the same rank place, the next x-1 rank places will remain empty 
        • the rank places will be allocated in order (from 1 to n) to ten equal-sized groups, rounded up or down to the nearest whole number 

        At UCLMS, scores used to calculate the EPM are based on 1st entry examination results

        Z scores are used at UCLMS to calculate the EPM for Foundation School applications. The z score used to calculate the EPM is based on performance in Year 4 and Year 5 for the cohort entering Year 6 with the scores from each year weighted 50:50.

        Z-scores are a means of comparing each student’s mark with the mean mark for their cohort and are expressed as the number of standard deviations from the mean. The formula for calculating a z-score is z = (x-μ)/σ, where x is the raw score, μ is the mean, and σ is the standard deviation. 

        In 2019-20 the rankings will be calculated on the basis of Year 4 examinations (written and clinical) and Year 5 examinations (written) weighted 70:30 to reflect the Covid-19 adjustments made to the Year 5 examinations in July 2020.

        In 2020-21 the decile rankings will be calculated on the basis of Year 4 examinations (written) and Year 5 examinations (written and clinical) weighted 30:70 to reflect the Covid-19 adjustments made to the Year 4 examinations in July 2020. 

        From 2021-22 onwards, the decile rankings for students who took their Year 4 examinations in summer 2020 will continue to be calculated on the basis of Year 4 (written) and Year 5 (written and clinical) examinations weighted 30:70 to reflect the Covid19 adjustments made to the Year 4 examinations in June 2020. 

        For students who took their Year 4 exam prior to 2020 the ratio remains at 50:50.


        5. Your Medical School Referee

        UKFPO will ask you to name one referee from your Medical School when you submit your application in September of Year 6. Your Medical School referee will be your Personal Tutor unless i) you are pre-allocated to a Student Support Tutor or ii) your Personal Tutor has left the Medical School, in which case a Student Support Tutor will provide your reference for you. The Year 6 team will notify you who you should name as your referee in late August of Year 6 with your EPM ranking.  

        The Medical School reference is used primarily for pre-employment checks and has a series of drop down boxes for the referee to confirm that a student is in good standing and satisfactory/not satisfactory in specified areas. This reference does not require in-depth personal knowledge and the information required can be drawn from your medical school academic record, your e-portfolio and/or a CV. Personal Tutors and Student Support Tutors are well placed to provide these references on behalf of the Medical School. Please refer to the UKFPO Applicants’ Handbook for more information about referees.

        The Medical School will also notify your Personal Tutor or your allocated Student Support Tutor of your decile ranking and examination results in early September. Students whose references are to be provided by their Personal Tutor are advised to contact their tutor before naming them in their application to discuss whether the tutor would like to meet prior to providing the reference and whether they would like you to provide e-portfolio items and a CV. Referees will be asked to submit their reference online in March.   


        6. Foundation Training in Singapore

        Since the transfer of the North Central Thames Foundation School from the Medical School to Health Education England in April 2018, we are no longer able to support Singaporean graduates who have chosen to return to Singapore for foundation training in seeking for full GMC registration.