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:

Careers events are timetabled in each year of the programme and Medical Student Support Tutors are available to give advice at Student Support Clinics 

  • Dr Paul Dilworth is the lead Student Support Tutor for Careers & Foundation School Transition
  • Student Support Clinic appointments are booked via: medsch.student-support@ucl.ac.uk


Careers advice is accessed via the UCL Careers Service.




    UCL Medical Careers Advisor and Services

    David Clegg
    Medical Careers Consultant, UCL Careers Service

    David works remotely for the UCL Careers Service, located on the fourth floor of the Student Central Building, and works closely with the UCL Medical School where providing 1:1 career counselling and career education talks for each stage of the MBBS programme.  

    David offers advice on:

    • career choice
    • applying for electives
    • part-time working
    • cv checking
    • interview skills
    • leaving medicine

    One Hour Guidance Discussion with David

    These sessions are for a more in-depth discussion of particular issues related to studying medicine or medical career options; they are not suitable for cv checks

    To book for a half hour session use the Careers webpage. David will then send you an email to arrange a convenient time and date for your session, these sessions are held via Skype.

    For shorter appointments, go onto the UCL careers website www.ucl.ac.uk/careers, click on MyUCLCareers and from there you can book an appointment. Using the online booking system enables you to book an appointment up to seven days in advance, select the Career Consultant that you would like to see and, if available, choose Medical Student appointment from the ‘type of appointment’ drop down menu. If no Medical Student appointments have been scheduled, you can select one of the central appointments (eg Short Guidance, Long Guidance, Application Advice).


      Career Planning and Management

      Whilst you are studying for your MBBS, there are various aspects of career management which you can be thinking about and exploring.

      Some people have very clear ideas of what sort of medical career they want after they have finished their MBBS, others are less sure and some have no idea yet the direction they want to take. All of three states of career decision making are fine and understandable!

      Wherever you currently are on the ‘know exactly where I’m heading’/ ‘where am I?’ continuum of career management, there are various things to be thinking about at each stage of your MBBS to help with your career direction.

      Here’s a brief guide outlining some useful questions to ask yourself at each stage of the MBBS and some activities you might like to explore whilst studying for your MBBS.

      Year 1

      • What attracted me to studying medicine in the first place?
      • What would I say are my main strengths?
      • What do I want to be better at?
      • Are my expectations about the course and my career realistic?
      • How aware am I of the diverse range of careers within medicine on a scale of 0-10?
      • Attend MBTI workshop, organised by UCL Careers Service throughout the year, to understand more about your personality type and associated strengths and preferences. (Refer to the Careers Service website for further details)

      Year 2

      • At this very early stage, what is quite important to me in a career?
      • Which subjects have I enjoyed the most so far and why?
      • Which parts of the course do I find less rewarding and why?
      • Which skills am I taking longer to develop than others?
      • What am I most looking forward to in my later clinical years and why?

      Year 3/iBSc

      • Which of the IBSc courses that are available appeal to you and why?
      • How might this course help develop you as a doctor and practitioner?
      • How might this course also develop you as both a scholar and as a scientist?
      • Which skills do you feel you will particularly develop during your IBSc and why?
      • How confident are you in your application skills needed to secure a place on your choice of IBSc?

      Year 4

      • Is clinical medicine what I expected or not?
      • How much do I enjoy research and is academic medicine interesting to me?
      • How could I use my SSCs and firms to explore my main career options?
      • In what ways would keeping a self-reflective journal during my clinical years help me in my careers thinking?
      • Which specialities am I starting to become vaguely more interested in and why?
      • How up-to-date is my CV and what could I add to it to improve it?

      Year 5

      • How could I learn more from my clinical colleagues about their specialty? (e.g. interviewing, observing)
      • Which core competencies or skills, such as coping with pressure, am I developing and how?
      • How clear is my understanding of the various career paths within medicine?
      • Where else could I find different information on specialties?
      • How might my choice of elective be useful in developing my career management?
      • How confident am I that I could complete the Foundation Programme application form effectively on a scale of 0-10?
      • How up-to-date is my CV now and what could I add to it to improve it?

      Year 6

      • Which environments (e.g. Primary Care, hospital-based) do I prefer working in?
      • Is it the actual specialty that I like or rather the particular consultant or firm?
      • What has each rotation taught me about what is important to me in my career?
      • Which aspect of the Foundation Programme am I most looking forward to and why?
      • How would I describe my decision-making style, in terms of my career?
      • How up-to-date is my CV now and what could I add to it to improve it?
      Developing your CV

      Whilst many medical programmes and jobs use application forms, maintaining an up-to-date CV throughout your medical career can still be useful and valuable. During your MBBS, you may also find a CV a useful format to record your skills and experiences throughout the course. Indeed a CV is sometimes needed when applying for certain electives, for example.

      Remember, there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ CV; the most effective CVs are those that are tailored towards a specific role and employer. However there are ways of presenting information in a more coherent, clear and persuasive manner.

      Furthermore, medical CVs tend to be more prescriptive in the information that is required, hence medical CVs have no real length limit unlike other professional areas. Nevertheless, a CV suitable for a Foundation doctor is unlikely to be longer than 2 or 3 pages.

      Advice on Content:

      The main sections of a medical CV are usually as follows:


      Contact details
      GMC registration number and registration date (add once achieved!)
      Medical Defence Union




      • MBBS Awards
      • Clinical Grades
      • Prizes & Scholarships
      • Intercalated Degree/Previous degrees

      School A-levels & GCSEs
      Prizes & Awards


      Can be either SSC or IBSc project. Include subject, date, supervisor’s name, summary of content, publications and presentations (if applicable)


      When, where, what, who with – brief description, highlight key skills gained both clinical and transferable

      Work Experience

      Medically related

      Additional Skills

      IT Skills


      Think about headlining different types of activity, e.g. Sport, Music etc. 
      Also indicate your level of achievement, e.g. Vice-captain, Grade 8 etc.


      Also ask permission from your potential referees, such as Tutors or Consultants from your SSC, Electives or rotations.


      Advice on layout

      Use CAPITALS, Bold and italics to emphasise your points; but use them sparingly and remember underlining can look a bit outdated.
      Font size is usually between 10 and 12 for readability and clarity and use a simple font, such as Arial; you want the content, not the layout, to capture their attention.


      Visit UCL Careers Service for a 15-minute ‘quick query’ for individual feedback on your CV.

      There will also be an opportunity to develop your CV throughout your MBBS course as part of your ongoing portfolio activities.


        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 and Presentations

        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)
        • Academic Foundation Programme

        Year 6 - July of Year 5

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

        Career Presentations

        • Y1 CIF Week A: Introduction to Careers (slides)
        • Y2 CIF Week B: Careers in Medicine and Transition to the Clinical Years (slides)
        • Y5 IOM: Career Planning – Now, During the Foundation Programme and Beyond (September 2016) - Ms Elaine Denniss (slides)
        • Y5 IOM: Situational Judgement Test / Educational Performance Measure (September 2014) - Dr Paul Dilworth (slides)
        • Y5 IOM: Academic Foundation Programme (September 2016) – Prof Paul Griffiths (slides)
        • Y6 IOM: Foundation Training (August 2016) - Dr Hynes (slides)
        • Y6 IOM: Foundation Programme Application Process (August 2016) - Dr Paul Dilworth (slides)
        • Y6 IOM: The Situational Judgment Test (August 2015) - Ms Elaine Denniss (slides
        • Y6 IOM: Situational Judgment Test Workshop (August 2016) - UCL Careers Service (slides)
        • Y6 IOM: The Experience of Applying for Foundation Last Year (August 2016) – F1 Trainees (slides)
        • Y6 IOM: Academic Foundation Programme application support (August 2015) - Drs Swerdlow and Smith (slides)
        • Y6: GMC Provisional Registration Event (October 2015) - Ms Emma Reuben (slides)
        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

        The Academy of Medical Sciences

        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)

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

        Medical students / graduates sitting the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) in December 2020 and January 2021 will be accessing the SJT via a digital platform which is being introduced as part of the application process for UKFP 2021.

        UKFPO have released the following guidance and will be releasing further information throughout 2020:  


        4. The Educational Performance Measure (EPM)

        Information about the EPM can be found on the UKFPO website and the process requires Medical Schools to rank their students by decile following national rules applied to local assessments.

        At UCL Medical School, decile rankings are calculated on the basis of marks achieved in the summative examinations in Year 4 and Year 5 (penultimate year) with a 50:50 weighting. 

        The calculation excludes marks from the earlier years of the programme to enable all students, including transfer entries into Year 4, to be ranked against the same basket of UCLMS assessments.

        The formula used to calculate decile rankings is:  (Year 4 mean) x 0.5 + (Year 5 mean) x 0.5
        The marks contributing to decile rankings are: Year 4 written total, Year 4 OSCE total, Year 5 written total, Year 5 OSCE total.

        In compliance with UKFPO requirements, UCLMS rankings:

        • exclude pass/fail outcomes 
        • are based on 1st entry examination results
        • are calculated for the cohort entering Year 6 and not in relation to the original cohorts in which students took Year 4 or Year 5 examinations 
        • 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)

        The Year 6 team will notify you of your EPM in September of Year 6.  


        5. Your Medical School Referee

        UKFPO will ask you to name one referee from your Medical School when you submit your application in October 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 September 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.