START is a penultimate year formative assessment” for Paediatric training. It is not an exam, and you can’t fail it. It consists of a number of scenarios which are designed around common and important consultant skills. Trainees explore each scenario with an assessor and then receive feedback on their performance, highlighting areas where they have done well and those that they might want to work on.
The second and most important part of START is what happens afterwards. Trainees must use their feedback to create a Personal Development Plan with their Educational Supervisor in order to address any areas for improvement. This helps trainees to focus their learning to be ready for their consultant role.
More information on START can be found here;
Trainees can apply to START at any point after ST6, although in practice most trainees will complete their assessment at the end of ST7 or beginning of their ST8 year. You have to apply for your own START assessment, and you must ensure you have at least six months (WTE) after your START assessment to act on your feedback ready for CCT.
There are normally two START diets per year in April and October. Places are allocated based on priority and time left in training, so applying early to get it out of the way is unlikely to get you a place.
The best preparation for START is doing your job. You can’t really revise for it, because it isn’t an exam or a test of your knowledge. The trainee guide to START may give you some ideas of areas to brush up on to help you feel prepared.
The East of England “Stepping Up” days will help you to prepare, and enable you to meet other trainees and new consultants who have recently completed their START assessment.