Downloadable Leaflet on Application Forms - A Brief Guide
Good application forms need to be well thought through and for this preparation is essential. Do not attempt to complete the form in one session. The format of the application form will vary depending upon the training for which you are applying (e.g. Foundation, Specialty and GP) and you should ensure you are completing the right form. The structure of the application forms are agreed nationally and it is now standard procedure to complete these online.
The following points may help when completing your form:
- Ensure you allow sufficient time to complete the application form.
- Type out your answers in Word and then check for spelling and grammar (ensure you have this set as UK English). Doing this will also enable you to check the word count and can then be cut and pasted on to the form.
- Ensure you are familiar with the person specification and scoring guidelines.
- Ensure you answer the question: using the STAR model may help you to structure your answers. You should state what action you took, what you achieved and how you implemented the outcome. This is an area where candidates usually fail to score maximum marks, particularly when answering the section on audits. Please note: an audit is not automatically research work.
- Follow the guidelines carefully and check the person specifications and scoring guidelines.
Common errors include:
- Not following the instruction: if the information is required in the order ‘most recent first’, this is the order in which it should be presented.
- Not clearly identifying what was gained from experience
- Not giving sufficient information regarding teaching experience: target audience, duration of teaching, was this a ‘one off’ or part of an on-going programme you delivered.
- Areas outside medicine. Explain this clearly - what skills you gained and how the experience produced these skills.
- Lack of substance in the Personal Statement. This is your chance to interest the scorer and to draw their attention to your unique skills, experience and expertise. It may help to focus your attention on asking yourself what is the relevance of the information you are providing.
- Failure to clarify whether an MD was research-based
- If applicable, specify the dates for achievement of Royal College exams
- Always ask at least one other person to read your application before submitting it; this will iron out any glaring errors.
Finally, there are always posts which attract high numbers of applications and you may need to consider being more flexible with regard to geographical location. You may also want to consider having a back-up plan in case you don’t get a place in your chosen area