Radiology ST1 in West Yorkshire
I’m an F3, working in paediatrics at a tertiary centre. I applied for the first time this year, knowing I wanted a year out after F2 to locum, save money and travel.
I was somewhat late to becoming interested in radiology, only becoming seriously interested in it mid-way through FY1! I had a general surgical job where I developed a really good relationship with the GI radiologists, asked to do a taster week with them and that was me sold. I always knew I wanted to do something technical, with a procedural element, and I really liked the idea of being that person to make the first diagnosis.
I was set on radiology, I also applied to paediatrics and interviewed for it but I would have kept applying for radiology had I not got it this year.
Drawn out and stressful!! I was very lucky to be working as a locum during it, so I was able to take out time when I needed to such as prepping for the MSRA and interview. All you can do is take it one step at a time.
Please note: updated portfolio requirements in the 2022-2023 application year mean that the points discussed in these case studies are out-of-date, however you might pick up some useful tips to get you some more points
As soon as I realised I wanted to do radiology I started looking for things I could do to prepare my portfolio, and looking at things I had done in the past which would be relevant. Presenting at conferences - it’s not as time consuming as you’d think to get an audit or a case report ready to present and I found multiple consultants were more than happy to help with this. I presented a few different projects internationally and although it doesn’t get you extra points they can also be added to the commitment to specialty section. There are teaching initiatives out there that can tick the national initiative box especially with there being so much of it virtually now, keep an eye out on social media and ask if you can get involved. Honestly just be prepared and make sure your evidence can’t be questioned, I’d been forewarned about this so had made sure to get degree certificates and transcripts ready in time for the academic achievement section.
I was marked down by one point initially, I appealed this and had it granted thankfully. Definitely appeal if you think you have been unfairly marked down.
I started really early actually, from October/November on the question banks for an hour a day a couple of times per week. Then in December I scaled back the number of shifts I worked and was doing at least 2 hours a day.
MCQbank was the best question bank for me in terms of level of difficulty and similarity to the exam, I completed it twice. I also almost completed Passmedicine, I felt this was less like the real thing but good for developing background knowledge and I like their explanations/textbook. I also used emedica which I wouldn’t recommend as it was quite basic and expensive compared to the others. I didn’t go on any courses or use books, I just used question banks to highlight my weaker areas and read around those/made my own flash cards on them.
Pretty much what I was expecting, I was allowed to start a little early, the practicalities and IT on the day ran smoothly and the staff at the centre were very nice. I sat it in a room full of other people also doing it! But I am in a big city, YMMV. This might sound odd but wear a jumper that’s not a hoodie and doesn’t have pockets or you might not be able to wear it in the exam, I was allowed to keep my jumper on and was still quite cold!! I used most of the allotted time on the SJT section and some of it wasn’t quite what I was expecting content wise. I finished the CPS section half an hour early and left… I went over my answers a couple times but I usually find my first instinct to be the best so didn’t change much on review. The questions are very primary care focussed, I’ve never done a GP job but have done A+E and lots of paeds which I think served me well general knowledge wise.
A couple of hours a day from when I found out I had one. Prior to finding out I had one I completed the RadCast application course and had done some further reading.
The RadCast application course and their mock interview which was really helpful. I also did some mock interview practice with another applicant. I prepared bullet points for common interview answers and had ideas in my head for common scenarios (teamwork/pressure/mistake at work etc.) Using structures such as STARR, CAMP etc. will really help you to form your answers. I used the white medical interview book a bit but some of it wasn’t really relevant. There’s a radiology interview book that I wouldn’t recommend as it’s quite outdated and much smaller than it looks on Amazon!!
The practicalities ran smoothly in terms of timings, IT etc. My interviewers were very nice and we got started promptly. I think I was one of few people to finish early!! I definitely missed some things out I wanted to say and spoke quickly at times through nerves. I was very prepared for it for sure, I think had I been less nervous I would have scored better - easier said than done! Overall I felt it went well and was about what I had been expecting. You are there to score points on the interview marking sheet, make sure you sell yourself as best you can. This doesn’t always come naturally! So rehearse doing this until it does.
I got my top preference of deanery
Honestly, not really! My main tip would be don’t underestimate the MSRA, this was a real strength of my application. Be organised ahead of time with your portfolio and make sure you have all your evidence ready at the time you submit your application. Practice is key with the interview. Best of luck to those applying next year!