An FY2 standalone post may be something that you as an international medical graduate (IMG) wish to apply for in order to kickstart your NHS journey. While it is relatively easy to apply for and get selected for the interview, actually succeeding in the interview to get offered a post may seem daunting. So read on if you wish to know how to prepare for the FY2 standalone interview.
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Hello there! I’m Deepthy
My name is Deepthy George and I’m an F2 Stand-alone Trainee at the Oxford Deanery. This deanery was my top preference, and I would like to demystify the interview process and also share some tips on preparing for the interview.
What to expect on the day of the FY2 Standalone interview
My interview was scheduled online. The online interview may be conducted via Skype for business or any other video conferencing platform of the programme’s choice. You will be notified via email regarding the platform and will also be required to email your ID documents beforehand.
On the day of interview, you will be asked to produce the same ID document (e.g. passport). Make sure that you are seated in a private and locked room with no one else present in the room.
Read below my tips to ensure a smooth and excellent interview
How should I dress
Dress professionally even if it is an online interview – this shows your preparedness for the interview. Avoid wearing small prints and stripes that cause a buzz on video. Wear minimal jewelry to avoid flashes and glares on camera.
Your webcam / phone camera should be at eye level or slightly higher than eye level- stack a couple of empty boxes underneath till you find the right height for you. It is important to make eye contact with your interviewer. This may prove a challenge when it is an online interview. You can achieve this by looking straight into your webcam while you talk rather than looking at the interviewers or your own window that appears on the screen.
How the FY2 standalone interview is structured
There are 4 stations:
- Portfolio station- CV/ Employment history
- Clinical Scenario
- Ethical Scenario
- Communication – there is no separate station for this, however you will be assessed throughout the interview process on your Communication & English language skills.
The interview will last about 20 minutes.
How the interview is scored
Each station is scored out of 20, and there are 5 such stations. The total score for the whole interview is out of 100.
How to prepare for the FY2 Standalone Interview
Use the ABCD approach/method, to structure your answers for every station. Know when to escalate and enlist senior help – remember, it’s all about being a safe doctor!
The Oxford Handbook for the Foundation Programme is a great guide to plan your approach for each scenario. It will also be beneficial to go through the chapter on Resuscitation if you have not yet been resus certified.
Practice all the emergencies from the emergency section of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine.
Portfolio station (CV/ Employment history)
For the CV station in your FY2 standalone interview, you can use the Medical Interviews book to get a rough idea. Highlight relevant skills and core competencies that you attained as an FY1 (intern year) which makes you ready for FY2. Additionally, if you have audits and research mention these.
Mentally prepare two versions of your CV – one that you can describe in 2 min and another in 5 minutes. If your CV station is divided into 2 sections (E.g.: CV + your 5 year plan), ensure you address both sections in the provided time since you will be scored for both parts. Don’t risk losing marks by addressing only one part of the question for the entire duration.
Have a general idea of different ethical scenarios, safeguarding issues and the teams that you would need to escalate different cases to.
There is no separate station for this, but your communication will be assessed throughout the interview process and carries a score of 20 like other stations.
Other preparation tips
I cannot recommend enough the value of doing a mock/practice session with a friend. Your friend can be the interviewer giving you scenarios. Practice all the emergencies from the Emergency Section of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine in this manner.
Have at least four strong reasons in your mind as to why you want to join the F2 stand-alone program – make sure each reason is different from the other, avoid repetition.
- Understand the F2 curriculum and what you are signing up for
- Understand the difference between F1 and F2 and core competencies relevant to each
- Know the different grades of doctors in the NHS and difference between training and non-training jobs
If you have already completed your PLAB 2, going through common ethical and medical scenarios from PLAB 2 would definitely prove beneficial.
Online Interview Tips
The following tips are not only for FY2 standalone interviews, rather for ANY online interview you participate in the future.
Once the video conferencing platform (e.g. Skype for business) is confirmed by the recruitment team, install the app/ plugin (if using the web browser).
- Have a practice session with a friend to test your audio and video settings and internet connectivity. Even better if a friend can send you an invite to the very same platform, so you can familiarise yourself with it beforehand. Please note that Skype for business is not the same as the regular Skype application.
- Eliminate all ambient or background noise that can be a big distraction. Keep your room locked to avoid video bombers – probably not the best time to have a screaming toddler barging into your room:
- Use earphones during your practice sessions as well so there are no surprises on the interview day. Have a second device – tablet/ laptop/ phone configured and ready as a backup.
- Have the contact email and phone number of the foundation programme office handy in case of any unexpected challenges during the interview -you wouldn’t want to scramble around for this under a high pressure setting.
- Get your room interview ready! Have a clean and plain background. Eliminate all clutter, books, papers etc (spring clean your room as you may be asked to show your entire room).
- Have good lighting – if possible, place your table in front of a natural light source such as a large window. Alternatively, you can have two table lamps on either side of your screen. Avoid overhead lighting as this can cast a shadow on your face.
Despite all your tireless preparation, if you are caught unaware by sudden surprises, try to stay calm (cue deep breaths) and think through what can be done. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Know that you’ve given it your best, and hope for a positive outcome.
What to expect after the FY2 Standalone interview
A few days after the interview you will be notified via email whether you have been successful in the interview. This will also be followed by a detailed feedback form. Once successful in the interview, you will be eligible to list your choice of programs when the preferencing window opens. You can check the Foundation Schools site to understand about different locations and hospitals for your training. You can also check out the official Foundation School site.
- Oxford handbook for the Foundation Programme
- Oxford handbook of Clinical Medicine
- Foundation Programme Curriculum
- FY2 Standalone Applicant Guidance 2021
- Medical Interviews Book
- Foundation school chooser
- List of Foundation schools with contact info
About the author
Deepthy George is a medical graduate from Bangalore, India and an FY2 Standalone Trainee at the Oxford Deanery. After having worked in Public Health & Community based Medicine for a couple of years, she decided to pursue the FY2 Standalone training programme as it was the perfect bridge back into hospital-based medicine for her. Apart from medicine, she is passionate about being there for people & seeing lives transformed.
Find her here: https://www.instagram.com/deeegeorge/