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Does my Study Budget cover this Interview Course?

For ST3/ST4 applicants:

We had many attendees do this last year. Both IMT3s and Fellows.

For IMT3s applying through HEE: Interview courses are ‘desirable’/’aspirational’ category and so you should follow the protocols in your Deanery. This can take time so please apply early as it needs to be submitted to your School before the Course date to be processed.

For Fellows: Most Hospitals have an education fund that is managed by your Training Director and many Fellows successfully applied for this. Don’t ask, don’t get!

For IMT applicants:

For FY2s applying through HEE: You are allowed one “Course aligned to career intentions for entry into relevant specialties”. The Course Code is FND0013. Again, please apply early for this as it must be submitted BEFORE the Course date. Click here for the full guidance.

For Fellows: Your Trust should have protected Funds to support your Study Leave needs. Speak to your Educational Supervisor and reference the HEE Foundation Course list above.

Can you prepare for an interview?

Unlike written exams, there is no single way to prepare for your ST4 interview. That’s abundantly clear when you hear the Interviews of the successful applicants from previous years- no two stories are the same. However, there are some common themes that suggest preparation was incredibly important to them.

If there are things you can do to improve your score by 1% that can jump you several places up the rankings to get your preferred job in your preferred Deanery. And so taking the time to really understand what’s expected of you and what to expect on interview day is the first step in ensuring you do meaningful preparation. Secondly, understanding which components of your CV are highest value and how to demonstrate them most effectively is crucial when you have 30 minutes to sell yourself. On the Course, we go through how to identify this for yourself and different strategies to ensure you score the points for it. Finally, practice, practice, practice- was the mantra of the highest ranking candidates we worked with, whether that’s with your Registrars, your Consultants, your friends- the more you practice the more prepared you will be to perform on the big day. If you come on the Course, we’ll go through dozens of practice stations in the Workshops and Mock Circuits and our Whatsapp groups are a great way to meet other trainees applying alongside you to buddy up with and practice after the Course using our online Vignettes.

How can I find out about the 2022/2023 application timeline and interview dates?

The timeline hasn’t been published yet. Take a look at the 2021/22 timeline below and we expect similar dates this year round. Except for the interview dates- these can vary significantly. They are usually released around February time and we review them on the Course so watch this space!

I think my application form was scored incorrectly is there anything I can do?

If you attended our Application Form Workshop we go through how to score yourself and do everything you can to avoid this situation. (Prevention is better than treatment!) But if this happens, there is an appeals process which we describe as there have been successful appeals in the past from our Candidates with their score revised- so don’t write it off!

Feel free to contact us if you’re in this situation and we’d be happy to discuss the process further with you.

I want to apply to multiple different specialties, is that allowed?

Yes it is and several candidates have done it before (with multiple offers as well!). However, you should think hard if it’s best for you as it is additional time and effort commitment that you are taking away from your initial application. You will need to be especially organised about this and essentially prepared two separate applications (a copy and paste job will not cut it!) and think especially about how you will demonstrate meaningful commitment to specialty. We make special arrangements for any individuals signing up to two Optimise Interview packages so please get in touch with us early if this applies to you.

What are the differences between the face-to-face interviews and virtual?

Not only is there a new station (the Med SpR station) but the running order, examiner set-up and techniques for virtual ST4 interviews differ from the old face-to-face, across the table interviews. We go through these in detail on the Course and help make

What is special about this Interview Course?
  1. 1. All our materials and content are entirely designed by SpRs currently in training posts in the NHS. (The IMT Course has been produced by IMTs and SpRs)
  2. 2. We have recently been through the Interview Process ourselves.
  3. 3. We are a diverse group of Trainees with different personalities. This is not a single person’s perspective and that means you are more likely to find a style and technique that plays to your strengths.
  4. 4. Our Specialty content and Specialty Course components are designed and run by Registrars from your Specialty.
  5. 5. We are multi-modality- you have the live Interview Course and Mock Circuit, you have the ‘Practice Communities’ for private Forum-style discussions with your peers, you have written vignettes for your specialty, you have videos and you have podcasts. So whether you’re commuting on the bus, driving home for Christmas or working on your laptop late into the night, we have materials suited to you.
  6. 6. We are dynamic- if you ask for us to produce content for a tough question you’ve thought of- we’ll make it!
  7. 7. We are growing- each year the highest scoring candidates come in to the Optimise Interviews Faculty and help produce more content and materials to help you learn from their experiences. We’re running out of space on our About Us page…and we love it!
When should I start preparing for my ST4 or IMT interview?

I’ll break this into two components-

1. Knowledge and Experience and 2. Interview Technique

1. Knowledge and Experience: You’ve been working on this for many years. Whether explicitly or not, if you hold the Person Specification or Mark Scheme up against your CV, you’ll see you’ve probably ticked many of these boxes already- and you didn’t do that with your eyes closed. If you haven’t looked at your Person Specification, do it now. At our Application Form Preparation Webinar we go through what you can do to maximise your score from your achievements and what you can do from 3 months pre-interview.

2. Interview Technique: We put this question to our successful candidates from previous years (see the Tips and Tricks videos within your Package). Most candidates applying for ST4 said they actively started preparation for Interview in January. A small number started in February (using the Interview Course as their foundation). This means you should treat the Interview like an upcoming exam and devote the time that something like this deserves. This was repeatedly emphasised by our successful candidates. That means practicing with peers, preparing your answers and putting into practice all the technical skills you learnt at the Course. Put in the work to get the outcome you deserve! For trainees applying for IMT interview, the consensus was to start much earlier- from November, as soon as the Application Form was being drafted.

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Happy students!

Hear from last year’s interview course batch! We look forward to working with you.

Just to let you know I got full marks in my interview and ranked third nationally.

[…] is my top choice and […] so I’ll get a number there.

I wanted to thank you both again for the interview course […]. It made a huge difference and I greatly appreciate it

2021 Course Attendee

Many thanks for the comprehensive interview course and has gone a long way in helping me secure a NTN. It is much appreciated

2021 Course Attendee

I am pleased to share with you that I have been successful in securing an NTN in South East Midlands , which was my first preference region.

I must say that the interview mock course you guys organised was very helpful for preparation and better understanding of the structure of the interview.

2021 Course Attendee

I am so incredibly thankful for all the invaluable help. I didn’t get a London job last year and after applying the tips you guys told us, especially for the clinical station I got full marks across all stations and ranked 2nd in the country! Coming to NW Thames!

Optimise Cardio 21

You guys are doing a fantastic job in polishing interview skills and giving the framework of how to answer each section, I would definitely recommend this interview course to my colleagues and it is worth every penny. Keep up the impressive work.

Optimise Cardio 22

I am extremely thankful to all of you for the guidance on approach to ST4 interviews.
I am happy to let you know I managed to secure both renal and rheumatology number and I have opted for Rheumatology:)

Thank you so much again.

Optimise Rheum and Renal 22