Core Surgery Interview Overview

The core surgery interview lasts 40 minutes and consists of three stations each lasting 10 minutes. Each station is designed to assess the selection criteria on the Person Specification. You will rotate round all five stations during the interview process with 3 minutes between stations.

Core surgery interviews are held in London during the last week of January and first week of February.

The stations for 2018 Core Surgical Training Interview are:


  • Interviewers have 10-minutes prior to interview to review the portfolio
  • Applicants MUST complete the portfolio checklist
  • The portfolio station has no set questions and will be based on the candidate's portfolio


  • A 3-minute pre-prepared presentation
  • 2-minutes of questions on presentation
  • 1 management scenario
  • 5-minutes of questions on management scenario
  • Questions test the candidate to think on their feet


  • 2 clinical scenario questions
  • First is given outside the interview room
  • The candidate has 3-minutes to read the question
  • The candidate has 5-minutes to discuss the question
  • A second question is asked after 5-minutes

Required Documents

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The Venue

The interviews will take place at a national selection centre in London. This has traditionally been the AMBA Hotel near Charing Cross.


The interviews are scored out of a total of 216.

Every station has two interviewers, each of whom will present a stem and a series of questions designed to last five minutes. Seventy two marks are available for each station with a total of 216 marks available overall. It should be noted that there is a cut-off score of 136 marks (or 62%, subject to slight yearly variation guided by statistical analysis), whereby any candidate below this score will not be deemed suitable for core surgical training.

Other marking elements may be used in assessing suitability, such as the modified Angoff method or a weighting being given to the clinical station, and this means that there is no guarantee of success even if the candidate scores a total mark above the cut-off. An example of this might be if the interviewers deem an answer to have shown unsafe practice.

Top Tips

  • Make sure you have all your documents prepared well in advance and have included and completed the checklist for your portfolio
  • On arrival at the interview centre you will be directed to a document checking area and then to a waiting room. A number of parallel interview sessions take place at any one time, so make sure you know which interview circuit you should be attending. At the document check, basic identification details and eligibility for interview will be confirmed. The waiting room will have some refreshments and is a place to relax and prepare mentally.
  • Administration staff are available on each circuit and floor to guide you or answer any questions you may have on the day.

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