Section 8: The Interview

ACF interview


The ACF interview is very similar to the normal interview- there are usually 3 or 4 stations (varies between specialities) including

  1. A clinical scenario relevant to your speciality (part of assessment of your competencies)
  2. A CV/eportfolio station- where you are sked why you want to do an ACF, demonstrate commitment etc

In addition

  1. There is usually an academic panel at your interview who will assess your academic aptitude and may quiz you on research you’ve previously done, ask you about papers you’ve published
  2. Some ACF interviews ask you to prepare a short presentation before hand either on a subject of your choosing or may give you a paper on the day to read and present to them.

All the questions are based on the person specifications advertised so make sure that you are familiar with that.

Grant & Fellowship Interviews


These vary according the awarding body. Some do not interview (these tend to be big charities who are funding “the project” rather than you) but most fellowships whether from the British Heart Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Arthritis Research UK (ARUK)or Medical Research Council will hold an interview and success depends on a combination of the quality of your project (if you’ve got a good supervisor this is not usually an issue) and you as the person doing it.

If applying to a charity such as Diabetes UK or ARUK, they are more likely to fund research projects with big patient population interest- for example ARUK has funded recently lots of research on osteoarthritis and chronic pain vs. basic science research into inflammation. So it might be better to choose something hot at the moment like dementia if you’re a neurologist or diabetic nephropathy if you’re a nephrologist to study vs. interesting obscure things that won’t have a huge public health impact.

Getting shortlisted is a good sign you’ve ticked a lot of the boxes (publications, experience academic record etc)and most other candidates with you will be similar quality so the interview is a big opportunity to prove how good you are.

The interviews are incredibly tough! It’s usually a conference or board room with 12-15 professors, some lay members representing the trust or relevant patient groups and last between 20-30 mins.  You will be grilled and grilled on your project so you need to know the details in absolute minutiae.  Be prepared, stay calm and hold your ground. They will push you until they get to something you don’t know.  Get your supervisor to give you a mock interview with some of his tough colleagues. And prepare for rejection, they are very competitive

Section 9: Competition Ratio

Variable between specialities and deaneries. Some maybe more competitive than others. Information on this is available on the JRCPTB website


Section 10: Offers and Visa Issues and HEE

To be continued

Section 11: Speciality Exams

To be continued