Valentina is a Harvey graduate from University of Pavia,  and she is starting work as a Foundation Year (FY1) doctor in London in a few weeks. In her second guest-post, she shares her experiences in applying for the Foundation Programme in the UK as an graduate of an Italian English-language med school. 

Special thanks goes to Erik Campano for editing this.

In this post, I will write about the application process for the Foundation Programme. There is not much to write about it, but since the eligibility application (fundamental for those who have graduated outside the UK) is already open, I thought that this could be helpful for someone.

I have seen that the current application form is quite different from the one I did last year, but I guess the whole process will still probably be similar.

So, you should go to the Foundation Programme website (http://www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/pages/home) and follow the Access FP 2017 Eligibility application form” link. You will then fill in an online form and you will be asked to send some documents by post. More specifically, last year I had to provide the following:

  1. Eligibility checklist, with your name and FPAS reference number recorded (this will be emailed to you after submitting your online eligibility application form).

  2. Two passport-sized photos stapled to the top right-hand corner of the first page of the Eligibility Checklist

  3. Original and signed Dean’s Statement (insert link to FP 2016 document)

  4. Academic transcripts

  5. Medical degree certificate or official Dean’s letter (if you have already qualified)

  6. International English Language Test System (IELTS) pass certificate (if applicable)

  7. Evidence of any name change (if applicable)

  8. Evidence you can comply with the GMC requirements for provisional registration

  9. Evidence of your right to work in the UK

There is not much to say regarding (1) eligibility checklist, (2) photos and (4) academic transcripts and I did not have to provide (5) degree certificate and (7) name change certificate. As far as (8) evidence of GMC provisional registration compliance and (9) UK employment allowance are concerned, I just sent a copy of my Italian passport. (I don’t know what will happen if Brexit occurs, but I guess that nothing has changed since the vote.) The most challenging documents to provide are of course the (3) Dean’s Statement  and the (6) IELTS certificate

Dean’s Statement

The Dean’s Statement, is a a document in which the Dean of the faculty is requested to give his/her permission for your application and to provide some information regarding your medical course. We brought a copy of the statement to the Medicine Administrative Office of the University (“La Melanzana”) and after few weeks they told us that the documents were ready to be collected. In this document the Dean provides the following key information regarding your medical course:

A – if your medical course was taught in English and if so, to which extent

B – your decile academic ranking in your course. For example, if you’re in 1st decile, it means you were in the top 10% of your class.

The extent of English use in your course will determine whether you will need to provide the IELTS certificate: if the Dean signs that at least 75% of the lessons, exams and clinical attachments were done in English, then you are no longer required to provide the IELTS certificate. Personally, I believe that it is better to pass the IELTS anyway since you will be requested to provide it during your registration process.

Your academic decile ranking will set your starting score for the whole process. It is not fundamental to provide this ranking, but if you are unable to do so, you will be ranked in the lowest decile.

Matching the Best Foundation School

You final score will determine to which Foundation School you will be allocated and your rotations. It is calculated as the sum of your academic performance which includes your decile ranking, additional degrees and scientific publications, plus the results of the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) that you will do either in December or January.

Of course it is better if you can start on a higher decile (each decile worth one point), but beware that most of your final score will depend on the SJT (50 points out of 100). I will write more regarding this test later on, but I can reveal in advance that it is the weirdest test I have ever done in my life :-O .

Finally, I have already written something regarding the IELTS certificate: my advice is to pass the examination anyway, they require at least 7.5 in each domain (the same as the GMC) and I think that the most challenging parts of the exam are the speaking and writing parts.

I hope you will be successful in your eligibility applications. Good luck to everybody!

Alex Ochakovski (Pavia)