How do I prepare for each component of the IAPS?

Last Updated: 22nd July 2021

1. Pre-PD element: Preparing and submitting your evidence showcase

You must submit evidence, generated during your HSST programme, which best showcases how you have met the overarching descriptor for each GSP domain at CCS level. You are not required to cover every sub-set standard of the principal domain. It is recognised that one major activity may meet the Standard for several GSP domains. However, you must be careful in ensuring that you provide separate evidence that focuses strongly on the domain. The Panel must be convinced of your development at CCS level demonstrated across at least five different work-based developmental activities. Guidance about how to create a downloadable OneFile portfolio showcase is available.

Your supervisor is required to sign off your exit application. Therefore, it is advisable that you meet with your supervisor to discuss the evidence that you wish to showcase.

The Lead Examiner will review the evidence identified and submitted by you in your showcase for each GSP domain and approve if considered to appropriately map to the GSP domain for which it was submitted. The review will only be to ensure a match. It will not be to determine if the evidence is sufficient or at the right level as this has already been confirmed and signed off by your workplace supervisor. The Lead Examiner will not look across all of the evidence to find evidence for one domain under another so please take the time to ensure that your selections for submission are clear to the Lead Examiner. You may wish to include an index stating which submission maps to each domain. Should the Lead Examiner not consider the evidence to be suitable to the domain, the showcase will not be approved. The Lead Examiner’s comments will be returned to you by email. If this is not returned by the given deadline, you will put at risk your inclusion in the IAPS schedule if you intend to select the next available opportunity to sit your IAPS.

You must revise only the evidence under the unmatched GSP domain to address the Lead Examiner’s comments, upload it into your showcase and resubmit your entire showcase. Guidance on how to do this will be included in the email together with the Lead Examiner’s comments. Do not be tempted to revise any evidence for any GSP domain that has been accepted by the Lead Examiner. They will review for approval only the revised evidence for the mismatched GSP domain.

Should you change anything else, your showcase will not be accepted and you will be required to start the process again. The new submission will be treated as your second of three allowable takes of the IAPS.

2. PD Element 1 – review of a specialist or service-based paper

You will have 60 minutes to review a specialist or service-based paper identified by the Lead Examiner. A printed/pdf copy will be provided for you in the examination room to make notes. These can be taken into the room for your PD but you must not take any notes out of the assessment centre following the assessment. You should use the time to prepare to address the standard question, which is:

Please discuss with us (the panel) the key points of interest to you as a Consultant Clinical Scientist that you elicited from the paper in your review. We (the panel) would like to understand your reasoning as part of your discussion. We (the panel) may come in with supplementary questions as appropriate to the discussion.

The panel examiners will also have a copy of the paper for reference. They will have used the 60 minutes to agree any discussion points they may wish to raise if not already covered by you.

Following the 60 minutes, you will then be escorted to meet with the panel in the examination room and have 30 minutes to discuss your key points with the examiners. You may refer to your notes. During the 30 minutes, the panel examiners may ask supplementary questions relating to their pre-agreed discussion points if you have not already covered them in your discussion.

At the end of the 30 minutes, please ensure you leave the specialist paper and any notes in the room. Your notes will not be used as part of the assessment for this element.

3. PD Element 2 – meeting the Higher Specialist Scientist Standards of Proficiency

The panel examiners will have had prior access to your showcase evidence.

You will have a maximum of 60 minutes for this element; up to 10 minutes for the discussion under each of the GSP domains, including responding to any examiner questions. One of the panel examiners will begin each 10 minutes by asking you the standard question in relation to each domain, which is

With reference to the evidence you submitted, please tell us how this demonstrates your development to Consultant Clinical Scientist level on the (name of domain) domain.

The panel examiners may also have questions they wish to ask in relation to your discussion and the evidence you have submitted.

The LPE will be responsible for time keeping but you are advised that you should also be mindful of the time and prepare for your discussion accordingly.

During the remaining 10 minutes, the panel examiners may have supplementary questions or require clarification to cement their independent judgements. If they do not, the LPE will ask you if you have anything further to add. If you do not, the LPE will conclude the discussion.