Application longlisting and the situational judgement test for STP 2022

Applicants who have applied to the STP must complete the online Situational Judgement Test (SJT) between 6:00am (GMT) Tuesday 8th February 2022 and 23:59pm (GMT) Friday 11th February 2022.


Important: SJT queries

If you are experiencing difficulty in accessing your Pearson VUE account, please call the relevant number and colleagues at Pearson VUE will deal with your query. Customer support is available from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday (GMT). Click this link for the Pearson VUE customer support information.


The SJT will be delivered by new platform provider, Pearson VUE, who are experienced in delivering assessments across Health Education England recruitment activities. You will receive an email from Pearson Vue ( prior to the SJT open date. This will include your login credentials, instructions and link to the Pearson Vue website. If you have not received this email by 9.00am on Monday 7th February 2022, please email


How will the SJT be used in the STP selection process?

The SJT score will be used to determine whether applicants are invited to the next stage in the STP selection process  – shortlisting.  An applicant’s answers within the application form will also be taken into consideration.

The exam is confidential and made available to you as an applicant, solely for the purpose of your assessment. You are prohibited from disclosing, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting any part of the exam in any form. You will be asked to accept the non-disclosure agreement and terms of use prior to completing the SJT. By declining this agreement, you will not be able to complete the SJT and your application to the STP cannot progress.


Technical requirements and restrictions

Here are the recommended technical requirements:

  • Internet browsers – Internet Explorer IE11, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari and Chrome (current version)
  • Mobile devices – iOS and Android devices are not supported
  • Network connection – Pearson VUE strongly recommends using a wired network rather than a wireless network. A wired network will provide a better exam delivery performance
  • Internet connection – broadband (DSL, cable or LAN/WLAN, 1 Mbps up/down minimum. Dial-up internet connections are not supported
  • Browser settings – internet cookies must be enabled, ensure security software will not block the execution of JavaScript

What technical restrictions are there?

The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) provider, Pearson VUE, is a US based business, and is not allowed to do business in OFAC-sanctioned countries, which include:

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • Syrian Arab Republic (Syria)
  • The Sevastopol/Crimea region of Ukraine

If a candidate is connecting from a computer located in a sanctioned country, that candidate will be unable to take the SJT as determined by the IP address. A full list of sanctions, programmes and country information is available on the US Department of Treasury website.

If you currently reside in one of the sanctioned countries, please contact for further information.


How do I prepare for the SJT?

Sample questions are available on the Pearson VUE website. These will help you to familiarise yourself with the format of the SJT and the types of scenarios and questions that you will be presented with during the test. The sample questions include the correct response options and a rationale to explain why that is the correct rating.


Reasonable adjustments and the SJT

If you have a special requirement which may result in you needing more time to complete the SJT, you must indicate this on your application form. Please wait for confirmation of your request before starting the SJT.


During the SJT

The Situational Judgment Test comprises of:

  • non disclosure agreement
  • tutorial (up to 15 minutes duration)
  • SJT (50 minutes duration)
  • survey (up to 15 minutes duration)

You must allow time for you to complete all of the above, in the best location possible.

During the SJT, you will be presented with a set of hypothetical scenarios, relevant to someone working in healthcare science. Each scenario is centred around a trainee scientist. There are 25 scenarios, each with a number of response options (174 questions in total). The number of responses will vary for each scenario. You will have 50 minutes to complete the test and will only have one opportunity to complete the test. Scenarios will be presented in a randomised format and will be different for each applicant.

For each scenario, applicants will be asked to rate the appropriateness of a series of options in response to the scenario, using the scale below:

  1. = A very appropriate thing to do – an option is a very appropriate thing to do in response to the scenario and aligns exactly with what is expected of a trainee scientist
  2. = Appropriate, but not ideal – an option is an appropriate thing to do in response to the scenario, but is not ideal. It is somewhat aligned with what is expected of a trainee scientist
  3. = Neither appropriate nor inappropriate – an option is neither appropriate nor inappropriate if the option does not oppose or align with what is expected of a trainee scientist
  4. = Inappropriate, but not awful – an option is an inappropriate thing to do in response to the scenario, but is not terrible. It is somewhat opposed to what is expected of a trainee scientist
  5. = A very inappropriate thing to do – an option is a very inappropriate thing to do in response to the scenario and directly opposes what is expected of a trainee scientist

You can increase the size of the text on screen at any time by pressing the CTRL and + buttons and decrease it again by pressing the CTRL and – buttons. You can reset the size of the text to default by pressing CTRL and 0.


Thinking about your responses

You should consider the responses in relation to what the trainee scientist in the scenario should do, rather than what you may be likely to do, given the circumstances. We appreciate that applicants may sometimes feel that they would like more information before answering but please give your best answer based on the information provided in the scenario.

The response options provided within a scenario are not intended to represent all possible options. It may be that the response you think would be the most appropriate in that particular situation is not present. We are only asking you to make a judgement about the options that are provided.

Within a single scenario, each rating can be used more than once or not at all. For example, all response options within a scenario can be given the same rating of ‘A very appropriate thing to do’ if you feel that this is the correct rating for each response option.

Each response option should be treated independently. You should make a judgement as to the appropriateness of a particular response option, independent from the other options presented for each scenario. An action does not need to resolve all aspects of the dilemma to be appropriate. Therefore, a response option can be rated as ‘A very appropriate thing to do’ if it only addresses one aspect of the dilemma.

For example…

If the wrong lab result is provided to a patient, there are a number of steps that should be taken, including checking the patient is OK and re-assessing the patient’s treatment plan. The response ‘ask the patient if they are OK’, should still be judged as appropriate, as this in itself is a very appropriate response. It should not be judged as if this is the only action that was taken.

It may be that some options are appropriate in the short term (i.e. immediately addressing a wrongdoing) and some options are appropriate in the long term (i.e. discussing the implications of the wrongdoing after the event). Please consider the appropriateness of a response option irrelevant of the timeframe.

Marks are given based on how close applicants are to the correct answer. There is no negative marking therefore, you should attempt all the questions.


What happens after I have taken the SJT?

Scoring of the SJT will take place once the test window closes. Details of whether your application has been successfully longlisted will be released on Oriel once processed.


Background information about the SJT

The SJT maps closely to the person specification for STP trainees and explores values, behaviours, and professionalism. The questions have been developed in collaboration with a highly regarded consultancy, Work Psychology Group, in collaboration with those working in healthcare science roles. Working with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who understand the role of a Trainee Scientist, the content of the SJT scenarios have been designed to reflect the most important situations in which to test applicants’ judgement.

Applicants are presented with a set of hypothetical based scenarios and asked to make judgements about possible responses. The scenarios are concerned with testing attitudes and ethical values, rather than knowledge or clinical skills. The test is designed to measure target attributes including empathy and compassion, professional integrity, team collaboration, and adaptability and resilience. An applicant’s responses are evaluated against a pre-determined scoring key to provide a picture of their situational judgement in that particular context.

SJTs have become increasingly popular over the last 20 years and are used mostly in large-scale selection processes, but can also form part of workplace assessment to highlight employee development needs. The research literature indicates that SJTs have significant validity in predicting job performance and can offer incremental validity over other selection methods such as ability tests and personality questionnaires.

Last updated on 8th February 2022