Gastroenterology ST4 Interview Guide

Published March 11, 2024 | Updated May 29, 2024

Maliha Darmini

By Dr. Maliha Darmini

This is Dr. Maliha Darmini, an IMG in the UK. Trying to balance my medical expertise with the craft of storytelling.

Gastroenterology is a popular choice, and competition is tough. In the first round of 2023, there were 309 applications for 111 positions, making a ratio of 2.78 applicants for each spot. The competition in the first round of 2022 was similar, with just over 3 applicants per post.

So, to get a national training number for gastroenterology you need to put in the effort!

In this article, we go through:

  • Application Timeline
  • Interview Format
  • Interview Scoring
  • How to prepare

Key Documents

Gastroenterology ST4 Recruitment Timeline

Check the schedule for crucial dates during the selection process on the recruitment timetable. The gastro application process follows the general higher speciality medical recruitment timeline.

Vacancies publishedWednesday 15th November 2023 by 5pm
Applications openThursday 16th November 2023 at 10am
Applications closeThursday 7th December 2023 at 4pm
Evidence Upload OpenFriday 22nd December 2023 to Friday 5th January 2024
InterviewsMonday 18th to Friday 22nd March 2024
Initial offers outThursday 18th April 2024 by 5pm
Interview FeedbackThursday 25th April 2024 by 5pm
Post start dateWednesday 7th August 2024
From PHST Recruitment
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After submission of your complete application form, your application will undergo an assessment to determine your suitability for an interview. Assessors will evaluate how well you meet various essential and desirable qualifications, covering areas like:

  • Career Advancement
  • Practical experience
  • Clinical proficiency
  • Academic capabilities
  • Personal attributes
  • Professional ethics
  • Dedication to the specialty

 Important: To accept a position, you need to have accomplished MRCP – Part 1 and Part 2 – before the offer date.

Check out Person Specification for more details.

Interview Format

Let’s uncover the Ins and outs of the gastroenterology interview at the ST4 stage.

We will explore:

  • Interview Format
  • Types of Questions
  • How Responses Are Scored

We’ll break down what to expect, giving you a clear picture of how to shine in the ST4 gastroenterology interview.

The interview will be taken Online via Microsoft Teams or Qpercom Recruit, a particular medium used in speciality recruitment.

YouTube video

All stations include two scoring interviewers. In some cases, a third clinician may assist with questioning and logistics, but scoring will only be done by two interviewers.

Interview Stations

Like other Specialties, The interview will be a multi-station approach. It will be divided into two stations; each station contains two questions.

You’ll be given 5 to 10 minutes for each response. The entire interview is estimated to last around 40 minutes with the time between stations.

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Station 1 – Clinical

Question 1: Clinical Scenario

Duration: Approximately 7 minutes.

You will be given a clinical scenario before the question with limited information that involves a hypothetical situation where you play a role.

You will be expected to play the role of a doctor – usually as a gastro registrar. Note that the interviewers don’t expect you to be at the same knowledge level as a current gastro ST4, but as an IMT3 who has some specific knowledge in gastroenterology.

Sample Question

A sample question, provided by Optimise Interviews:

You are the gastroenterology registrar on the acute take. You are asked to see a 34-year-old man with abdominal pain and jaundice. Please discuss how you would proceed.

The scenario will be led by your interviewers, who will guide you through taking the following steps:

  • Talk through the steps you would take, including your prioritisation of tasks
  • Discuss the potential management of the patient or possible treatments
  • Talk about the additional information you’d gather
  • Discuss how you’d approach communicating with patients, family, and colleagues

You will be assessed on your suggestions and responses, including the interpersonal skills you display.

YouTube video

Question 2: Clinical Presentation

Duration: Approximately 8 minutes (4 min presentation + 4 min Q&A)

This question entails delivering a four-minute presentation on either:

  • An interesting case I have been involved in (ideally in gastroenterology – but relevant to gastro at a minimum)
  • OR
  • An interesting recent development in Gastroenterology

In this presentation, you are not trying to impress them with your achievements or clinical ability. Instead, the focus is on communication skills – how well you can communicate your understanding of the topic to the interviewers.

If you reach the four-minute mark and haven’t finished, you will be asked to stop. This isn’t to say that this is a complete disaster – rather, this is to make sure the interviewers can spend time asking questions. However, if you’re running quite late this will leave a bad impresison.

You won’t be able to share a screen or anything you’ve written down, but you are allowed to prepare some cue cards on “small cards”.

You will be assessed on the level, depth, structure, and content of your presentation – focusing on your understanding of the topic.

Station 2 – Professional Suitability

Question 1: Suitability & Commitment

Duration: Approximately 7 minutes

This interview segment, lasting around seven minutes, evaluates your appropriateness and dedication to Gastroenterology. It offers an opportunity to elaborate on the details you supplied in your application form.

In other words, you answer the interviewers’ questions using your portfolio, showing:

  • Your recent projects, including research, publications, QIPs, and audits
  • Relevant teaching experience and training in teaching
  • Your management and leadership skills
  • Skills and achievements that set you apart from other candidates
  • Commitments to gastroenterology as a speciality (including taster days, relevant projects, rotations)

You should be prepared in advance for this station, using your portfolio as a guide.

Maximising Your Achievements

A few tips to maximise your answers include:

  • Create a structure
  • Use interview resources such as courses and books to create a structured approach to answering a question. Some examples include the STAR or CAMP structures.
  • Get your most impressive achievements in
  • You should try to answer the questions as best you can, but make sure to include any achievements that are aligned with the question. You should leave the interview knowing that the interviewers are aware of your top achievements.
  • Highlight Teamwork and Collaboration
  • The interviewers are trying to see whether they could trust you to be their registrar. If you have all the awards and impressive projects, but can’t work in a team, they might not feel able to trust you.
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Question 2 – Medical Registrar Suitability

Duration: Approximately 8 minutes

The last question centres on the non-clinical aspects of being a medical registrar. It specifically addresses two Capabilities in Practice (CiPs) from the Internal Medicine Stage 1 Curriculum:

  • Managing an acute unselected take.
  • Managing a multi-disciplinary team, including effective discharge planning.

In this station, interviewers initiate the discussion with a question, allowing no pre-preparation time. The anticipated duration for this question is approximately 8 minutes.

You’ll be tasked with detailing your experience in leading a team responsible for acute medical admissions, providing illustrative examples throughout. You might be asked about how you have or would deal with:

  • Acutely unwell patients on the take
  • Managing rota gaps on-call
  • Probity issues with colleagues
  • Discharging medical patients
  • Challenging experiences while managing the take

Again, during this question, you should try to follow a structured approach such as BARER.

Interview Scoring

The gastro ST4 interview is scored by question, with each interviewer giving you a score out of 5 (with two separate scoring areas in your first clinical question). The scoring is as follows:


Anything below a 3 is an area of concern and could affect your appointability.

If you score a 1 on any of the questions, from either interviewer, you will be deemed unappointable. That means you can score 5/5 on every question except one, but if you get a 1/5 on that question you won’t receive an offer.

You can only score two of your ten interview scores at 2/5, and your raw interview score must be 30 or above (out of 50) – this means an average of 3/5.

To summarise, you are appointable if:

  • Your raw interview score is 30/50 or above
  • You get a maximum of two 2/5 marks (out of 10 total scoring opportunities)
  • You don’t get any 1/5 marks

Should you meet these criteria, your scores will be weighted to determine whether you make the cutoff for a training number.


If you’re found to be appointable, your score is then weighted.

Note that your answers to the clinical scenario, as well as your suitability & commitment, are the most heavily weighted.

Your weighted score out of 80 is the combined with your application score (based on the ST4 scoring criteria), which provides the final 20% of your total score.

Appointable candidates are then ranked based on their final score out of 100. You will receive a job post in the first round of offers if you get into the top selection based on the job post cutoff (e.g. if there are 20 posts available, you’ll be offered a post if you are in the top 20 scores).

Gastro total interview scoring

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