Mastering ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 National Selection: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

Applying for an ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 training number in the UK is a pivotal step in a doctor’s career. With the competition being intense, it’s crucial to have a well-prepared strategy. MediGuru has meticulously compiled insights, strategies, and valuable tips from high-achieving, successful applicants to enhance the prospects of those aspiring to secure an ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 training position. Our expertise, drawn from aiding hundreds of candidates in achieving their ENT ST3 goals, is encapsulated in our comprehensive guide, designed to assist you in crafting an impressive and effective application.

This blog post, enriched with tips and guidance from our successful course MediGuru, aims to enhance your chances of success in the ENT ST3 interview process.

How do I apply for an ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 training number?

Applying for an ENT ST3 training number involves a multi-step process. Firstly, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the NHS. This includes having a GMC registration and requisite training or experience. Applications are typically submitted through the Oriel system, where you need to provide detailed information about your qualifications, experience, and motivations for pursuing a career in ENT. These will include achievements including passing the MRCS (ENT) exam, previously known as the DOHNS exam, and other achievements during your Core Surgical Training.

ENT ST3 recruitment timeline 2024

The recruitment timeline for ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 starts with the opening of applications in mid-November. Shortlisting and interview invitations follow in the subsequent months, with interviews usually conducted in March or April. Final offers are typically released by May, giving candidates ample time to prepare for their new roles.

For the 2024 interview cycle, the key dates you need to be aware of are:

ActivityDate
Applications open16 November 2023 at 10am
Applications close7 December 2023 at 4pm
Upload of self-assessment documents 21 December 2023 – 9 January 2024
Interviews11 – 12 March 2024
Initial offers released18 April 2024 by 5pm
Deadline for held applications23 April 2024 at 1pm
Deadline for upgrades24 April 2024 at 1pm
*A round 2 is not expected in 2024

What is the competition ratio for an ENT ST3 training number?

The competition ratio for ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 training positions varies each year but is known for being high. In recent years, the ratio has ranged from 3:1 to 6:1, indicating a highly competitive landscape. In 2023, there were 152 applicants for 60 posts giving a competition ratio of 2.53. This underscores the importance of thorough preparation and standout performance in every selection stage.

How is the portfolio scored for ENT ST3 training numbers in 2024?

The portfolio for ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 training is a critical component of the selection process. It is scored based on academic achievements, clinical experience, research, presentations, and extracurricular activities related to ENT. Each section carries specific points, and candidates are advised to meticulously document all relevant experiences and achievements.

Verification of self-assessment scores and supporting evidence is conducted by a panel of ENT specialists. Applicants are given a score and then shortlisted. The highest scoring applicants are invited to interview.

Self-assessment for ENT ST3 2024?

Self-assessment is an integral part of the application. Candidates must evaluate their experiences and achievements against the criteria set by the selection committee using the self-assessment form. This process helps in identifying areas of strength and those needing improvement, aiding in targeted preparation.

Self-assessment is a critical aspect of the ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 application process. It’s not just about ticking boxes; it’s an opportunity to reflect on your skills, experiences, and areas for development. Here’s a comprehensive approach to tackle the self-assessment effectively:

Understanding the Criteria

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Marking Scheme: The self-assessment criteria for ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 are outlined by the selection committee. These criteria usually encompass clinical skills, academic achievements, teaching experience, research, and other extracurricular activities relevant to ENT.
  • Specificity and Relevance: Focus on experiences and achievements that are directly relevant to ENT. General medical experience is valuable, but specificity can set you apart.

Reflective Practice

  • Self-Reflection: Analyse your career to date. Identify the experiences that demonstrate your commitment to ENT. Reflect on what you learned from each experience and how it has prepared you for a career in ENT.
  • Identifying Gaps: As you reflect, note any gaps in your experience. This will help you target areas for development in the months leading up to the application.

Documenting Achievements

  • Organise Your Portfolio: A well-organised portfolio makes it easier to identify and document your achievements. Ensure each documented experience is accompanied by evidence, such as certificates or references.
  • Highlighting Key Achievements: Focus on achievements that demonstrate leadership, initiative, and a deep understanding of ENT. These could include involvement in ENT-related research projects, presentations at conferences, or leadership roles in medical organisations.

Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence

  • Quantitative Evidence: Include any measurable achievements, such as the number of procedures performed, research impact factors, or the number of teaching sessions conducted.
  • Qualitative Evidence: Reflect on the quality of your experiences. For instance, feedback from mentors or peers on your clinical skills or contributions to research can provide qualitative evidence of your suitability for ENT training.

Continuous Improvement

  • Seek Feedback: Regularly seek feedback from peers, mentors, and supervisors. Use this feedback constructively to improve your skills and portfolio.
  • Ongoing Development: Show that you are actively working to improve any identified gaps. This could involve taking additional courses, engaging in research, or seeking out specific clinical experiences in ENT.

Remember, a thoughtful and well-prepared self-assessment can significantly enhance your application’s impact. If your evidence cannot be verified by the assessors, there is a possibility of receiving a zero score for that particular question. Additionally, if there are doubts regarding the confidentiality, accuracy, or authenticity of your evidence, it will be removed and it may be investigated as a probity issue.

What is the interview format for ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 interviews 2024?

If your application for the ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 program is successfully shortlisted, you’ll be invited for an interview. It’s crucial to schedule your interview on Oriel at your earliest convenience. The slots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so prompt action is advised.

The interviews for the 2024 cycle will be conducted online. Ensure you have a stable internet connection and a device equipped with a camera and microphone for the video interview. Test your setup beforehand to avoid any lighting issues, like backlighting from windows, which can be mitigated by closing blinds or curtains.

You can join using the link sent after you have booked a slot. You should join 5+ minutes before the scheduled time and will first have your identity confirmed by a member of admin staff. Make sure that you have photo ID to hand (your passport or UK driving licence) and that you are alone in the room you are interviewing from. as specified in your Oriel invitation.

The ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 interview is structured into three distinct stations, each lasting 12 minutes, which includes two minutes for reading. These stations are designed to evaluate your competencies based on the 2024 person specification criteria.

Professional station

You will be assessed independently by two interviewers. You may need to read a paper or create a presentation before the interviews. If this is required, you will be notified after the interview invitation but no later than seven days before your interview date. If you don’t get an email about this, there’s no need for any advance preparation. Generally, the presentation is expected to last between 3 to 5 minutes and questions related to the presentation’s content or about broader leadership and professional skills may follow.

Clinical station

The clinical scenario station aims to assess your clinical competencies using a clinical scenario to guide this. The scenario will likely be surrounding a condition that you will be expected to be able to manage as a new ST3 and should be relatively straightforward. There may be a possible ‘trap’ but this is to test your competency. The scenario may lead up to describing an operative procedure.  

Questions will usually be split into an introductory question, competence question and advanced question. You will be marked on these including being given a global score.

Over the last few years the clinical station has tended towards the acute (emergency) scenarios however clinic scenarios have begun to feature more recently.

It is important that you have a systematic and structured approach to answering both types of scenarios. This will enable you to be prepared to answer most scenarios. 

An example of a clinical vignette from the MediGuru ENT ST3 interview question bank is below:

The MediGuru ENT ST3 interview question bank stands as the foremost and most extensive online resource of its kind. It is updated yearly, ensuring that it remains current and offers the most relevant and effective information for both your application preparation and interview readiness.

Communication station

This station will test your ability to deal with an emotional patient as well as impart accurate medical information at a level suitable for the patient’s understanding. As with many things in medicine you should aim to keep the consultation structured but without looking or sounding robotic. Empathy is key here!

You will be assessed on your 

  • introduction, ability to gather information
  • discussion points and reflection
  • non-verbal communication skills. 

You will also be given a global score based on your overall approach. This will involve criteria such as use of open questions, structure, pace, responding to cues, empathy, fluidity and avoidance of using jargon. 

An example scenario from the MediGuru ENT ST3 interview question bank is below:

In the event of a tied score the communication station will be used to decide which candidate will rank higher. Therefore it is worthwhile putting in a good amount of preparation for this station. 

ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 Interview scoring 2024

Each domain of your performance will be evaluated using a systematic scoring method. The scores from all the interview stations will be aggregated to determine your total interview score.

A systematic scoring method will be used to evaluate each domain of your performance. Your total interview score will be determined by the cumulative scores from all the interview stations.

Your placement in the ranking system will depend on both your total interview score and the scores from each individual station. NHSE may establish a minimum acceptable score for any specific domain, and failing to meet this minimum score in any one domain will result in a ranking of zero.

Claiming interview expenses for the ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 interview

You may be eligible to claim travel and accommodation expenses for attending the interview. Further information can be found on the Health Education Yorkshire and Humber website.

Do I have to have completed MRCS ENT?

You need to have passed all parts of the MRCS ENT exam by the offer release date, which is set for Thursday, 18 April 2024. Should your application advance post the Self-Assessment Validation stage, it’s essential that you provide proof of having successfully completed the MRCS ENT exam by this date.

It’s crucial to note that if you haven’t completed all parts of the MRCS ENT exam by Thursday, 18 April 2024, your application will be considered ineligible. In such a case, you’ll need to withdraw your application promptly and decline any offer that may have been extended. If an offer has already been made or accepted, it will unfortunately have to be withdrawn. This step is vital to maintain the integrity of the application process.

Can I apply to ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 national selection as an International Medical Graduate (IMG)?

From 6 October 2019, all medical practitioners have been added to the Shortage Occupation List in the UK. This means that all medical practitioners are exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and can apply for any specialty in any recruitment round, subject to eligibility.

Top tips

Here are the MediGuru top tips for securing an ENT (Otolaryngology) ST3 training number:

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Familiarize yourself with common interview questions and scenarios specific to your field. Regular practice and mock interviews can significantly boost your confidence and performance.
  • Understand the Criteria: Know the scoring system and the competencies being assessed. Tailor your responses and examples to demonstrate these key skills and qualities.
  • Showcase Professionalism: Dress appropriately, maintain a calm demeanor, and be punctual. Your professional conduct is often as important as your answers.
  • Effective Communication: Practice clear and concise communication. Listen carefully to questions, and ensure your responses are well-structured and relevant.
  • Reflect and Improve: After each interview or practice session, reflect on your performance. Seek feedback and work on areas that need improvement to continuously enhance your skills.

Key links and documents

Oriel Recruitment System

ST3 Otolaryngology (ENT) Person Specification

2024 Otolaryngology (ENT) Applicant Handbook

2024 Otolaryngology (ENT) Audit Form

ENT Otolaryngology Self-Assessment Guide

Guidance and Form for Claiming Interview Expenses

Pursuing a career in ENT is fulfilling, and securing a national training number in ENT (Otolaryngology) is a crucial milestone in this journey. Our comprehensive guide and interview question bank have been instrumental in assisting hundreds of doctors to prepare for this significant stage, paving their way to becoming ENT consultants.

You may be thinking about applying to other specialities. MediGuru can help you with this too! We have comprehensive guides and interview question banks for Respiratory Medicine ST4, Anaesthetics/ACCS and Radiology ST1, with further specialities being added soon.


“”MediGuru’s ENT resource was detailed and well organised. It really helped my prep for my interview and I couldn’t have done it without it. Highly recommend!”

– 4th ranked candidate

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