Situational Judgement Test

Why are we exploring an SJT?

The American healthcare system has changed. Medicine in the 21st century is team-based; it requires a collaborative approach to provide health care in a system that meets the access, safety and quality needs of all patients. Physicians need an awareness and appreciation of socio-cultural issues that affect interactions with a more diverse set of colleagues and patients.

Thus, the way we select physicians must change accordingly. Future medical students will need to demonstrate a wide range of academic and personal competencies to be successful in medical school and as physicians. In addition to students who are academically prepared, we need to select those who also have strong interpersonal and social skills, and can demonstrate various intrapersonal competencies necessary to learn clinical skills.

What is a Situational Judgment Test (SJT)?

An SJT is a standardized test that presents a series of hypothetical scenarios and asks examinees how they would respond or behave in that situation. The scenarios are presented through a variety of formats, including text, animation, or live-action video. Each scenario is based on one or more competencies, and the test taker’s responses provide insight into his/her ability within each relevant competency.

While most notably implemented in employment settings, such as executive selection, SJTs have also been used to measure interpersonal skills and integrity and ethics in international medical school admissions. Specifically, the following countries are currently using SJTs as part of their selection processes:

  • United Kingdom(Medical School and General Practitioner Selection)
  • Belgium(Medical School Selection)
  • Canada(Medical School Selection)
  • Israel (Medical School Selection)
  • Singapore(Medical School Selection)
  • Australia(General Practitioner Selection)

Data indicates that SJTs predict medical students’ grades in clinical courses and physician performance several years after admission (Belgium) and residency job performance (UK). While the US medical school context differs from our international colleagues, we believe the SJT holds promise as a potential tool for identifying aspirants who have strong inter- and intrapersonal skills.