Additional information to help you understand the Dental Foundation Training recruitment process

Appendix I – Guidance notes on the person specification

Essential Criteria – Professional Qualifications and Academic Achievements

  • Must have full registration with the GDC by time of commencement of post

This means that the candidate must be registered with the GDC at the time they start in their 2023 Dental Foundation Training post

  • Eligible to join an NHS Dental Performer List (or equivalent) by time of commencement of post

Membership of a NHS Dental Performers List in England and Wales (or equivalent in Northern Ireland) is a legal requirement and the only mechanism for a dentist to be able to work in NHS primary dental care services.

All dentists who are able to obtain full registration with the GDC at the time of commencement of a DFT post (e.g. dental undergraduates in their final year) will be required to join an NHS Dental Performer List (or the equivalent in Northern Ireland) at the start of their training or, exceptionally, within the first three months.

  • Requires Dental Foundation Training as the only route to access the NHS Dental Performers List

Dentists and dental students who expect to graduate or have recently graduated from a dental school anywhere in the UK are required to undertake DFT in order to join the NHS Dental Performers Lists in England and Wales (or the equivalent in Northern Ireland). This is subject to their not having completed more than 12-months of experience working as a dentist by the intended start date of the DFT programme.

EEA, non-UK dental graduates and UK dental graduates with more than 12-months of experience working as a dentist can join the Performers list by other routes – please refer to the below links for further details:

Appendix II - Example Situational Judgement Test (SJT) item

A new patient, Louise, asks you to veneer all of her front teeth. She hopes to pursue a career as a model and has been advised by a friend that veneers may help her do this. On examination Louise's teeth are perfectly healthy with no previous restorations and just some mild crowning. Her teeth are vita shade A3.

Rank in order the following actions in response to this situation (1 = most appropriate, 5 = least appropriate).

  • Respect Louise's wishes and schedule appointment for the veneers.
  • Ensure Louise is aware of alternatives such as orthodontics and tooth whitening.
  • Suggest a course of teeth whitening and explain the legal issues involved.
  • Establish exactly what Louise does not like about her teeth.
  • Offer to refer Louise to a specialist to discuss the veneers in more detail.

British Dental Journal Volume 13 10.1 July 14 2012 (page 24).

Other examples can be found in the Postgraduate Dental Dean' FT presentation sent to all dental schools.

Appendix III – SJT FAQs

What is a Situational Judgement Test (SJT)?

A Situational Judgment Test (SJT) is a measurement tool where applicants are tested on hypothetical work situations. The DFT SJT is set within the context of dental foundation training.

Applicants will be assessed on the non-academic, professional attributes expected of a trainee soon to enter the Dental Foundation Training programme:

  • Professional integrity.
  • Resilience and coping with pressure.
  • Empathy and communication.
  • Working effectively as part of a team.

The SJT is a computer-based assessment and will be administered by Pearson Vue test centres. The SJT will last for 105 minutes and will consist of 56 questions. Please note that only 50 of these questions will be used for the overall SJT score. 6 questions are being asked as part of an evaluation process. Additionally in 2023, these evaluation questions will be used to break ties but will not form part of the final score. Applicants will not be made aware which questions are part of the evaluation process.

Can I revise for the SJT?

There is no need to revise for the SJT as it is not a test of clinical knowledge.

The SJT assumes that applicants have knowledge of, and insight into the job role of a Foundation Dentist, and applicants will be required to respond as they should at this level.

The SJT lasts 105 minutes. How long do I spend on each question? What if I don’t finish on time?

The SJT is designed so that there is sufficient time for applicants to complete the test. It is important that you try and plan your time carefully and attempt to answer all questions. You should not spend more than 2 minutes on each question.

Should I attempt to answer a question if I am unsure of the answer?

Yes. For ranking questions, you will receive partial credit for attempting to answer the question. You will receive no marks for any questions (both ranking and multiple choice) that you do not answer, but you will not be negatively marked (i.e. your score on other items won’t be reduced). See ‘How are SJT items scored?’ below for more detail.

How are the SJT items written?

After consulting clinicians and consultants in the field, Work Psychology Group (WPG) has written the questions for the SJT. WPG are experts in creating selection and assessment processes and liaise extensively with subject matter experts to develop and finalise the test content. The questions are ranking and multiple choice, designed to assess applicants’ non-academic attributes and responses to hypothetical scenarios in work relevant situations.

How much of my overall score does the SJT account for?

The SJT will account for 100% of your final total score.

I usually have adjustments made for my university exams. Will this count for the SJT?

You must apply for reasonable adjustments as part of the national application process also submitting any relevant supporting information by the closing date at 09:00 (GMT) on 9th September 2022. It is important to note that the Reasonable Adjustments allowed for the SJT selection assessment may differ from those you obtain for university exams.

How are SJT items scored?

SJT items are scored against pre-determined keys that have been derived from extensive consultations with multiple subject matter experts, so that the scoring of the test is standardised and fair to all applicants. Ranking items: For ranking items, you will receive marks dependent on your responses’ proximity to the correct answers. Full marks for an item are awarded if your response matches the correct answer and partial marks are awarded if your response is close to the correct answer. There is generally a maximum of 20 points available for each ranking item. You will receive marks for attempting to answer a ranking question. You will receive zero marks, however, if you do not attempt to answer the question.

The table below illustrates the scoring system in more detail. Imagine you are answering a ranking question in the exam. You are given a list of five actions/options and are then asked to rank in order the following actions in response to this situation (1 = most appropriate and 5 = least appropriate). Let’s say that the predetermined key for this question is CABDE. Option C has thus been predetermined by multiple subject matter experts to be the ‘most appropriate’ option (in other words, ranked as 1 out of 5). If you note down on the answer sheet that Option C is the most appropriate option you would be awarded 4 full marks. If you select instead one of the adjacent options you would still be awarded 3 points, and so on.

  Candidate rank
Keyed rank 1 2 3 4 5
1 4 3 2 1 0
2 3 4 3 2 1
3 2 3 4 3 2
4 1 2 3 4 3
5 0 1 2 3 4

Multiple choice items

For multiple choice questions, 4 marks are awarded for each correct option chosen, with a maximum of 12 marks generally available for each question. Please note that if you select more than three options then you will not be awarded any marks for this question. You will receive no marks for any questions (both ranking and multiple choice) that you do not answer, but you will not be negatively marked (i.e. your score on other items won’t be reduced).

Page last reviewed: 28 October 2022