The assessment process is made up of 1 mandatory part - the Situational Judgement Test (SJT).

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

You will be assessed on the non-academic, professional attributes expected of a Foundation Dentist soon to enter the Dental Foundation Training programme. The attributes are listed below.

  • 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. 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. Additionally in 2024, these evaluation questions will be used to break ties but will not form part of the final score. You will not be made aware which questions are part of the evaluation process. 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 ( your score on other items won’t be reduced).

You will be required to sit the 105 minute assessment at a Pearson Vue Driving Test Centre between 8 November 2023 to 16 November 2023. You will be able to self-book a time and venue within this window which is convenient to you (subject to availability).

There is no need to revise for the SJT as it is not a test of clinical knowledge. The SJT assumes that you have knowledge of, and insight into the job role of a Foundation Dentist, and you will be required to respond as they should at this level.

Further information regarding this will be sent on 27 September 2023.

A formal notification, inviting you to the SJT will be sent on the 27 September 2023.

For more information on the SJT and process of sitting your exam please visit the Pearson Vue website for Dental Foundation Training.

If you do not attend the SJT, you will be unable to progress.

Preparing 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.

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.

If you require reasonable adjustments

You must apply for reasonable adjustments as part of the national application process also submitting any relevant supporting information by the closing date at 12pm (UK local time) on 9th September 2024. It is important to note that the Reasonable Adjustments allowed for the SJT selection assessment may differ from those you obtain for university exams.

Virtual interviews

There will no virtual interviews for the 2023/2024 recruitment period.


You may be asked to provide certain documentation as part of the recruitment process such as evidence of the right to work in the UK. Failure to provide the required documentation may result in you not being assessed.

If you have any concerns over their ability to provide the required documents, you should make contact with the Dental Foundation National Recruitment Office via the online portal.


Find out more information about visas and applications from overseas.

After the SJT

The scores will be centrally collated to produce a single national ranking based upon the scores from the SJT.

Your total score is made up of 100% of your score equalling your mark on the SJT.

In the event of tied ranks, there are a number of pilot questions included in the SJT which are not used to determine your SJT score but will be used for the purposes of breaking ties. The pilot questions do not lengthen the duration of the SJT test. If the pilot questions do not then break the ties, the scores across the 4 domains assessed in the SJT will be used to break ties.

Scoring information for the SJT

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.

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 0 marks, however, if you do not attempt to answer the question.

Imagine you are answering a ranking question in the exam. You are given a list of 5 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 1 of the adjacent options you would still be awarded 3 points, and so on.

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 3 options then you will not be awarded any marks for this question.

Case study

Case study: Tied ranks

Luisa and Farid both had a total weighted SJT score of 82.5. However, Luisa answered 5 out of 6 pilot questions correctly whereas Farid answered 6 out of 6 pilot questions correctly. This means that Farid would rank above Louisa in the overall national ranking as he answered more pilot questions correctly.


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.

Page last reviewed: 21 September 2023
Next review due: 21 September 2024