My GPST Stage 3 Experience

Stage 3 or Selection Assessment Center is the third and final step for entering GP training. This article contains my experience of Stage 3. You can read more about the overview of the application process here.


Starting Preparation

I started studying for Stage 3 as soon as I passed the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA), previously known as Stage 2. I only had 8 days to prepare for stage 3. I was working in Acute Medical Unit on 6 out of these 8 days.


Preparation time

I studied for a total of 20 hours for the exam.



I only used the book GPST Stage 3 by Richard Hughes and Shivani Tana. I did not undertake any courses for Stage 3.



  1. I read chapter 3, Consultation skills: introduction, first to understand the basics of consultations.
  2. Then I read the consultation scenarios given in chapter 4.
  3. After reading each scenario, I read their transcript from chapter 5.
  4. I read the actor instructions from chapter 4 after reading the transcript of each consultation. Because I wanted to see how the doctor was exploring the ideas, concerns and expectations (ICE) during consultations without knowing the instructions given to the actors.


Practice for Consultations

I read all 15 consultations from the relative and the patient sections. I only read 10 out of 15 consultations from the colleague section. I did not have time to practice even a single consultation as I had a very busy schedule because of work. However, I do not think this was ideal; I would advise everyone to practice at least a few cases to make yourself familiar to the exam.


Writing Tasks

  1. I read chapter 1, Written prioritisation: introduction, to understand the basics of the writing task.
  2. I read chapter 2, Written prioritisation: practice cases and model answers, to make myself familiar with the tasks.


Practice for Writing Tasks

I read all 18 written exercises from the book. I wrote only three exercises; I did not have time to write more. I wrote them in 30-minute exam-like situation.



I did not take any courses for the exam. I did not have time to take a course and I felt they were very expensive. Also, I was told by my friends that the book should be enough to pass the exam without any course.


Exam Day

I reached the examination centre an hour before time. I met a few familiar faces on the exam day. The exam started 35 minutes late but finished on time.


The Exam

We were divided into two groups. One group had the consultations first. The other group had the writing task first. We were grouped based on the candidate numbers given to us that day; we did not have the option of choosing which task we wanted to go through first.

I had the writing task first. I felt that there was a lot of information in the writing task and interpreting that information took more time than I was taking while practicing at home. However, I was able to finish the writing task two minutes before time.

I had the consultations next. I enjoyed this part. The actors were brilliant. I felt the key to this part of the exam was to make myself believe that I was in a real-life setting instead of being in an exam. I also felt that keeping an eye on the clock was very important because the 10-minute consultation actually felt like a 2-minute consultation to me, maybe because I was deeply immersed in the consultation.


Top Tips

  • Stay relaxed.
  • Make yourself believe that you are in a real-life setting.
  • Keep an eye on the clock during the writing task and during consultations as well.



We were provided with the link for submitting the form to claim expenses within 28 days.



I was not sure at all if I would pass or not. But I did pass with the following scores:

  • Overall: 49/52
  • Patient scenario: 11/12
  • Relative scenario: 10/12
  • Colleague scenario: 12/12
  • Writing task: 16/16


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