Here are our 6 top tips for tackling the portfolio station:
1) Know your CV: make sure you are able to describe everything submitted in your self assessment. Prepare a short, structured paragraph to describe all audits, research and teaching experiences.
2) Be aware of topical issues: questions such as, 'how will winter pressures affect your training,' have been asked in this station before. Therefore it would be sensible to expect a question regarding the effects of the pandemic on Orthopaedics. Other examples of topical issues include improving diversity in surgery, GIRFT and the new T&O curriculum to name a few.
3) Use acronyms from the 'Medical Interviews' book by Picard: a staple for all medical interviews. There are some great examples of general interview questions and acronyms such as 'SPIES' and 'STAR' provide a structured approach to answering questions.
4) Prepare examples for key themes: have a prepared answer on hand for common questions such as, 'tell us about your experience with research/teaching/audits,' and the importance of leadership etc. Be able to turn to evidence in your portfolio freely and also describe how you will develop your skills in specialist training.
5) Know the curriculum: previous questions such as, 'how would you prepare for your first CS meeting', and the effects of different pressures on your training both rely on your knowledge of the T&O curriculum. This is more relevant with the advent of the new curriculum this year. Have an idea of how you will achieve the required competencies and monitor your progress.
6) Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses: you may not just be asked about the things in your portfolio, but also the skills and areas you would like to develop in specialist training. Think about how you will go about exploring your interests whilst meeting the required competencies of a registrar, i.e. how you will plan and manage your time etc...