1. Hi I've just started my 5th year (not final) and I was wondering if I could get some first hand experience about applying for foundations schools and what my chances are realistically to getting into the South East schools.*

I'm currently in the 8th decile (but my marks for this year will also come into play) so my EPM is looking around 35ish? *I have a 2:1 BSc so that's about 3 marks and from the sounds of the SJT can be fairly unpredictable.*

Could I get into a London foundation school or Oxford? And is it worth me applying for an academic programme as this is something I'm interested in but am worried my EPM is too low.*

Also once you get accepted into a foundation school I've heard jobs are allocated according to your academic performance? If so am I better off applying somewhere else where it's less competitive?*
2. I was 10th decile, remember the deciles are such a tiny part of your overall score that it's almost not worth worrying about them.

If you work at your SJT you can easily get a score good enough for some of the London schools.
3. I have been doing some serious number crunching on this to work out my own chances of getting into my preferred deanery. Good fun if you are mathematically or statistically inclined. I am working with the assumptions that the SJT is mostly random, SJT scores should be similar this year to previous years, and none of these deaneries will change in popularity significantly for next year

So you seem to be assuming you'll finish in the ninth decile. That's cool, we'll work with that assumption. And you get 3 extra points for your degree so your EPM is 38.

Over the last 3 years the mean SJT score has been 39.33, with a mean standard deviation of 4.05. So if you assume you'll get an average SJT score, you should get 77.33. If you factor in the standard deviation, you have a 68% chance of getting between 73.28-81.38

Now let's look at the cut offs for the London deaneries. That is, the lowest score of an applicant who was accepted into that deanery (WITHOUT special circumstances). I only have on hand the 2015 numbers to 2 significant figures, but it's just to give an indication that they've been reasonably static for the last 2 years at least

North West Thames. 2016 - 84.23. 2015 - 84

North Central Thames. 2016 - 81.64. 2015 - 81

North East Thames 2016 - 77.88. 2015 - 77

South Thames. 2016 76.58. 2015 - 77.78

Looking at these figures, you'd have to do pretty well to get into North Central, and really smash it to get into North West. But if you perform just slightly above average on the SJT, you should be able to get into North East or South Thames. That's great, 50% of people score above the average!

So yes, you have every chance of getting into a South East deanery. About a 50% chance by my reckoning. But also a 50% chance you won't make it. Kind of crazy huh
4. One way to look at it as well is about the jobs you'll be doing. In many ways this will have the biggest impact on you. If you come bottom in a deanery you'll have a lot less choice with jobs. If you come higher up in a less competitive deanery you'll be more likely to influence where exactly you end up and what you'll be doing. This is especially important in big deaneries. Like there's a huge different between being in Stevenage or being in Great Yarmouth... Between getting a central London job and being in Southend. Or wanting Leeds but ending up in Hull. And say you want a particular job like paeds, or to avoid psych at all costs... Whatever floats your boat. Again, if you apply with a poorer score to a more competitive deanery you decrease the likelihood you can influence this.

TL;DR sometimes there are arguments for applying to less competitive deaneries which actually make sense for your own life plans.
5. (Original post by seaholme)
One way to look at it as well is about the jobs you'll be doing. In many ways this will have the biggest impact on you. If you come bottom in a deanery you'll have a lot less choice with jobs. If you come higher up in a less competitive deanery you'll be more likely to influence where exactly you end up and what you'll be doing. This is especially important in big deaneries. Like there's a huge different between being in Stevenage or being in Great Yarmouth... Between getting a central London job and being in Southend. Or wanting Leeds but ending up in Hull. And say you want a particular job like paeds, or to avoid psych at all costs... Whatever floats your boat. Again, if you apply with a poorer score to a more competitive deanery you decrease the likelihood you can influence this.

TL;DR sometimes there are arguments for applying to less competitive deaneries which actually make sense for your own life plans.
Great post.

How important would you say is getting the specialties you want to your future training posts? I do have a few areas in mind such as North West England, West Midlands central and South Thames with an EPM of 43 (which isn't terrible but not great either) so I'm trying to figure out whether sacrificing the specialties I'd want would be better to get the ideal location.
6. Depends on the specialty you're keen on. For example the paeds specialty training application is designed not to disadvantage those who haven't had a paeds foundation job, but I imagine this is not at all true for some surgical specialties.

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