Obstetrics and gynaecology application process

Charlie, currently a foundation doctor in Liverpool, shares her thoughts on the O&G application process, who could apply and best ways of preparing for it.

What will we cover?


Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) is a wide-ranging and fulfilling speciality that combines medicine and surgery. Training for O&G is a run through programme from ST1-7; once you have been accepted at ST1, you will not need to re-apply. Training takes seven years, however, the length of time can vary. Less than full-time training may be an option, in which case it would take longer than seven years.  Further details on the run through programme can be found on the royal college of obstetrics and gynaecology website and in this career prospectus. This blog will aim to give a brief overview of the O&G application process.

Who can apply for O&G?

You can apply for training if you have: 

  • Completed an undergraduate medical degree 
  • Full GMC registration 
  • 12 months experience after full GMC registration 
  • Be within 3.5 years preceding the advertised start date of completion of the Foundation programme. 
  • No more than 24 months of O&G experience (excluding foundation modules and observer posts) by the intended start date.

Application process overview

A detailed guide for the O&G application process can be found here.

Stages of recruitment

  • Applications usually open in November, and the application window usually lasts around one month. The application process is done through a website called oriel. 
  • Standardised longlisting process 
  • Invitation to MRSA (multi-speciality recruitment assessment) – late December 
  • Sit MSRA 6th Jan -15th Jan
  • Preferencing 
  • 3 Station interview – late Feb/early March. 
  • Offers release Late March

Oriel application

The oriel application is a straightforward form online. You will have to provide your personal details, information on education and work experience, and evidence to match the criteria on the person specification.

Standardised long listing

Usually happened throughout December – all application forms will be longlisted the person specification again. 

The person specification looks at qualifications, clinical experience and knowledge, academic skills (research, audits and teaching), personal skills including management and leadership skills and commitment to the speciality.


Your MSRA score will be used to shortlist out the lowest scoring applicants and bypass the highest scoring applicants to the offer stage. For those that pass MSRA but do not reach the bypass score, assessment will be based on MSRA and an online interview. 

It is a computer-based exam that is delivered at Pearson Vue testing centres. 

More detail on the MSRA can be found here.

There are two parts to the MSRA:

A. Professional Dilemmas (95 minutes)

This is a situational judgement test. These questions are used to assess your judgement and decision making in a workplace context. It will also test your knowledge of the GMC’s ethical and medicolegal guidance. 

This part of the paper centres around three domains 

  1. Empathy and sensitivity 
  2. Coping and pressures 
  3. Professional integrity 

There are two types of questions – ranking questions and multiple-choice questions. 

In the ranking questions, you will be given a scenario with four or five actions and asked to rank these in order or appropriateness. In the multiple-choice questions, you will be given eight actions for each scenario, and you will choose the three most appropriate. 

B. Clinical problem-solving paper (75 minutes) 

This paper consists of 97 questions to assess how you can apply your clinical knowledge to make decisions in everyday practice. 

 Around half the questions are extended matching questions (EMQ), and the other half single best answer questions. In the EMQ question, you will be given a list of 7-10 responses and multiple questions linked to the response, and you will choose the most appropriate answer for the question. The SAQ questions will have 5-8 answers and you will select the single best answer for that question.

Interview process

The interviews process has changed in recent years following the covid pandemic. Prior to covid the interviews were in person, but in recent years, in 2021 and 2022 have been/will be online. 

The interview will last around 25 minutes, and the new format includes two sections. 

  • Clinical prioritisation task 
  • Structured interview questions

Things to do in medical school and foundation years to develop experience and build CV in preparation for application:

  • O&G elective  
  • O&G intercalation 
  • Student selective components in O&G 
  • Become a member of your universities obstetrics and gynaecology society 
  • Attend  O&G conference – will allow for you to network 
  • Register for the royal college of obstetrics and gynaecology 
  • Attend the Royal College of O&G medical students day 
  • Get involved with audits/research
  • Aim to get your work published or present it at conferences 
  • Get involved with teaching

Final thoughts

Each year this application process can change.  This is just a rough guide to give an overview of how it has been done for the most recent application process. For up to date information, please use the official guide.

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