How to make the most of the recent FPAS changes.
Confused about the recent changes? Or maybe you don't even know what all the fuss is about - what is the Foundation Programme Application System anyway? How do I get onto it? We'll get right to it.
What is the FPAS?
The Foundation Programme Application System, or FPAS, is the application process through which medical students in their final year apply for their foundation year (F1 and F2) jobs.
This application process is currently undergoing some changes that we will delve into later in this post. However, in general, the application takes into account your educational achievements and Situational Judgement Test scores to allocate you to the foundation year jobs you rank.
There are 20 deaneries (groups of hospitals based in the same region) in the UK where you can apply to do your foundation years. There are some areas that more people apply to, e.g. London, so are more competitive and others areas are less. You rank the 20 deaneries in order of your preference and the strength of your application determines your allocation.
Previously, your application would have a maximum of 100 points, made up of two parts:
- The Educational Performance Measure (EPM): worth 50 points
- Medical school performance in decile: worth 34-43 points (34 being 10th decile, 43 being 1st decile)
- Extra educational achievements: worth 7 points
- The Situational Judgement Test (SJT): worth 50 points
However, recently, the UKFPO (UK Foundation Programme Office) has announced their intention to remove the extra educational achievement (EA) score from the Foundation Programme allocation process from 2023.
This means that medical school deciles and the SJT will form the focus of the application, with publications and intercalated degrees no longer being considered in the FPAS process.
Okay, but what does this mean for me?
This may come as good news to some and disappointing to others. Let’s consider some of the implications of these changes to understand what impact they may have on your application:
- Students who experience financial hardships and are disinclined from pursuing an intercalated degree will not be disadvantaged in the application process.
- If research really isn’t your thing, you no longer have to lose sleep over it just for the EPM!
- You may find your CV to be less substantial compared to previous medical finalists due to the lack of incentive to complete research in medical school
- Many will decide to just do the 5 years of MBBS and hence not have the ability to have explored an additional field that comes with an intercalated degree
However, publications and extra degrees still hold tremendous value further on in your medical career. A good example of this is at the Core Training application stage – after the completion of your foundation years.
In the Core Surgical Training self-assessment form, publications, audits and degrees grant you up to 7, 11 and 4 points respectively – making up a sizeable 31 out of a total of 72 points in the CST self-assessment stage. This will, of course, contribute to getting you the surgical job of your dreams!
Ultimately, engaging in extra educational endeavours such as research, publications and degrees continue to play a big part in your medical journey and will add value to your portfolio in many stages after medical school. Don’t underestimate the benefits of planning ahead in medical school!
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