Portfolio for core surgical training?

Hi Doctors,

I am a pre-med student, who is going to study medicine in Europe this year. I am very excited and nervous at the same time.
I like to learn how to get accepted into core surgical training in advance. I have heard that it is very competitive to get into and I need to make my portfolio better. I like to have a solid guide before I start studying medicine. I have seen a few articles on this website but still not clear where to start and how to prepare for it better.

Do you think I should book a session on Zoom here now? Can you give me some clear advice?

Please let me know

Hi there!!

First of all, you’re really awesome for thinking ahead about you medical career. Congratulations! Not many people think about it at the beginning of those 5 or maybe 6 years of medical school.

Secondly, my advice is to enjoy your experience as a medical student, have fun, meet new people, get involved in exchange programmes or volunteer work. Enjoy those years to come and learn as much as you can.

If you can get any research papers done or audits, QIPs it would be great. Try to have as much exposure to surgery as you can in your hospital and observe surgeries and find out if this is what you really want. Maybe you’ll find something else more exciting.

Don’t get too stressed about anything and have fun! You’ll have time for everything.

Thanks for your answer. BUT I am aiming to be an ortho surgeon. I know I am too far away but making this decision too quickly. I am doing 4 year of med from this year. I like to have an idea of how to get accepted into CST in the UK in advance.

Well, in order to get into Core Surgical Training you’ll first have to apply after getting your foundation competences signed.

As part of the application, candidates have to answer some Self Assessment Questions. These are then verified and scored. This is basically your portfolio. You can see here how each achievement is assessed regarding the points given and the Applicant Handbook for more details about the application process.

As a medical student you can improve your score by studying for MRCS exam (to give after graduation), attending surgical conferences, pursue and present research papers at a national conference/national meeting or win different prizes, have teaching experience or training in teaching and much more. Those are just some examples. You can find the list and points given Here.

If you get enough points, you’ll be called for an interview, then if successful, you’ll choose your deanery and start your journey to become a great surgeon.

Hope it was helpful.

More to read Here


Hire there,
I’ve seen the requirements that you need in order to apply for the core surgical training, but I’ve a question in my mind regarding the run through specialisty like cadiothoracic surgery. I’m from a EEU country, but I find it very difficult to improve you portfolio in order to apply for this specialty in particular, because you only have 2 years of Foundation training and the competition is very high. I know there are only few seats for cardiothoracic surgery, but how could an EEU graduate get into it in such short time?

Hi @JhonnyAlam!

For Cardiothoracic Surgery ST1 run through, for example, there are only 6 training post available this year. Alternatively, you can join Core surgical training and then apply directly for ST3.
Here you can find the person specification for ST1 application.

As an undergraduate, you can join any surgical association within your medical school, even get a membership online at Royal College of Surgeons from England or The Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons in Great Britain. You can also attend different conferences so you’ll show commitment to speciality.

There’s no much to do as a student besides making sure this is the right speciality for you. After you’ll join the NHS, you can further improve you portfolio.

Hope it was helpful! Have a great day!

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Hi @rozemaryvijdiac

I’m reaching out to know more details about the Cardiothoracic residency and how to get into the residency pathway as an Fy2 / non-training doctor . what are the further procedures and how to build a strong portfolio ? will additional academic degrees add value to the CV and if yes , what are the courses that can be pursued online/offline ? I understand that its extremely competitive and difficult to get into the training pathway , but i was hoping you could shed some light into the possibilities . thank you .

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Hello @Anna :hugs:

It’s great that you’re interested in Cardiothoracic Surgery. It’s realistically speaking a competitive speciality, but please don’t let this undermine your confidence!

As I’ve previously said, the pathway to join this speciality is the same. This year we’ve got 6 training posts for ST1 application. Please take a look at the Applicant Guide for 2022 just to have an idea about the process.

You can build a strong portfolio working in a FY2, ST1 non training job. Please read more about the Person Specifications that they’re looking for here.

I’ll put a link to the shortlisting criteria as well right here.

Yes, definitely! You can search the previous links in order to find everything that is essential and desirable. Most of the requirements you’ll fulfill whilst working in the NHS. Such as ALS type of courses, Audits, QIPs and so on.

Additional resources can be found over here .

Best of luck with everything and wishing you all the best in your journey​:heartpulse: please don’t hesitate to ask more questions if there’s anything else you wanna know. :hugs::cherry_blossom: