Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Discuss applications to the clearing house (and to courses that are not in the clearing house system), screening assessments, interviews, reserve lists, places, etc. here
cberry18
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Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by cberry18 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:56 pm

Is anyone else a bit annoyed that they've changed the Staffs selection test to a GMA test without stating it on the clearing house website?!

I completed the GMA test last year for Plymouth and vowed not to do that again because it's deceivingly difficult!

I'm struggling to understand how the GMA score alone offers a comprehensive assessment of whether you will be a good clinical psychologist.

BJLucas
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by BJLucas » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:38 pm

Yes definitely, I didn’t apply for Leicester this year because they use these tests.

I struggle with the fact that it states they take the top 45 scorers through to interview, in theory they could be the 45 weakest applicants despite their intellectual ability. I wouldn’t mind if they took into account the application as well.

I liked the test they ran last year, it was relevant to the course and didn’t feel so arbitrary.

Doodlebug
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by Doodlebug » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:39 pm

Hi cberry18

Yes I was quite taken aback, I have avoided universities with this assessment and had I known it would be the case for staffs I would have selected an alternative course. I am not at this stage decided if i will be going ahead with it

Esuma
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by Esuma » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:08 pm

I had no idea what their test would be so was fairly open minded and accepting having applied to Leicester who used these previously. I’m just wondering if Leicester are actually using it too or not?! If so I hope I can just do one for them both! I did a practice verbal reasoning after seeing Leicester used them and found it hard but I’m hoping now I have some understanding of how they work it’ll be slightly less horrible.. yet to attempt a numerical one though!

RJParker
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by RJParker » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:31 am

cberry18 wrote:I'm struggling to understand how the GMA score alone offers a comprehensive assessment of whether you will be a good clinical psychologist.
It isn't intended to offer a comprehensive assessment of whether you will be a good clinical psychologist. That is why courses interview afterwards. Ensuring candidates interviewed are capable of completing a doctorate is fundamental to recruitment however. The application form is not an indicator of suitability for training as I'm sure most people would now recognise.
Esuma wrote:I’m just wondering if Leicester are actually using it too or not?! If so I hope I can just do one for them both!
Leicester are doing different tests to Staffordshire this year I'm afraid.

Esuma
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by Esuma » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:04 pm

Ooh thanks for the information - I wonder what Leicester are doing then this year since there’s a specific date. It would be good to know ASAP whether I need to go to Leicester / book annual leave!

kathrynjane
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by kathrynjane » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:09 pm

Esuma wrote:Ooh thanks for the information - I wonder what Leicester are doing then this year since there’s a specific date. It would be good to know ASAP whether I need to go to Leicester / book annual leave!
I received a letter in the post today for the Leicester test on 22nd February. I am stumped at how to prepare now!

Chachar
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by Chachar » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:27 pm

I’m also really disappointed. I definitely wouldn’t have applied to Staffs if I’d known they were doing the reasoning tests- I feel like I’ve lost a possible uni before I’ve even started :( I’ve sat the GMA tests previously for a different uni and just didn’t do well on them, so if Staffs had stated that they would be using them, I would have been able to apply somewhere else where I may stand a chance of an interview :( hey ho! Here’s hoping for luck with my other 3!!

cberry18
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by cberry18 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:35 pm

RJParker wrote:
cberry18 wrote:I'm struggling to understand how the GMA score alone offers a comprehensive assessment of whether you will be a good clinical psychologist.
It isn't intended to offer a comprehensive assessment of whether you will be a good clinical psychologist. That is why courses interview afterwards. Ensuring candidates interviewed are capable of completing a doctorate is fundamental to recruitment however. The application form is not an indicator of suitability for training as I'm sure most people would now recognise.
I think my gripe is that it is difficult to even get to interview stage to be able to demonstrate your ability so it seems unfair that the initial stage is entirely focused on essentially your IQ.

I've been an Assistant Psychologist for nearly three years and been part of many AP groups and worked alongside lots of other AP's and I'm yet to meet an assistant psychologist who is not bright or who would not be capable of completing the academic demands. I am inclined to believe that out of the 300 candidates who apply to Staffordshire, a LOT more than 45 of them will be capable of completing the doctorate and perhaps, may be even better candidates that the brightest 45 in consideration of all the other factors/qualities that you want in a clinical psychologist.

Last year, I did actually get an interview at Plymouth after taking the GMA test so perhaps I should stop complaining but I just disagree with the shortlisting method and would have chosen a different university if I had known.
My experience of practicing the GMA tests on the suggested website last year was that I got very different scores every time! I would be under average on one go and then above average on the next so I also wonder how reliable it is?!

RJParker
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by RJParker » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:16 am

cberry18 wrote:I've been an Assistant Psychologist for nearly three years and been part of many AP groups and worked alongside lots of other AP's and I'm yet to meet an assistant psychologist who is not bright or who would not be capable of completing the academic demands.
This goes to the heart of the issue of equality in selections - we don't only want to recruit people who have been fortunate enough to get an AP position. Sadly we have seen many people who have extensive experience in such positions severely struggle when on doctoral training. There is simply no evidence base for using AP positions or the like as a way of selecting people and the negative impact on diversity would make it highly undesirable anyway.

While I'm sure there are more than the 70 odd we interview from our 500 applicants who could complete the doctorate, we obviously want to recruit the best of these. This is in the interests of the individuals themselves, the programme, and the public they will serve. That is what the NHS funds us to do after all.

We are committed to using selection processes which are evidence based rather than simply familiar. The outcomes for the programme since we started using GMA tests have been good and the diversity of our cohorts has increased. The test retest validity of the suite is exceptional by the way. There is a reason that these tests are used by huge swathes of the commercial world and, of course, in medical training selection. They are great evidence based predictors of outcome.

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ell
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by ell » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:46 pm

RJParker wrote:
cberry18 wrote:I've been an Assistant Psychologist for nearly three years and been part of many AP groups and worked alongside lots of other AP's and I'm yet to meet an assistant psychologist who is not bright or who would not be capable of completing the academic demands.
This goes to the heart of the issue of equality in selections - we don't only want to recruit people who have been fortunate enough to get an AP position. Sadly we have seen many people who have extensive experience in such positions severely struggle when on doctoral training. There is simply no evidence base for using AP positions or the like as a way of selecting people and the negative impact on diversity would make it highly undesirable anyway.

While I'm sure there are more than the 70 odd we interview from our 500 applicants who could complete the doctorate, we obviously want to recruit the best of these. This is in the interests of the individuals themselves, the programme, and the public they will serve. That is what the NHS funds us to do after all.

We are committed to using selection processes which are evidence based rather than simply familiar. The outcomes for the programme since we started using GMA tests have been good and the diversity of our cohorts has increased. The test retest validity of the suite is exceptional by the way. There is a reason that these tests are used by huge swathes of the commercial world and, of course, in medical training selection. They are great evidence based predictors of outcome.
Are there any plans for Lancaster to publish this information in a more formal way? It is good to hear that outcomes have been good and diversity has increase, and so it would be good to hear more detail on this.

I would also add that until you have been a trainee in the course, or have worked for a course, you don't necessarily have the full awareness of the challenges (including but not limited to academic) that the whole process involves. I was a super AP, years and years of experience. I have a Distinction at masters level. And I have struggled with some of the aspects of training, particularly academic and research. This was even in the context of an extremely supportive course centre, and me having the ability to ask for, and accept, help. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone in a course where you are left more to your own devices, or for someone who struggles to ask for help. Some of my cohort, with very little AP experience, fared much better with the academic element. And everyone else between had their own individual combination of skills and learning needs. Bottom line is, the course is HARD. If it feels like course centres are making you jump through difficult hoops to get on training, then just wait til you actually start the training process itself! They set those hoops on fire! And make you ride a unicycle.

cberry18
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by cberry18 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:10 pm

Thank you for your responses. I appreciate your comments and it has helped shed some light. I have since done some more research into GMA tests. However, it has also opened up more questions for me and further thoughts.

Firstly, I do not consider myself ‘fortunate enough’ to have an AP position. I spent two years working full-time as a support worker and volunteering as much as I could – desperately trying to find relevant honorary work. I self-funded a masters degree to promote my chances. I applied for 250+ NHS assistant psychologist jobs all over the UK. I had no connections or ‘lucky break’. I went to an under-achieving comprehensive school and was bought up in a town once voted ‘the worst place to live in the UK’. I am not an A* student and did not go to a top University. I got my assistant psychologist post through my own merit, passion and determination. My experience of being an assistant psychologist has not always been fun and games either– Band 4 wages for the past five years, ‘bottom of the pile’ in the workplace, high caseloads, and inappropriate complex work with poor support.

I am feeling disheartened that I have worked incredibly hard to be in the position that I am now, to be told that actually, AP experience doesn’t matter – it’s all about how well I perform on a verbal and numerical test.

I am absolutely supportive of accepting candidates from a range of backgrounds and demographics to create greater diversity but I can’t help but feel there are some huge contradictions. For example, possible changes to funding in the future?

If it widely recognised that the application form is not an indicator of suitability for training then why it is still being used as the only means of first stage short listing by most Universities?

And similarly, if assistant psychologist posts are not a good indicator for doing well on the training then why is there such an emphasis to gain an AP post? Does it not make sense that an ‘assistant psychologist’ post provides you with the most relevant skills and experience needed as a ‘trainee psychologist’? What alternative job/experience would you suggest?

Ell – Of course, I have not experienced training and therefore cannot have full awareness but I’m not naïve and do not under estimate that it will be incredibly challenging. It’s interesting because I feel quite the opposite actually – if all applicants need to do is perform well on a verbal and numerical reasoning test to get an interview then that doesn’t seem like a lot of hoops at all.

The reason I posted in the first place was because I felt it was unfair to change the shortlisting test without stating so on the clearing house which I do not think is unreasonable. The process of gaining a place on the clinical psychology training is known for being stressful and frustrating and if you do manage to gain a place, you then have a further stressful and challenging three years ahead of you! I think I am just feeling the pressure. When you are really passionate about something and have been working towards it for some time with lots of difficult times, I think my resilience and determination is being pushed to the limit which is leaving me feeling quite frustrated!

RJParker
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by RJParker » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:51 am

Programmes should certainly be more transparent and communicative in explaining their selections procedures and it would be good practice to confirm selection processes prior to the application window closing. However, the complexities of running an externally funded programme with students who are also employees, while sitting within a university controlled financial structure does mean that perfection is a tough thing to get a lot of the time.

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ell
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by ell » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:10 am

You make some good points and I'm glad you've gone and down some more research/reflection on it all (at the risk of sounding kinda patronising, that's the kind of approach that's going to work well for you in this whole getting into CP training thing). And I myself am not particularly subscribed to the idea of test over application form. But don't forget that the test is not the only thing the courses are using. That's just the bit before interview, where you can use all your valuable AP/other experience to knock the socks off the interviewers.

Application form vs test... At the end of the day, courses are churning out good CPs for the most part, so I don't think there's necessarily a massive impetus to change the process. Or whether or not it needs changing. We do need greater diversity, and if the tests are achieving this, that's a point in their favour.

But I can understand your frustration. I really hate it when the rules get changed with no notification or after you've made a decision based on the previous rules. It's a bugbear of mine. I'm just saying that it doesn't mean that the tests themselves are flawed as a thing.

Anyways, good luck with the tests everyone!

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ell
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Re: Staffordshire Selection Test 2018

Post by ell » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:13 am

Just a quick point. The process of recruiting trainees is in the hands of the course centres. The getting rid of funding thing is in the hands of the wider systems of education boards and health services and the government ultimately. Therefore, cutting funding is not evidence of courses not wanting diversity. Indeed, courses fight for increased places, and for maintaining funding as it is.

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