First Published: 22 June 2020
Written by Rebecca @BecomingaDr AFP Team
I’m Rebecca, a recent Southampton Medical School graduate about to start my AFP in the Wessex deanery. I am currently a module lead for Becoming a Dr’s upcoming AFP course and hope to help prospective AFP applicants to prepare a competitive application to the AFP. Applying to the AFP can be a daunting process but with the right preparation you will put yourself in the best position for a successful application!
What is included in the AFP application?
AFP applications are submitted alongside foundation programme applications, using the online application portal Oriel in October of your final year. You can apply to up to two different Academic Units of Application (AUoA), similar to a deaneries, and each application requires its own application form.
For each AFP application you can submit evidence of:
- Up to 2 additional degrees
- Up to 10 publications (do not necessarily need to have a pubmed ID like they do in normal FP, also can submit if accepted and not yet printed)
- Up to 10 presentations (oral presentations or poster presentations)
- Up to 10 prizes (where possible state the competition ie. first prize in essay competition (200 entries))
You can include distinctions and merits achieved in medical school and intercalated degrees in your ‘prizes’ section. However, those awarded during degrees undertaken prior to entering medicine will not be considered.
Don’t be put off by the upper limit of the number of presentations, posters and prizes you can input into Oriel. Many applicants will not have 10 presentations, publications, or prizes. If you have space in your application form, include everything you can think of. Gather evidence for all of your achievements while at medical school. A presentation or essay from your pre-clinical years may result in an additional point which qualifies you for shortlisting!
TOP TIP 1: Each application is treated independently on Oriel and requires you to manually input evidence. Save time by making a word document which contains all the details of all the degrees, publications, presentations and prizes you are going to include in your application – then all you need to do is copy and paste it into Oriel!
How do the AUoAs use this information?
Each unit of application receives the same information on prizes, presentations, degrees and publications, however they can choose to weigh them when choosing candidates to invite for an interview. Some may prioritise the quantity of your achievements, whereas others the quality of your achievements. For example, in some AUoAs an international presentation will be worth worth more than a national presentation, or an oral presentation worth more than a poster presentation. Similarly, some AUoAs may add all the presentations you have mentioned, while others may use the highest score of your ‘best’ presentation towards your shortlisting score.
If we put this into context, using an example of two applicants applying to the same AUoAs.
Applicant 1: 1 local poster presentation + 2 national poster presentations + 1 local oral presentation
Applicant 2: 1 international oral presentation
AUoA 1: Total score of all presentations (national/local poster 1 point, national/local oral 3 points, international oral presentation 5 points)
AUoA 2: Highest score from the ‘best’ presentation (national/local poster 1 point, national/local oral 2 points, international oral presentation 5 points)
(3 x national/local poster) + (1 x local oral)
= 6 points
1 x international oral = 5 points
In this example you can see how in AUoA 1, applicant 1 scored higher as they had a greater quantity of presentations. However, in AUoA2, applicant 2 scored higher as their presentation was valued more highly. Look at your strengths and consider how competitive you will be when applying to a particular AUoA!
TOP TIP 2: When completing your application, include the publications, presentations and prizes which will score the most points. Typically international prizes and presentations are worth more than national or local ones. Similarly publications in a high impact journal with a PUBMED ID scores higher than publications in a lower impact journal or without a PUBMED ID.
In addition to the application form as above, some AUoAs may ask additional white space questions or require you to submit a CV alongside your application. White space questions are an opportunity for you to prove why you are the best candidate for the AFP. For many AUoAs they are the deciding factor for determining which candidates to invite to interview. Therefore, it is best to start preparing your answers early (at least a month before submission if possible!), as the best answers require significant time.
What makes for a ‘good’ AFP application
A good application maximises your chances of getting an interview. No two applicants to the AFP are the same and all applications will have strengths and weaknesses. Gather evidence for every achievement you could include in your application and try to get into the habit of updating your academic CV regularly.
In later blog posts and our upcoming AFP module we will go into more detail about how to boost your application and how to decide where to apply for the AFP.
Hopefully you’ve now got a better idea of how to prepare your application to the Academic Foundation Programme. Be aware this is simply an overview! Keep your eyes peeled for more articles like this one, where we’ll be going into more depth about each aspect of the application process.
We have several exciting upcoming activities coming up to support YOU prepare for YOUR AFP applications! These include:
- The rest of our AFP blog series, covering the application process and what you can do to make a competitive application
- An online panel discussion featuring our team of AFP doctors with a Q&As on preparing for your AFP applications
- The official launch of the Becoming a doctor AFP programme, featuring an innovative series of e-modules to help you get your AFP jobs