Shortlisting procedure

Why are we using this shortlisting procedure?

All candidates with Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership and the minimum English language requirement will be invited to take part in our screening procedure. While many applicants to our programme are fortunate enough to have had access to extensive education and employment, some individuals who have significant potential and are well suited to the programme have not and may never be able to do so. As we want everyone to be assessed on a fair basis, we use a shortlisting test rather than looking at the application form which emphasises experience. Evidence also shows that application forms are a very poor predictor of job performance. Our approach means using shortlisting processes which have substantial evidence to indicate they predict performance on both the programme and in a complex job role once qualified.

Our screening process uses an online general mental ability (GMA) test. This approach is widely used, for example by other healthcare professions with graduate entry training programmes, as it is a strong predictor of performance in complex or intellectually challenging roles. The GMA test has verbal and numerical reasoning elements.

Practising the shortlisting test

Practising the tests beforehand can help ensure that all applicants, regardless of background, can demonstrate their ability.

Please visit the SHL Direct website to complete the practice tests - you only need to do the verbal and numerical tests for the Lancaster programme. SHL practice tests are only examples of the type of questions you will be given and do not indicate the difficulty level as this changes dynamically in the live test based on your responses. The live test system has some visual differences from the practice tests and includes additional support to allow for zooming and changing text/background colours (see screenshot below).

The live test will get harder as you continue to get questions correct. As a result all candidates find the test extremely challenging regardless of how well they do. Although our approach encourages a wide range of applicants, our standards for entry remain very high and require applicants to show doctoral level standards.

How the shortlisting works

Candidates will be invited to take the online GMA test at a time and place convenient to them. Candidates must complete these tests during the following window.

Shortlisting test window
Opens:     09:00 on Monday 19th February 2018
Closes:     23:59 on Monday 5th March 2018

Unfortunately it is not possible to reschedule the screening test due to any individual circumstances. However, the window to complete the test online is sufficient to allow for flexibility in when candidates choose to complete the tests. Please note that we cannot provide technical support outside of office hours. Candidates should leave sufficient time to allow for them to deal with any difficulties that may arise.

Important note on our policy on technical issues during screening: We provide all candidates with a generous window in which to complete verbal and numerical tests so as to ensure that any technical issues can be identified and resolved without causing undue anxiety and stress. We expect candidates to use the screening window to complete the tests as soon as they are able. While the programme will make every effort to help candidates who experience difficulties with the tests, leaving the completion of the tests until the end of the window puts candidates in a position where they may not be able to complete the screening. If in the opinion of the programme, a significant issue caused by the programme or their testing partner has impacted on a candidate then the programme reserves the right to review the status of their application. However, the programme will not routinely extend any deadline due to technical difficulties.

Each test (numerical and verbal reasoning) will take approximately 30 minutes to complete (including time to read instructions etc). The standard time limits for the tests are 19 minutes for the verbal test and 25 minutes for the numerical test. These will vary if you have declared a disability. The verbal reasoning test has 30 items. The numerical reasoning test has 18 items. You do not have to complete both tests at the same sitting if you prefer to have a break between them.

Achieving a threshold score in or above the 70th percentile during screening is a minimum entry requirement. Those with the top 72 scores will be invited to the selection event at Lancaster University in May, 2017. We do not use a reserve list for the selection event. The programme monitors the professional behaviour of all applicants throughout the application processes and use this information in making short listing decisions when required.

Please note that short form retesting of candidates is used by the programme to verify test scores at the selections event. Applications from candidates who cannot successfully verify their screening scores may be rejected from the admissions process.

Using the SHL system

The email from SHL is a generic email which all candidates receive althought the link in it is unique. It contains suggested overall times required. These are not your individual test time limits.

When you first use the link from the invitation email you need to register to use the system using the blue button.

Register in the SHL system

When you are logged in you will see the following screen. The overall time needed column is set by SHL and does not vary. The time allowed column will reflect your actual time allowed. If you have been given extra time, these numbers will already have been increased from the standard timings described above.

Time limits in the SHL system

Support for individuals with a disability

If you have a disability which will affect your performance on the screening test, you should contact us using the details below. Extra time is available (usually 20%) for candidates who require additional support although we will look at individual circumstances to ensure that no applicant is disadvantaged.

The test system provides a function to change the colours of the display and supports zooming using the standard browser controls (use CTRL + / -). Please note that these functions are currently NOT available on the practice tests SHL provide, only on the live test system.

How to change colours and zoom in the SHL system

Those who declare a disability and who reach the threshold score will be invited to the selection event even if their scores are not in the top 72. If you are an applicant with a disability, please contact Programme Administrator Katherine Thackeray as soon as possible stating the nature of your disability, how this may impact on your participation in the screening and selection day, and any specific support you may feel you need. Please contact Katherine via email or phone: k.thackeray@lancaster.ac.uk / 01524 592970.

Next page >> The selection event