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NHS U-Turns Amid Anger Over 'Inhumane' Exam Conditions For Medical Students

Sarah Turnnidge
·2-min read
The BMA has described conditions in the exams as
The BMA has described conditions in the exams as

The NHS body responsible for training frontline workers will allow medical students to resit their exams after claims of “inhumane” conditions during a vital final year test.

Students sitting the Situational Judgement Test (SJT), which accounts for half of their entire final grade, described being forced to urinate in their seats for fear of being disqualified from the online exam, which had been outsourced to US-based company Pearson VUE by the UK Foundation Programme (UKFPO).

Other students taking the December exam were disqualified for infractions as minor as working out answers on a blank piece of paper or not wearing headphones – apparently breaking strict rules they say were not made clear.

Health Education England (HEE), which oversees the UKFPO, said on Friday it was now “working with individual applicants whose tests were discontinued and where appropriate will offer the option to re-book”.

But in emails seen by HuffPost UK, students are still barred from leaving their seat to go to the toilet during the two-hour exam and have been told the offer of a resit comes as a “gesture of goodwill”.

One final year student, based in the north-east of England, told HuffPost UK how her exam had been cut short just 10 minutes in after a landline phone left on the desk she was working at rang briefly.

The invigilator carried out a check of the room via the webcam before the exam started, the 25-year-old student said, but despite asking her to move a mousemat off of the desk, said nothing about the phone.

Despite immediately rejecting the call, the 25-year-old student was sent a message seconds later saying she had been caught using her phone and so was disqualified from the exam.

She said: “I just didn’t know what to do, and had no idea if I was going to be able to resit. The guy in the online chat said: ‘We’re disqualifying you from the exam now’, so I said: ‘OK, what happens next?’.

“He didn’t reply, just closed the chat...

Continue reading on HuffPost