Application and Selection 

 

Selection Regulations for the 2022 Intake, conducted during 2021

The Selection Regulations for the 2022 intake, conducted during 2021 are now available for downloading.

These Regulations are applicable for the 2022 intake conducted during 2021 only.  These Regulations may be changed from year to year and cannot be relied on for the intakes conducted in future years for the Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery (SET Program).  Any regulations for the SET Program from any previous years are not applicable and cannot be relied on for meeting the SET Program requirements for the 2022 intake unless specifically stated in the Regulations.     

Download the Selection Regulations here

Eligibility to Apply for the 2022 Intake

Generic Requirements

Any person wishing to apply for the SET Program must satisfy the generic eligibility criteria determined by the RACS. All generic eligibility requirements must be satisfied at the time of registration. At the time of registration applicants must consent to a full criminal history check including submission of relevant documentation on request to enable this to be undertaken. Please refer to the RACS website at www.surgeons.org for more detailed information regarding the generic eligibility requirements.

Neurosurgery Specific Requirements

Any person wishing to applying for the SET Program must, in addition to the generic eligibility criteria determined by the RACS, satisfy the neurosurgery specific eligibility requirements which are outlined in the Regulations.

At the time of application, applicants must nominate a Home Region where, if selected, they will ordinarily spend the majority of their SET Program. The nominated Home Region cannot be changed in future selection applications unless a written request is made to the Board Chair prior to the closing date for applications and approved at the Board Chair’s discretion on the grounds of exceptional circumstances. The Home Regions available are as follows:

  • New Zealand
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory 
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

In addition to the generic eligibility requirements for application to selection, applicants with a Home Region in Australia must at the time of application:

  • have permanent residency or citizenship of Australia;
  • have general (unconditional) registration in Australia;
  • have completed a minimum 24 weeks’ full‐time equivalent dedicated neurosurgical experience in their Home Region in the three years immediately prior to application.

In addition to the generic eligibility requirements for application to selection, applicants with a Home Region of New Zealand must:

  • have permanent residency or citizenship of New Zealand;
  • have general scope registration or restricted general scope registration in neurosurgery in New Zealand;
  • have completed a minimum 24 weeks’ full‐time equivalent dedicated neurosurgical experience in New Zealand in the three years immediately prior to application.

In addition to the generic eligibility requirements, applicants must have satisfactorily completed the RACS Generic Surgical Sciences Examination at the time of application.

If you have any questions regarding the criteria please contact us at set.neurosurgery@nsa.org.au.

Maximum Number of Selection Applications

All applicants will be allowed a maximum of four attempts at selection into the SET Program in Neurosurgery. The number of attempts will be counted starting from the 2022 intake onwards.  Any prior applications will not be counted in the maximum attempts. 

Application Process for 2022 Intake

Registration

Applicants intending to apply for selection to the SET Program must register in accordance with the RACS Registration for Selection into Surgical Education and Training Policy. Applicants not registered cannot lodge an application for the SET Program.  Registration is through the RACS website at www.surgeons.org.  The RACS charges a fee for registration as identified on their website.

The registration opening and closing date will be published here in the near future. These are strictly enforced by the RACS.

Application

Applications can only be submitted by registered applicants using the neurosurgery online application form. Applications must be submitted prior to the advertised closing date for applications. No other form of application will be accepted. 

Applicants must pay a selection application fee of $AUD985 prior to the advertised closing date for applications to be considered for selection. This fee is non-refundable and is inclusive of the examination fee. Failure to pay the selection application fee by the communicated due will result in the application being withdrawn.

The application opening and closing date will be published here in the near future. These are strictly enforced.

Selection Process for 2022 Intake

Overview

The selection process uses four selection tools, each contributing the following weightings to the overall selection score out of 100:

  • Structured Curriculum Vitae 15%
  • Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination 30%
  • Reference Report 30%
  • Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview 25%

Structured Curriculum Vitae

Applicants must score a minimum of 50.00% (5 out of 10 points) for the Structured Curriculum Vitae to be deemed suitable for selection. This will be scored in accordance with Section 6 noting that there have been changes to the previous year.

Please refer to the Selection Regulations for details on the scoring process. Please note, the scoring of presentations has been removed for the 2022 intake only to address COVID-19 disruptions. The scoring of presentations will be reintroduced in the 2023 intake.

Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination

Applicants must score a minimum of 70.00% (196 out of 280 marks) for the Examination to be deemed suitable for selection. This will be scored in accordance with Section 7 of the Regulations.

The Examination will be a single paper with 70 multiple choice neurosurgery anatomy questions and scored out of a total of 280 marks. The Examination will run for 100 minutes.  The recommended reading is Last's Anatomy, Regional and Applied, 9th Edition, 1998 (reprinted 2003) – McMinn R.M.H., Churchill Livingstone.  

The Examination is provisionally scheduled for Thursday, 15 April 2021 in the following locations:

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Sydney, New South Wales
  • Brisbane, Queensland
  • Melbourne, Victoria
  • Perth, Western Australia

Further details will be available here in February 2021.

Reference Report

Applicants who satisfy the standards for the Structured Curriculum Vitae and the Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination will be ranked.  The top 34 ranked applicants will be shortlisted for the Reference Report. All other applicants will be deemed unsuccessful and will not proceed further in the selection process.

The Board Assessors select the neurosurgical consultants to be contacted as part of the Reference Report process. In selecting the neurosurgical consultants to obtain information from to assist in preparing the Reference Report, the Assessors may contact any neurosurgical consultant the applicant has worked with in Australia, New Zealand or Singapore in the three years prior to application, except current Board members and those neurosurgical consultants involved as Assessors in the preparation of Reference Reports.

Applicants must score a minimum of 70% (50.4 out of 72 points) for the Reference Report to be deemed suitable for selection. This will be scored in accordance with Section 8.

Short Listing for Interview

Applicants who satisfy the standard for the Reference Report will be ranked according to their combined score for the Structured Curriculum Vitae, Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination and Reference Report (which equates to a score out of 75 selection points).

A total of 24 applicants will then be shortlisted for the Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview (shortlisted applicants). The Interview shortlisted spots will be allocated as follows:

  • the top ranked applicant from each Undersubscribed Home Region (if any); and the
  • the remaining in order of the overall ranking.

Undersubscribed is a region identified by the Board where the total number of existing trainees which identify that region as their Home Region is less than the total number of posts accredited in that Home Region, or there are no posts accredited in that Home Region. The Undersubscribed Home Regions will be determined as of the closing date for applications.

It is anticipated that in 2021 there will be a maximum of 5 Undersubscribed regions. He Undersubscribed regions will be determined as of the closing date for selection applications and will be listed here after that date.

Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview

Shortlisted applicants will be advised in writing of their Interview date and time at least two weeks prior.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to make the appropriate arrangements and to meet any costs incurred in participating in the Interview.  It is anticipated the Interviews will be held during June or July 2021.

Each Interview will be approximately one hour in duration and consist of four scenario and experience-based sections, each with multiple questions designed to assess the suitability of the applicant. 

Shortlisted applicants must score a minimum of 50% (8 out of 16 points) for the Interview to be deemed suitable for selection. The Interview will be scored in accordance with Section 9.

Offers

Applicants who satisfy the standard for the Interview will be ranked according to their combined score for the Structured Curriculum Vitae, Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination, Reference Report and Interview (which equates to a score out of 100 selection points).

Offers for selection will be made applying the following process:

  • the top ranked applicant from each Undersubscribed Home Region (if any); and
  • the remaining in order of the overall ranking.

The excepted number of offers to be made will be expected to be between 8 – 12.

Selection Intake

The following shows data from recent selection processes.

 

Selection Outcome

 2021 Intake (during 2020)  2020 Intake (during 2019)

2019 Intake (during 2018)

2018 Intake
(during 2017)

2017 Intake
(during 2016)

2016 Intake
(during 2015)

2015 Intake
(during 2014)

2014 Intake (during 2013)

2013 Intake (during 2012)

Applications

 65  66

55

49

55

57

60

53

48

Unsuitable/Withdrawn

22  19

23

18

22

18

20

29

32

Unsuccessful

 31  37

25

22

22

28

30

17

8

Successful

12   10

7

9

11

11

10

7

8