Application and Selection 

The following are the draft Regulations and requirements for the 2021 intake, conducted during 2020. These are subject to change without notice. The final approved Regulations and requirements will be published here prior to November 2019.  Potential applicants are invited to submit feedback for consideration and questions relating to the draft Regulations and requirements by email to set.neurosurgery@nsa.org.au prior to 5 October 2019.

Eligibility to Apply ​

Generic Requirements

Any person wishing to applying for the Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery as part of the 2021 intake, conducted during 2020, must satisfy the generic eligibility criteria determined by the RACS which includes:

  • residency or citizenship of Australia or New Zealand at the time of registration;
  • general (unconditional) medical registration in Australia or general scope or restricted general scope registration in the relevant specialty in New Zealand;
  • successful completion of the RACS Hand Hygiene Learning Module from which is available on the Hand Hygiene Australia (applicable to Australian and New Zealand Applicants) noting no other module will be accepted;
  • successful completion of the RACS Let's Operate with Respect eModule

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 Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery must, in addition to the generic eligibility criteria determined by the RACS, satisfy the neurosurgery specific eligibility requirements which are outlined in the Regulations available for downloading below. Applicants to the Australian Pathway 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 Australia in the three years immediately prior to application;
  • have satisfactorily completed the RACS Generic Surgical Sciences Examination at the time of application.

In addition to the generic eligibility requirements for application to selection, applicants to the New Zealand Pathway must:

  • have permanent residency or citizenship of New Zealand;
  • have general scope 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;
  • have satisfactorily completed the RACS Generic Surgical Sciences Examination at the time of application.

The consideration of the applicant’s Pathway is only relevant to the selection process after the final ranking of applicants from both Pathways combined has been determined (detailed in Regulations 5.15 and 5.16).

Download the Draft Selection Regulations here

Application Process

Registration

Applicants intending to apply for selection to the Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery must register in accordance with the RACS Registration for Selection into Surgical Education and Training Policy available at www.surgeons.org. Applicants not registered cannot lodge an application for the Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery. The opening and closing dates for registration for the 2021 intake, conducted during 2020, are as follows:

    Opens Monday, 6 January 2020 at 12:00 noon AEDT Closes Monday, 3 February 2020 at 5.00pm AEDT

Registration is through the RACS website at www.surgeons.org.  The RACS charges a fee for registration as identified on their website.

Application

The application process for those registered opens in approximately March each year. During this time registered applicants who are eligible will have access to the online application form. Late applications are not considered.

After the closing date for application, the selection process for the Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery takes approximately three to four months. Following the closing date for applications the Board conducts an eligibility check against the neurosurgical eligibility criteria to ensure you meet the minimum requirements. A fee will be charged for application to the Surgical Education and Training Program in Neurosurgery. For the 2021 intake the fee will be $AUD985.

For the 2021 intake, with the selection process conducted during 2020, the dates are as follows:

    Opens Wednesday, 26 February 2020 at 12:00 noon AEDT Closes Wednesday, 25 March 2020 at 12:00 noon AEDT

Those registered will be automatically sent a link to make their application on the day applications open.  The application fee must be paid at the time the application is submitted.

Fees

Applicants must pay a registration fee and an application fee as part of the selection process.  The fees for the 2021 intake, conducted during 2020, are as follows:

    Selection Registration Fee - TBA by RACS  Selection Application Fee - $AU985 (incl GST)

The registration fee is payable to the RACS at the time of registration.  The selection application fee is payable to the NSA at the time of application for selection.  There are no refunds on these fees. Australian GST is payable only by Australian residents.

Selection Process

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%

Download the Draft Selection Regulations here

Structured Curriculum Vitae

Applicants must score a minimum of 50.00% (5.5 out of 11 points) for the Structured Curriculum Vitae to be deemed suitable for selection. This will be scored in accordance with Section 6 of the Regulations.  Applicants will receive notification of their performance in the Structure Curriculum Vitae on or prior to 8 May 2020.

Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination

Applicants must score a minimum of 70.00% (196 out of 280 marks) for the Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination to be deemed suitable for selection. This will be scored in accordance with Section 7 of the Regulations. Applicants will receive notification of their performance in the Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination on or prior to 8 May 2020.

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 provisional date for the Examination, to be conducted in Sydney, is Thursday, 16 April 2020 at 12.00pm (the date will be confirmed prior to 1 November 2019). The time shown is the local time for the venue. Applicants must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start time. There will be no separate fee charged for the Examination. This is included in the selection application fee.

The Examination venue is:
Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport
Corner of O'Riordan & Robey Streets
Mascot, New South Wales 

It is the applicant’s responsibility to make the appropriate travel arrangements and to meet any costs incurred in attending the Examination.   Applicants must make themselves available at the scheduled Examination time and venue.  Applicants who do not present for the Examination at the scheduled time and venue will not be considered further in the selection process and their application will be withdrawn. 

Download information on the examination venue and example questions (available in the near future)
Download the examination rules here (available in the near future)

Reference Report

Applicants who satisfy the above standards (detailed in Regulation 5.3 and 5.4) will be ranked according to their combined score for the Structured Curriculum Vitae and the Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination (which equates to a score out of 45 selection points). All other applicants will be deemed unsuitable and will not proceed further in the selection process. The bottom quartile of applicants ranked (applying Regulation 5.6) will be deemed unsuccessful and will not proceed further in the selection process. All other applicants will proceed to the preparation of a Reference Report.

Applicants must score a minimum of 50% (36 out of 72 points) for the Reference Report to be deemed suitable for selection. This will be scored in accordance with Section 8 of the Regulations.

The preparation of the Reference Report for each applicant will be the responsibility of two people approved by the Board Chair, with at least one being a member of the Board of Neurosurgery (the Assessors).  The Assessors together (via teleconference) will personally speak with three neurosurgical consultants with whom the applicant has worked to assist them in preparing a Reference Report.  At the time of application, all applicants will be required to list all neurosurgical consultants they have worked with. Applicants do not nominate who will be contacted for the purpose of 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 of Neurosurgery members and those neurosurgical consultants involved as Assessors in the preparation of Reference Reports.  Applicants will receive notification of their performance in the Reference Report on or prior to 1 July 2020.

Short Listing for Interview

Applicants who satisfy the above standard for the Reference Report (detailed in Regulation 5.8) 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). All other applicants will be deemed unsuitable and will not proceed further in the selection process. The top 24 ranked suitable applicants (applying Regulation 5.9) will proceed to the Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview (short listed applicants). In the event two or more applicants are ranked equally, the number of short listed applicants interviewed will be increased to accommodate those equally ranked for the 24th position.  All other applicants will be deemed unsuccessful and will not proceed further in the selection process. Applicants will receive notification of their performance in the Reference Report and short listing for the Interview on or prior to 1 July 2020.

Neurosurgery Semi-Structured Interview

For those invited to Interview, Applicants must score a minimum of 50% (8 out of 16 points) for the Interview to be deemed suitable for selection. This will be scored in accordance with Section 9 of the Regulations. All Interviews will be held in Melbourne, Australia on Friday, 24 July 2020. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make the appropriate travel arrangements and to meet any costs incurred in attending the Interview.  Applicants must make themselves available at the scheduled Interview time. Applicants who do not present for the Interview at the scheduled time may not be considered further in the selection process and their application may be withdrawn.  

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.  Applicants will rotate through four Interview panels. Each panel will ask the same designated section of the Interview.  Each panel must arrive at a consensus score for their section of the Interview using the scoring guidelines and scale shown in the Interview score sheet. 

Selection Outcome and Ranking

On completion of the Interviews applicants who satisfy the above standard (detailed in Regulation 5.12) 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). All other applicants will be deemed unsuitable and will not proceed further in the selection process. In the event two or more applicants are ranked equally, the Reference Report score will be the differentiating factor. In the event the applicants still remain equal, the Interview will be the differentiating factor. In the event the applicants still remain equal, the Neurosurgery Anatomy Examination will be the differentiating factor. In the event the applicants still remain equal, the Board of Neurosurgery will have discretion to make the final decision regarding the ranking on review of the selection documentation, applicant experience and performance.

Determination of successful applicants will be strictly in order of the overall ranking of all suitable applicants (for both Pathways combined). An applicant may only be successful if, when they are reached in the ranking, there is a position available in their Pathway (detailed in Regulations 3.3 and 3.4). All other applicants who do not rank high enough to be offered a position will be deemed unsuccessful. Applicants will receive notification of their performance and this determination on 27  July 2020.

Selection Intake

The selection intake for the Australian Pathway is expected to be up to a maximum of 11. The selection intake for the New Zealand Pathway is expected to be up to a maximum of 5.  Determination of successful applicants will be strictly in order of the overall ranking of all suitable applicants (for both Pathways combined). An applicant may only be successful if, when they are reached in the ranking, there is a position available in their Pathway (detailed in Regulations 3.3 and 3.4).  As such, once the point is reached in the ranking where there is not a position available in the applicant's Pathway for the next ranked applicant, that applicant and all other applicants ranked below  will be unsuccessful, regardless of whether there is still a vacancy in their Pathway.

The following shows data from recent selection processes.

Selection Outcome

 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

 66

55

48

54

57

60

53

48

Unsuitable/Withdrawn

 19

23

17

27

22

20

29

32

Unsuccessful

 38

25

22

16

24

30

17

8

Successful

 9

7

9

11

11

10

7

8