SET Selection FAQs

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From medical students
From current SET trainees
From Internationally Trained Medical Graduates (IMGs)
Registering intention to apply to SET
Questions about payments

From medical students

  • Q: How many times can I apply to SET?

A: There is no limit to the number of applications you may make to SET.

Unsuccessful applicants will be advised about their applications, with strong career advice being given to any applicant who has made three unsuccessful applications to the same specialty.

  • Q: Can I apply as soon as I've finished my medical degree?

A: The earliest you may apply to SET is when you are in PGY2.

  • Q: How many specialties can I apply to?

A: You may apply to all nine surgical specialties if you wish.

  • Q: If I've already done an ED and/or ICU rotation as an intern will I have to repeat these?

A: See the specialty-specific selection requirements for the specialty or specialties that you are interested in. Some specialties have a restriction regarding the currency of your clinical experiences; usually this is within the last two to five years.

  • Q: When will selection occur?

A: There are common application dates for all surgical specialties in Australia and New Zealand.

Stage 1. Registration of intention to apply, opens in January and closes in February.

Stage 2. Application opens in March and closes in April.

Selection for all specialties will be completed by mid July. Successful applicants must accept offers within 10 days of the offer.

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  • Q: What is the earliest time I can sit the early SET exams? How long will the exam results be valid, if I pass them?

A: The 'early' SET exams include a generic MCQ format Surgical Sciences Exam (SSE), a specialty-specific Surgical Sciences Exam and a clinical (OSCE) exam. These exams are held in February and June each year. SET trainees are eligible to sit these exams once they have been selected into SET. From 2014, limited places will be available in the Generic Surgical Sciences Exam (Generic SSE) for non-SET trainees.  See Preparing for SET for updates on this

The Generic Surgical Sciences Exam and Clinical Exam results do not have a 'lifetime'. Surgical trainees who have satisfied these Exam requirements will not be required to repeat them if they change specialties, however trainees who change specialties may be required to do an additional, specialty-specific exam.

  • Q: What are the eligibility criteria for applying to SET?

A: There are two types of eligibility criteria -- generic and specialty-specific -- which applicants must satisfy in order to proceed with their applications.

The generic eligibility criteria apply to all surgical specialties.
Applicants must:

1. have permanent residency or citizenship status of Australia or New Zealand
2. General (unconditional) registration in Australia or General scope or restricted general scope registration in the relevant specialtyin New Zealand.
3. Completion of Hand Hygiene Australia's Hand Hygiene module

Applicants must also consent to a full criminal history check including submission of relevant documentation on request to enable this to be undertaken. All generic eligibility requirements must be completed prior to the closing of registration in the year of application,

Detailed specialty-specific eligibility criteria are published on the College website.

  • Q: When do I have to complete the eligibility criteria?

A: All generic eligibility requirements must be completed before registration closes.

Specialty-specific eligibility requirements: Applicants must be able to demonstrate at the time of submitting their application that they meet the eligibility requirements defined by the specialty. Some specialties allow applicants to complete some eligibility requirements before the start of the next training year, however, if a selected applicant does not fulfil those requirements before the start of the next training year the offer will be withdrawn.

Unless stated otherwise, an acceptable clinical rotation is a post-graduate experience with a minimum duration of 8 weeks, which has been under the supervision of an appropriately qualified clinician (surgeon, physician, anaesthetist or intensivist, depending on the type of term). A Critical Care experience is defined as ICU, HDU, or similar high intensity clinical area training environments, including, by way of example, cardiothoracic; burns units; spinal units; vascular units; and busy acute general surgery units.

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  • Q: Can I apply to SET in Australia and New Zealand?

A: Applicants to specialties which conduct separate selection application processes in Australia and New Zealand, may only apply for selection in one country, not both. Applicants must nominate which country they are applying to at the time of application.

  • Q: What are the pre-requisites for the specialties?

A: As well as generic eligibility requirements many specialties have specialty-specific requirements. Specialty-specific requirements are available on the College website in Selection requirements.

  • Q: I've got a specialty /ICU/ED rotation scheduled for later in the year. Am I eligible to apply to SET this year?

A: That depends upon the eligibility requirements of the specialty to which you are applying.

  • Q: Will I have to resit the SSE (MCQ) exam in SET if I did it in BST?

A: Trainees who completed BST will need to complete all examinations specified by the relevant specialty.  Exemption can no longer be claimed for the Basic Surgical Exams (BSE).

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Current SET Trainees

  • Q: Can I apply to other specialties?

A: Yes.
There is no limit to the number of specialties that you may apply to in SET. Please note that if you intend to apply to other specialties you will need to register this intention during the registration period. You will also be required to meet all relevant specialty-specific eligibility requirements.

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From International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

  • Q: How do I get into the SET program if i am a foreign trained candidate? What do I need to do to be eligible to apply for advanced training?

A: There are two types of eligibility criteria -- generic and specialty-specific -- which applicants must satisfy in order to proceed with their applications.

The generic eligibility criteria apply to all surgical specialties.
Applicants must:

1. have permanent residency or citizenship status of Australia or New Zealand
2. General (unconditional) registration in Australia or General scope or restricted general scope registration in the relevant specialtyin New Zealand.

Applicants must also consent to a full criminal history check including submission of relevant documentation on request to enable this to be undertaken. All generic eligibility requirements must be completed prior to the closing of registration in the year of application,

Detailed specialty-specific eligibility criteria are published on the College website.

  • Q: Do I have to have my AMC registration (full unconditional registration to practise in Australia or general scope registration to practise in New Zealand) before I can apply to SET?

A: Yes.

  • Q: Can I apply to SET while I'm waiting for confirmation from the AMC?

A: No.

  • Q: I am an overseas trained doctor and completed my *BST equivalent* in 2005. Since then I have done 18 months of SHO training posts in *Specialty* Surgery. I am planning on living in Australia and am looking towards applying for Specialist Surgical Training. Under the new SET program, am I eligible to apply for SET2?

A: If you satisfy all of the relevant eligibility criteria, you may apply to SET. Selection to SET is a competitive process. A detailed list of the eligibility requirements for each specialty has been published on the College website.
If you are selected into SET, the board of the specialty into which you are selected will take into consideration your prior learning.

  • Q: I am an overseas trained doctor. Could you let me know what I should do to apply for surgical training in Australia?

A: You must meet all of the eligibility criteria including unconditional registration to practise in Australia or general scope registration to practise in New Zealand. Applicants must also have Permanent Residency status or hold citizenship.
To gain unconditional registration in Australia you must apply to the Australian Medical Council (AMC). You can find information about AMC requirements on their website.

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Registering intention to apply to SET

  • Q: Is the fee refundable if my application is unsuccessful?

A: The registration fee is levied to cover the cost of the registration process. There will be no refunds.

  • Q: How do I know if I am a 'current user' or a 'new user' when I'm registering for SET?

A: If you have attended meetings or courses at the College, then it is most likely that we will have a record of you in our system. You should select 'current user' and either enter your username and password, or select 'I have forgotten my password' which will alert us to contact you with a username and password.
If you have no affiliation with the College at present and wish to register your intention to apply to SET, select 'new user' and you will receive a username and password.

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Questions about payment

  • Q: Is the fee refundable if I am unsuccessful in my application?

A: The registration fee is levied to cover the cost of the registration process. There will be no refunds.

  • Q: I do not have a credit card/my credit card has no available funds, what should I do?

A: If you have already registered with payment pending, you will need to obtain a credit card for payment.

If payment is not received within 10 days of your registration, your registration record will be deleted. Once your financial situation is more positive, please attempt to register and pay again.

Please note that a credit card is the only payment method accepted for online registration. Your registration payment must be made before the registration period closes or your registration will be cancelled.

  • Q: When must I pay the registration fee?

A: You must pay the registration fee at the time of registration. No extensions will be granted.

  • Q. Why do you charge a registration fee and an application fee? What's the difference between them?

A: The fees support administrative aspects of the selection process.

The registration fee is a single fee to cover the costs of verifying applicants' registration details (medical registration, residency status).

The application fee funds the application assessment procedures including processing applications, collecting referee reports, running interviews and scoring applications.
You pay application fees for all the applications you make, i.e. for every specialty you apply to.

  • Q: Do I have to pay extra if I apply to more than one specialty?

A: You pay a single registration fee when you register, then you pay an application fee for each specialty you apply to. Some specialties also charge an additional processing fee; check specialty societies' websites for information on this.

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