Management Viva: Format of the examination

Management viva: The format of the examination


  • 35 minutes in total
  • 5 minutes to read in-tray documents alone
  • 15 minutes to talk about in-trays
  • 15 minutes to talk about long case

In-tray documents may include:

  • Diary of the day including meetings, teaching session etc
  • Departmental information
  • Staffing levels and problems
  • Issues in the department
  • Letter/emails from other departments or agency
  • Letters, memos, complaints, thank-you letters
  • Flyers

General approach:

  • Check the department to make sure it is safe
  • Check staffing level
  • Address any current patient safety issue first
  • Look at the overview of the diary commitments, and see if there is any immediate changes needed
  • Briefly discuss your prioritisation
  • Identify item(s) that you wish to spend some time on
  • Quickly deal with small items

The first 5 minutes, you will be left alone to read the in-trays.

  • Read everything and prioritise (use the table below)
  • You are allow to use post-it notes
  • Put in-tray document in order, according to the order of importance and most urgent
Time critical & important Time critical, not important
Important, not time critical Not time critical or important

The next 15 minutes:

  • Talk about the most urgent and important document first
  • Talk about each of them in order of importance and urgency
  • Be decisive, without being didactic or argumentative
  • Briefly justify your decision
  • Engage the examiners
  • Use common sense
  • Be safe, considered and appropriate
  • Link to the diary, if possible
  • Delegate, where possible and reasonable, to other team members such as consultant colleague or SPR
  • If you are moved on, move on to the next document. The examiners are responsible for time keeping

The last 15 minutes:

  • You will be given a long case (letter, email, memo etc)
  • You are allowed to read it and when you are ready, they will start to ask questions (so if you lift your head from reading the document, they will start asking questions)
  • Same framework as previously
  • More depth and complex issue
  • Spread responsibility to CD, MD, HR etc
  • Seek help i.e trust lawyers, MPS/MDU, HR, CD or MD
  • Delegate safely and appropriately, and follow up
  • Use guidelines and protocol
  • SWOT analysis
  • Think about current and future implications

Edited by Dr T Hassan