The relevance of Prior Academic Background s and Demographics in Student Performance on a Graduate Entry to Medicine Programme

Last, J. and Lynch, C. (2013) The relevance of Prior Academic Background s and Demographics in Student Performance on a Graduate Entry to Medicine Programme. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


AIM AND OBJECTIVES The Graduate entry to Medicine programme accepts students from a diverse range of educational Background s. The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive values of educational Background including previous tertiary education, admissions test scores (MCAT and GAMSAT), entry cohort (EU versus Non-EU), age and gender on performance of students in graduate entry to medicine programmes. Specifically, we examined the type of degree (i.e. type of science versus non-science) and final degree GPA. METHOD Quantitative data was collated for all students admitted to the Graduate Entry to Medicine programme from 2008 to 2011 (n=263). Relationships between entry criteria (MCAT/GAMSAT points, primary degree Background ) and outcome measures (Year and Degree GPA) were analysed. Students were grouped into seven categories based on their primary degrees: Behavioural Science, Biomedical Science, Health Science, Non Science, Other Science and Physical Science, Pre-medical year only. FINDINGS Almost two thirds of the sample (62.3%) had undertaken the GAMSAT exam with the remaining 38.7% of students presenting with MCAT scores. Over one third (36%) of all entrants presented with a biomedical science Background and 16% had undertaken degrees from a non-scientific discipline. There was no consistent performance differential between MCAT and GAMSAT students, with the exception of Year Three (p£0.001). Whilst, there was a weak relationship between GAMSAT scores and programme performance with (r values ranging from 0.083 to 0.280, p values from .011 to .621), MCAT scores were found to have a negative correlation with performance (r values ranging from -0.491 to 0.219, p values from .075 to .607). There was no statistically significant difference between the seven pre-defined groups. However, students from a non-scientific or physical science Background were amongst the weakest performers in the first three years of the programme. This performance differential was not evident for the final degree GPA. Age and gender were at no point predictive of performance. CONCLUSION There is no evidence to support the claim that students from a scientific Background will better succeed in a medical programme, which clearly indicates that success is attributed to non-cognitive variables such as personality characteristics, social-emotional intelligence or motivation.

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