Medical school selection criteria and the prediction of academic performance

David Wilkinson, Jianzhen Zhang, Gerard J Byrne, Haida Luke, Ieva Z Ozolins, Malcolm H Parker and Raymond F Peterson
Med J Aust 2008; 188 (6): 349-354.


Objective: To assess how well prior academic performance, admission tests, and interviews predict academic performance in a graduate medical school.

Design, setting and participants: Analysis of academic performance of 706 students in three consecutive cohorts of the 4-year graduate-entry medical program at the University of Queensland.

Main outcome measures: Proportion of academic performance during the medical program explained by selection criteria, and correlation between selection criteria and performance. Selection criteria were grade point average (GPA), GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test) score, and interview score. Academic performance was defined as overall total in all examinations combined, in first and fourth year examinations, and in individual written, ethics and clinical components.

Results: Selection criteria explained 21.9% of variation in overall total score, falling from 28.2% in Year 1 to 17.7% in Year 4. This was highest for the written examination in Year 1 (30.5%) and lowest for the clinical examination in Year 4 (10.9%). GPA was most strongly correlated with academic performance (eg, for overall score, partial Spearman’s correlation coefficient [pSCC], 0.47; P < 0.001), followed by interviews (pSCC, 0.12; P = 0.004) and GAMSAT (pSCC, 0.07; P = 0.08). The association between GPA and performance waned from Year 1 to Year 4, while the association between interview score and performance increased from Year 1 to Year 4.

Conclusion: The school’s selection criteria only modestly predict academic performance. GPA is most strongly associated with performance, followed by interview score and GAMSAT score. The school has changed its selection process as a result.

  • David Wilkinson1
  • Jianzhen Zhang2
  • Gerard J Byrne3
  • Haida Luke4
  • Ieva Z Ozolins5
  • Malcolm H Parker6
  • Raymond F Peterson7

  • School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.


Competing interests:

None identified.

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