Selecting medical students: we need to assess more than academic excellence

Paul Garrud
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (5): 202-203. || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01224
Published online: 12 March 2018

Medical schools require selection processes that reflect the type of doctor they aim to produce

Selection for medical school is based on the applicant’s academic record, aptitude testing, and assessment of their personal attributes. The indicator of subsequent performance best supported by evidence is prior academic attainment,1,2 with the evidence coming mostly from exam performance at medical school and in postgraduate specialties. Rationales for employing further selection criteria have included alignment with professional body guidance,3 better discrimination between equally qualified applicants, and recognition that becoming a good doctor requires qualities beyond academic excellence.4 In light of current practice, which selection criteria are necessary (ie, provide a minimum required threshold) and which may be sufficient, singly or in combination, for selecting medical students?

  • Paul Garrud

  • University of Nottingham, Derby, United Kingdom

Competing interests:

Paul Garrud chairs the Medical Schools Council Selection Alliance (United Kingdom). The views expressed in this editorial are personal and do not represent any formal position or policy of Medical Schools Council.


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