Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Prospective survey of performance of medical students during preclinical years.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 12 July 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:124
  1. I C McManus,
  2. P Richards


    The performance during the preclinical course of 517 students who had applied to this medical school for admission in 1981 and who had been accepted by the school or by another British medical school was analysed in relation to variables measured at the time of application to find factors that predicted success in the preclinical course, whether students chose to take an intercalated degree, and the class achieved in the intercalated degree. Thirty one of the 507 students who entered medical school withdrew from the course or failed their examinations; these students were particularly likely not to have an A level in a biological science. O level grades were of minimal predictive value for performance during the preclinical course. A level grades discriminated between successful and unsuccessful students but had too low a specificity or sensitivity to be of use in individual prediction. Mature entrants performed better overall than school leavers. Background variables accounted for only 14.2% of the variance in performance, implying that motivation and personality may be more important in determining performance. The 80 students who chose to take an intercalated degree were more likely to be men and not to be mature entrants; for a further 50 students intercalated degrees were obligatory. Performance in the intercalated degree related to performance during the preclinical course and to assessments made at the selection interview but not to achievement at O or A level.