A levels alone are a poor predictor of performance at medical school
- By: Clare Hughes
Medical schools may be picking the wrong students, who are less likely to do well in clinical medicine, by using inappropriate selection criteria, according to researchers at Nottingham University.
Traditional selection procedures considering A levels, a personal statement, and references are not the best predictors of performance at medical school, according to the study recently published in the BMJ.1
Students starting at Nottingham medical school in 1995 were followed throughout their degree training by researchers from the school of psychology. They analysed the students' A level grades, UCAS personal statements, and references, and compared them with their performance throughout the five years of medical school.
They found that A levels were a good predictor of assessment results throughout the course and that the personal statement was a significant predictor of clinical performance. However, the information in references from teachers did not consistently predict clinical performance by medical students.