• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of bmjcredLink to Publisher's site
Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). Jul 12, 1986; 293(6539): 124–127.
PMCID: PMC1340851

Prospective survey of performance of medical students during preclinical years.


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.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (851K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • McManus IC, Richards P. Audit of admission to medical school: I--Acceptances and rejects. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984 Nov 3;289(6453):1201–1204. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McManus IC, Richards P. Audit of admission to medical school: II--Shortlisting and interviews. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984 Nov 10;289(6454):1288–1290. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McManus IC, Richards P. Audit of admission to medical school: III--applicants' perceptions and proposals for change. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984 Nov 17;289(6455):1365–1367. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McManus IC, Richards P. Admission to medical school. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985 Jan 26;290(6464):319–320. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wakeford R, Roberts S. Thirty years on: examination performance and career success of the 1950-1 intake of Cambridge medical students. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983 Jun 4;286(6380):1796–1798. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tomilson RW, Clack GB, Pettingale KW, Anderson J, Ryan KC. The relative role of "A" level chemistry, physics and biology in the medical course. Med Educ. 1977 Mar;11(2):103–108. [PubMed]
  • McManus IC. A-level grades and medical school admission. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982 May 29;284(6329):1654–1656. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mawhinney BS. The value of ordinary and advanced level British school-leaving examination results in predicting medical students' academic performance. Med Educ. 1976 Mar;10(2):87–89. [PubMed]
  • Bagg DG. A-levels and university performance. Nature. 1970 Mar 21;225(5238):1105–1108. [PubMed]

Articles from British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed.) are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC


  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...