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Med Teach. 2009 Dec;31(12):1066-72. doi: 10.3109/01421590903095510.

A comprehensive model for the selection of medical students.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.



Medical schools have a need to select their students from an excess of applicants. Selection procedures have evolved piecemeal: Academic thresholds have risen, written tests have been incorporated and interview protocols are developed.


To develop and offer for critical review and, ultimately, present for adoption by medical schools, an evidence-based and defensible model for medical student selection.


We have described here a comprehensive model for selecting medical students which is grounded on the theoretical and empirical selection and assessment literature, and has been shaped by our own research and experience.


The model includes the following selection criteria: Informed self-selection, academic achievement, general cognitive ability (GCA) and aspects of personality and interpersonal skills. A psychometrically robust procedure by which cognitive and non-cognitive test scores can be used to make selection decisions is described. Using de-identified data (n = 1000) from actual selection procedures, we demonstrate how the model and the procedure can be used in practice.


The model presented is based on a currently best-practice approach and uses measures and methods that maximise the probability of making accurate, fair and defensible selection decisions.

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