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BMC Med Educ. 2018 Nov 6;18(1):250. doi: 10.1186/s12909-018-1355-3.

Impact of accelerated, graduate-entry medicine courses: a comparison of profile, success, and specialty destination between graduate entrants to accelerated or standard medicine courses in UK.

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Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Royal Derby Hospital, Uttoxeter Road, Derby, DE22 3DT, UK.
Research Department for Medical Education, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.



Little research has compared the profile, success, or specialty destinations of graduates entering UK medical schools via accelerated, 4-yr, standard 5-yr and 6-yr programmes. Four research questions directed this investigation:- What are the success rates for graduates entering graduate-entry vs. undergraduate medicine courses? How does the sociodemographic and educational profile differ between these two groups? Is success - in medical school and foundation training - dependent on prior degree, demographic factors, or aptitude test performance at selection? What specialty do graduate entry medicine students subsequently enter?


The data from two cohorts of graduates entering medical school in 2007 and 2008 (n = 2761) in the UKMED (UK Medical Education Database) database were studied: 1445 taking 4-yr and 1150 taking 5-yr medicine courses, with smaller numbers following other programmes.


Completion rates for degree programmes were high at 95%, with no significant difference between programme types. 4-yr entrants were older, less likely to be from Asian communities, had lower HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) tariff scores, but higher UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test) and GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test) scores, than 5-yr entrants. Higher GAMSAT scores, black or minority ethnicity (BME), and younger age were independent predictors of successful completion of medical school. Foundation Programme (FPAS) selection measures (EPM - educational performance measure; SJT - situational judgment test) were positively associated with female sex, but negatively with black or minority ethnicity. Higher aptitude test scores were associated with EPM and SJT, GAMSAT with EPM, UKCAT with SJT. Prior degree subject, class of degree, HESA tariff, and type of medicine programme were not related to success.


The type of medicine programme has little effect on graduate entrant completion, or EPM or SJT scores, despite differences in student profile. Aptitude test score has some predictive validity, as do sex, age and BME, but not prior degree subject or class. Further research is needed to disentangle the influences of BME.


4 year vs 5 year courses; ARCP; Completion; Demographics; GAMSAT; Graduate entrants; Outcome measures; Speciality choice; UKCAT; UKMED; Undergraduate medical courses; Validity

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