The Association Between Premedical Curricular and Admission Requirements and Medical School Performance and Residency Placement: A Study of Two Admission Routes

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Abstract

Purpose

The curricular elements of undergraduate premedical education are the subject of an ongoing debate. The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (AMS) matriculates students via the traditional premedical route (TPM) and an eight-year baccalaureate/MD program—the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME)—which provides students with a broad and liberal education. Using the juxtaposition of these two admission routes, the authors aimed to determine whether there is an association between highly distinct premedical curricular and admission requirements and medical school performance and residency placement.

Method

The cohorts studied included all of the PLME (n = 295) and TPM (n = 215) students who graduated from the AMS between 2010 and 2015. Outcome variables consisted of multiple measures of medical school performance, including standardized multiple-choice examination scores and honors grades, and residency placement. The authors employed unadjusted tests of averages and proportions (independent t tests and chi-square tests) to compare variables.

Results

The TPM students attained marginally, but statistically significantly, higher average scores on standardized multiple-choice examinations than their PLME counterparts. The number of undergraduate premedical science courses completed by PLME students accounted for less than 4% of the variance in key metrics of medical school performance. The residency placement record of the PLME and TPM cohorts proved comparable.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that the association between medical school performance and residency placement and undergraduate premedical curricular and admission requirements is weak. Further study is needed to determine the optimal premedical preparation of students.

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