Age and gender differences in students' preadmission qualifications and medical school performances

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PURPOSE. To investigate the age- and gender-related differences in matriculants' preadmission performances and in their subsequent medical school performances. METHOD. A longitudinal database was used to provide information on the 557 students in six entering classes (1984–1989) at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. The preadmission variables were undergraduate science and cumulative grade-point averages (GPAs), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, and interview ratings. The medical school variables were GPAs for the four years of school and scores on the National Board of Medical Examiners Part I and Part II examinations. Age- and gender-related differences were analyzed by analyses of variance. To examine age differences, the students were grouped by age at matriculation: less than 23 years old, between 23 and 27, and 28 or older. RESULTS. The younger matriculants had significantly higher undergraduate GPAs than did their older peers; however, their performances on the MCAT were nearly identical. The men had higher MCAT scores than the women in all age groups, but the older women had higher undergraduate GPAs than the older men. The younger students tended to have slightly higher medical school GPAs than the older students. No age differences were found for the NBME I and II, and no gender difference was found for the NBME II; however, a modest gender difference was found for the NBME I, with the men performing better than the women. CONCLUSION. Dramatic age and gender differences were evident in the preadmission performances, while the differences in the medical school performances were much smaller.

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