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Logo of bmcmeduBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Medical Education
 
BMC Med Educ. 2009; 9: 5.
Published online 2009 January 21. doi:  10.1186/1472-6920-9-5
PMCID: PMC2650695

Should applicants to Nottingham University Medical School study a non-science A-level? A cohort study

Abstract

Background

It has been suggested that studying non-science subjects at A-level should be compulsory for medical students. Our admissions criteria specify only Biology, Chemistry and one or more additional subjects. This study aimed to determine whether studying a non-science subject for A-level is an independent predictor of achievement on the undergraduate medical course.

Methods

The subjects of this retrospective cohort study were 164 students from one entry-year group (October 2000), who progressed normally on the 5-year undergraduate medical course at Nottingham. Pre-admission academic and socio-demographic data and undergraduate course marks were obtained. T-test and hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were undertaken to identify independent predictors of five course outcomes at different stages throughout the course.

Results

There was no evidence that the choice of science or non-science as the third or fourth A-level subject had any influence on course performance. Demographic variables (age group, sex, and fee status) had some predictive value but ethnicity did not. Pre-clinical course performance was the strongest predictor in the clinical phases (pre-clinical Themes A&B (knowledge) predicted Clinical Knowledge, p < 0.001, and pre-clinical Themes C&D (skills) predicted Clinical Skills, p = < 0.01).

Conclusion

This study of one year group at Nottingham Medical School provided no evidence that the admissions policy on A-level requirements should specify the choice of third or fourth subject.


Articles from BMC Medical Education are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central