UKCAT doesn’t predict med school performance, study shows

SCORES in the UK clinical aptitude test do not accurately predict subsequent performance at medical school, according to new research.

The UKCAT has been used to help select medical students since 2006 by testing mental ability in four different domains.

But research carried out by the University of Nottingham found that: “Whilst the test adds another dimension to the selection process, its fairness and validity in selecting promising students remains unproven, and requires wider investigation and debate by other schools.”

Researchers tracked the progress of a cohort of Nottingham students who started their medical degrees in 2007. They wanted to assess how well the UKCAT predicted student performance in the latter part of their course, which comprises largely of clinical placements.

The scores of 185 fifth year students were compared with their exam performance in the clinical phase of the course. The results found no part of the UKCAT accurately predicted clinical course marks. They did find some correlation between total UKCAT score and level of clinical knowledge and, to a lesser extent, clinical skills.

Read the study in full at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/13/32/abstract