Does undergraduate performance in medical sciences predict overall performance in the first year medical school examinations?
Background: In a traditional medical programme prior academic performance is a good indicator for success. We aimed to determine whether performance in year one correlated with undergraduate performance in Medical Science in our integrated curriculum. Summary of work: Prior performance in anatomy, biochemistry and physiology was accessed for students who had attended the University of Wollongong for their undergraduate studies. Performance was correlated with examination results achieved in year 1. Summary of results: Seventy six students enrolled in Medicine (2007-2010), had completed their undergraduate degree at UOW taking subjects in anatomy (n=63), biochemistry (n=69) or physiology (n=69). Prior performance in each discipline significantly correlated (P<0.0001) with overall performance in a year 1 integratedexamination (r2=0.33-anatomy, 0.21-biochemistry, 0.38- physiology). Current and prior performance was significantly correlated within each discipline, however, physiology (r2=0.31, P<0.0001) correlated more strongly than anatomy (r2=0.07, P=0.04) or biochemistry (r2=0.08, P=0.017). Conclusions: Undergraduate performance in medical sciences correlated with academic performance in year 1. Undergraduate performance in physiology had the strongest correlation, suggesting that learning in physiology was able to prepare students for learning in an integrated curriculum. Take-home messages: Prior academic performance in medical science can be predictors of student performance in first year medical exams.