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A levels and intelligence as predictors of medical careers in UK doctors: 20 year prospective study

McManus, IC; Smithers, E; Partridge, P; Keeling, A; Fleming, PR; (2003) A levels and intelligence as predictors of medical careers in UK doctors: 20 year prospective study. BRIT MED J , 327 (7407) 139 - 142. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective To assess whether A level grades (achievement) and intelligence (ability) predict doctors' careers.Design Prospective cohort study with follow up after 20 years by postal questionnaire.Setting A UK medical school in London.Participants 511 doctors who had entered Westminster Medical School as clinical students between 1975 and 1982 were followed up in January 2002.Main outcome measures Time taken to reach different career grades in hospital or general practice, postgraduate qualifications obtained (mernbership/fellowships, diplomas, higher academic degrees), number of research publications, and measures of stress mid burnout related to A level grades and intelligence (result of AH5 intelligence test) at entry to clinical school. General health questionnaire, Maslach burnout inventory, and questionnaire on satisfaction with career at follow up.Results 47 (9%) doctors were no longer on the Medical Register. They had lower A level grades than those who were still on the register (P < 0.001). A levels also predicted performance in undergraduate training, performance in postregistration house officer posts, and time to achieve membership qualifications (Cox regression, P < 0.001; b = 0.376, SE = 0.098, exp(b) = 1.457). Intelligence did not independently predict dropping off the register, career outcome, or other measures. A levels did not predict diploma or higher academic qualifications, research publications, or stress or burnout. Diplomas, higher academic degrees, and research publications did, however, significantly correlate with personality measures.Conclusions Results of achievement tests, in this case A level grades, which are particularly used for selection of students in the United Kingdom, have long term predictive validity for undergraduate and postgraduate careers. In contrast, a test of ability or aptitude (AH5) was of little predictive validity for subsequent medical careers.

Type: Article
Title: A levels and intelligence as predictors of medical careers in UK doctors: 20 year prospective study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Keywords: PERFORMANCE, STUDENTS, UNHAPPY
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/11772
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