Medical EducationOriginal Article

Personality Types and Performance on Aptitude and Achievement Tests: Implications for Osteopathic Medical Education

Donald J. Sefcik, DO, MBA; Frank J. Prerost, PhD; and Scott E. Arbet, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 27, 2008

Accepted: September 3, 2008

Published: June 1, 2009

J Osteopath Med; 109(6): 296-301

Context: Several studies have shown that the personality types of medical and dental students affect performance on aptitude and achievement examinations. However, such studies are lacking in osteopathic medical literature.

Objectives: To determine if personality type is associated with performance on aptitude and achievement tests taken by osteopathic medical students.

Methods: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was used to determine the mental-function pairs—sensing-thinking, intuition-thinking, sensing-feeling, or intuition-feeling—of osteopathic medical students at Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Ill. Results were analyzed with participants’ scores on the Medical College Admissions Test and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) Level 1.

Results: A total of 295 osteopathic medical students completed the MBTI, but 32 (11%) were excluded because they did not meet the study criteria. Among the remaining 263 participants, no personality types were associated with high or low scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (P=.229). However, participants in the intuition-feeling group had statistically significant lower scores on COMLEX-USA Level 1 (P=.002).

Conclusions: The differences in scores obtained on COMLEX-USA Level 1 were statistically significant when students were identified by personality type. This finding suggests that using the MBTI during training could enhance learning and improve academic performance in osteopathic medical schools.

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