Prediction of Osteopathic Medical School Performance on the Basis of MCAT Score, GPA, Sex, Undergraduate Major, and Undergraduate Institution

Donna Dixon, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 26, 2011

Accepted: February 7, 2012

Published: April 1, 2012

J Osteopath Med; 112(4): 175-181

Context: The relationships of students’ preadmission academic variables, sex, undergraduate major, and undergraduate institution to academic performance in medical school have not been thoroughly examined.

Objectives: To determine the ability of students’ preadmission academic variables to predict osteopathic medical school performance and whether students’ sex, undergraduate major, or undergraduate institution influence osteopathic medical school performance.

Methods: The study followed students who graduated from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury between 2003 and 2006. Student preadmission data were Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, undergraduate grade point averages (GPAs), sex, undergraduate major, and undergraduate institutional selectivity. Medical school performance variables were GPAs, clinical performance (ie, clinical subject examinations and clerkship evaluations), and scores on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) Level 1 and Level 2-Clinical Evaluation (CE). Data were analyzed with Pearson product moment correlation coefficients and multivariate linear regression analyses. Differences between student groups were compared with the independent-samples, 2-tailed t test.

Results: A total of 737 students were included. All preadmission academic variables, except nonscience undergraduate GPA, were statistically significant predictors of performance on COMLEX-USA Level 1, and all preadmission academic variables were statistically significant predictors of performance on COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE. The MCAT score for biological sciences had the highest correlation among all variables with COMLEX-USA Level 1 performance (Pearson r=0.304; P<.001) and Level 2-CE performance (Pearson r=0.272; P<.001). All preadmission variables were moderately correlated with the mean clinical subject examination scores. The mean clerkship evaluation score was moderately correlated with mean clinical examination results (Pearson r=0.267; P<.001) and COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE performance (Pearson r=0.301; P<.001). Clinical subject examination scores were highly correlated with COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores (Pearson r=0.817; P<.001). No statistically significant difference in medical school performance was found between students with science and nonscience undergraduate majors, nor was undergraduate institutional selectivity a factor influencing performance.

Conclusions: Students’ preadmission academic variables were predictive of osteopathic medical school performance, including GPAs, clinical performance, and COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE results. Clinical performance was predictive of COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE performance.

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