Intellectual and nonintellectual predictors of performance in medical school



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It was the purpose of this study to investigate the assumption that personality descriptions as measured by an objective personality test, the California Psychological Inventory (CPI), would be efficacious in predicting performance in medical school when differential criteria, such as performance during the academic and clinical years of medical school, and scores obtained on a relatively objective achievement test, as exemplified by the National Board examinations in medicine, were used. In addition, a comparison was made between the predictive powers of this nonintellectual test and a more traditional measure of intellectual ability, the Medical College Admissions Tests (MCAT). The subjects for this study were those individuals enrolled in the medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in the academic years 1958-59 and 1959-60. The total number of students thus enrolled was 196. Of this number, 162 completed their medical training, and constituted the final sample. With multiple correlation techniques, it was possible to develop five multiple regression equations predictive of performance in medical school. It was also concluded that the best single predictor of grade-point average in the first two, or academic, years in medical school was the Science Achievement section of the MCAT. Only one factor, the Well-being scale of the CPI, was found predictive of performance during the clinical years. The MCAT was also found to be a fairly effective predictor of performance on the National Board examinations, while the CPI was less successful in this respect. It was possible to use the results of the present study to picture the ideal medical student as a person with scientific knowledge and skill who is confident of his own abilities, but who is properly submissive to authority, while giving the impression of being an enterprising, hard worker.



Prediction of scholastic success, Medical students, California Psychological Inventory