Selection of students for admission to a medical school in Sri Lanka.

  • de Silva N
  • Pathmeswaran A
  • de Silva H
ISSN: 0009-0875
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OBJECTIVES To assess the extent to which selected entry point factors predicted success in a Sri Lankan medical school. METHODS The study sample consisted of all students in two consecutive entry cohorts. Marks obtained at the national university entrance examination in physics, chemistry, botany and zoology; the aggregate marks of these four subjects (the only academic criterion used in selection); the district of entry (the other, non-academic criterion); and gender, were identified as entry point variables. Success in a medical school was measured in five ways, including whether a student had passed all examinations in the medical faculty at first attempt or not. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the extent to which the selected entry point factors could predict variability in outcome measures. RESULTS Of 331 students, 6.6% were merit quota admissions, and 19.4% were from 'underprivileged' districts; 46.8% were women. Of the entry point factors, being female and obtaining an aggregate of > or =280 (of a possible 400) were the only independent predictors of success in all outcome measures. Obtaining at least grade B in zoology was also an independent predictor of passing all examinations at first attempt. The aggregate score alone accounted for only 2-5% of variance in a medical school performance. There was no association between admission from an underprivileged district and any of the outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS The one and only measure of academic performance used for selection of students admitted to our medical schools, is a very weak predictor of success in a medical school.




de Silva, N. R., Pathmeswaran, A., & de Silva, H. J. (2004). Selection of students for admission to a medical school in Sri Lanka. The Ceylon Medical Journal, 49(3), 81–5. Retrieved from

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