How Different Medical School Selection Processes Call upon Different Personality Characteristics

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BACKGROUND: Research indicates that certain personality traits relate to performance in the medical profession. Yet, personality testing during selection seems ineffective. In this study, we examine the extent to which different medical school selection processes call upon desirable personality characteristics in applicants.

METHODS: 1019 of all 1055 students who entered the Dutch Bachelor of Medicine at University of Groningen, the Netherlands in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were included in this study. Students were admitted based on either top pre-university grades (n = 139), acceptance in a voluntary multifaceted selection process (n = 286), or lottery weighted for pre-university GPA. Within the lottery group, we distinguished between students who had not participated (n = 284) and students who were initially rejected (n = 310) in the voluntary selection process. Two months after admission, personality was assessed with the NEO-FFI, a measure of the five factor model of personality. We performed ANCOVA modelling with gender as a covariate to examine personality differences between the four groups.

RESULTS: The multifaceted selection group scored higher on extraversion than all other groups(p<0.01), higher on conscientiousness than both lottery-admitted groups(p<0.01), and lower on neuroticism than the lottery-admitted group that had not participated in the voluntary selection process. The latter group scored lower on conscientiousness than all other groups(p<0.05) and lower on agreeableness than the multifaceted selection group and the top pre-university group(p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Differences between the four admission groups, though statistically significant, were relatively small. Personality scores in the group admitted through the voluntary multifaceted selection process seemed most fit for the medical profession. Personality scores in the lottery-admitted group that had not participated in this process seemed least fit for the medical profession. It seems that in order to select applicants with suitable personalities, an admission process that calls upon desirable personality characteristics is beneficial.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's10
TijdschriftPLoS ONE
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - 9-mrt-2016

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