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Original research
Does performance at medical school predict success at the Intercollegiate Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination? A retrospective cohort study
  1. Ricky Ellis1,2,
  2. Duncan S G Scrimgeour1,3,
  3. Peter A Brennan4,
  4. Amanda J Lee5,
  5. Jennifer Cleland6
  1. 1Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  2. 2Department of Urology, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Colorectal Surgery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, UK
  4. 4Department of Maxillo-Facial Surgery, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK
  5. 5Department of Medical Statistics, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  6. 6Medical Education Research and Scholarship Unit (MERSU), Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Ricky Ellis; rickyellis{at}nhs.net

Abstract

Background Identifying predictors of success in postgraduate examinations can help guide the career choices of medical students and may aid early identification of trainees requiring extra support to progress in specialty training. We assessed whether performance on the educational performance measurement (EPM) and situational judgement test (SJT) used for selection into foundation training predicted success at the Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination.

Methods This was a longitudinal, cohort study using data from the UK Medical Education Database (https://www.ukmed.ac.uk). UK medical graduates who had attempted Part A (n=2585) and Part B (n=755) of the MRCS between 2014 and 2017 were included. χ2 and independent t-tests were used to examine the relationship between medical school performance and sociodemographic factors with first-attempt success at MRCS Part A and B. Multivariate logistic regression was employed to identify independent predictors of MRCS performance.

Results The odds of passing MRCS increased by 55% for Part A (OR 1.55 (95% CI 1.48 to 1.61)) and 23% for Part B (1.23 (1.14 to 1.32)) for every additional EPM decile point gained. For every point awarded for additional degrees in the EPM, candidates were 20% more likely to pass MRCS Part A (1.20 (1.13 to 1.29)) and 17% more likely to pass Part B (1.17 (1.04 to 1.33)). For every point awarded for publications in the EPM, candidates were 14% more likely to pass MRCS Part A (1.14 (1.01 to 1.28)). SJT score was not a statistically significant independent predictor of MRCS success.

Conclusion This study has demonstrated the EPM’s independent predictive power and found that medical school performance deciles are the most significant measure of predicting later success in the MRCS. These findings can be used by medical schools, training boards and workforce planners to inform evidence-based and contemporary selection and assessment strategies.

  • medical education & training
  • surgery
  • adult surgery

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. The dataset used in this study was acquired from the UK Medical Education Database and is held in Safe Haven. Data access requests must be made to UKMED. Full information for applications can be found at https://www.ukmed.ac.uk.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. The dataset used in this study was acquired from the UK Medical Education Database and is held in Safe Haven. Data access requests must be made to UKMED. Full information for applications can be found at https://www.ukmed.ac.uk.

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @RickJEllis1, @dsgscrimgeour

  • Contributors RE and DSGS wrote the first draft of the manuscript. RE and DSGS performed statistical analyses with AJL’s supervision. RE, DSGS, PAB, AJL and JC reviewed and edited the manuscript. JC led the study proposal for access to UKMED data. All authors approved final draft of the manuscript.

  • Funding Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (award/grant number is not applicable).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.