Download PDFPDF

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
Compose Response

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Author Information
First or given name, e.g. 'Peter'.
Your last, or family, name, e.g. 'MacMoody'.
Your email address, e.g.
Your role and/or occupation, e.g. 'Orthopedic Surgeon'.
Your organization or institution (if applicable), e.g. 'Royal Free Hospital'.
Statement of Competing Interests


  • A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in a BMJ journal; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed unless it is also republished as a Letter, Correspondence or as other content. Find out more about rapid responses.
  • We intend to post all responses which are approved by the Editor, within 14 days (BMJ Journals) or 24 hours (The BMJ), however timeframes cannot be guaranteed. Responses must comply with our requirements and should contribute substantially to the topic, but it is at our absolute discretion whether we publish a response, and we reserve the right to edit or remove responses before and after publication and also republish some or all in other BMJ publications, including third party local editions in other countries and languages
  • Our requirements are stated in our rapid response terms and conditions and must be read. These include ensuring that: i) you do not include any illustrative content including tables and graphs, ii) you do not include any information that includes specifics about any patients,iii) you do not include any original data, unless it has already been published in a peer reviewed journal and you have included a reference, iv) your response is lawful, not defamatory, original and accurate, v) you declare any competing interests, vi) you understand that your name and other personal details set out in our rapid response terms and conditions will be published with any responses we publish and vii) you understand that once a response is published, we may continue to publish your response and/or edit or remove it in the future.
  • By submitting this rapid response you are agreeing to our terms and conditions for rapid responses and understand that your personal data will be processed in accordance with those terms and our privacy notice.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Vertical Tabs

Other responses

Jump to comment:

  • Published on:
    Strengthening the Validity of Educational Performance Measurement Scores to Predict Success in MRCS Examinations
    • Dr Rebecca Williams, Department of Education University of Oxford
    • Other Contributors:
      • Professor Stuart Enoch, Director of Postgraduate Surgical Studies and Chairman of Faculty, MRCS Courses

    Dear Editor,

    We read, with profound interest, the paper entitled ‘Does performance at medical school predict success at the Intercollegiate Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination?’ by Ellis et al. This is a highly timely study, and we sincerely thank the authors for foregrounding the causal relationship between achievement in medical school and outcomes in postgraduate surgical examinations. As the paper rightly asserts, no previous studies have attempted to investigate this. A nuanced appreciation of predictors of success in the MRCS examinations can directly translate to the way in which surgical trainees are taught, and this issue is, therefore, unequivocally worthy of attention.

    Several studies have revealed that success at one level equates to success at another level. A notable example is the longitudinal studies conducted in Australia, Canada, Denmark and Switzerland, which have identified that students who performed highly in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests at the age of 15 had an enhanced probability of attaining higher levels of education and were less likely to be unemployed (OECD, 2018). Specifically within the context of healthcare, Lipton et al. (1984) explored how secondary school results and personality test scores can act as predictors of achievement in medical school, whilst Wolkowitz and Kelley (2010) investigated how scores in science, mathematics, reading and English might forecast...

    Show More
    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.