UCL News


UCL in the News: Tests reveal major inconsistencies between medical schools

14 February 2008

Anthea Lipsett, EducationGuardian.


Tests taken by UK doctors show enormous variation in performance depending on which medical school they attended, according to new research that highlights the need for a national qualifying exam for all medical graduates. …

Today's research, led by Professor Chris McManus [UCL Psychology], shows clear differences in the performance of 5,827 UK medical graduates from 19 different British universities. …

The differences in performance are in part explained by the qualifications graduates held before going to medical school, but the research suggests that differences between the teaching focus, content and approaches of medical schools play a role. …

McManus said: "Our study provides a strong argument for introducing [a licensing exam], as we have shown that graduates from different medical schools perform markedly differently in terms of their knowledge, clinical and communication skills.

"Although the MRCP(UK) is a widely regarded exam that is carefully designed to assess a wide range of knowledge and skills required by a physician, it is possible that some medical schools teach other important skills that this examination does not assess."

He said there was a real need for routine analysis of UK medical graduates' performance both in postgraduate exams and in a national licensing exam. …