SELECTION ERROR, Australian Doctor (18 January 2008)

Cogent arguments can be made both for and against interviews being part of selection process for entry to medical schools. However, Queensland medical school’s decision to scrap interviews because they do not predict success in the medical course is flawed. 

The right question to be asked is whether interviews predict whether students make good doctors, not whether it predicts students’ success at medical school. The decision is analogous to selecting academics on the basis of their research potential and finding that they are not good teachers and hence scrapping the selection system. 

Queensland medical school should go back all the way to selecting students after completing Year 12, rather than after completing a degree. A properly designed selection system geared for school leaver entry would be a better predictor of both their success in the medical program and during their career as a doctor. 

Universities which have taken the graduate medical program route are finding that they are losing highly able and motivated students to the universities which offer undergraduate medical programs, thus losing high quality students and all the resulting benefits such as prestige.