PURPOSE. To examine the relationship between the objective premedical credentials and performances on Step 2 on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) of 480 students in three classes at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia School of Medicine. The purpose of the study was to seek those selection criteria that might best predict performance on an examination designed to assess problem-solving skills, the essence of clinical medicine. METHOD. Premedical data from two classes (1193, 1994) were analyzed, and a regression equation was used to calculate theoretical USMLE Step 2 scores for the students in the class of 1995, who had not yet taken this examination. The premedical variables were scores on the verbal and math section on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), scores on the six sections of the pre-1991 Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), grade-point average (GPA) in science courses required of premedical students, and undergraduate major. Once the class of 1995 had taken the USMLE Step 2, the equation was cross validated, and the theoretical and actual scores of the class of 1995 were correlated. RESULTS. The correlation between theoretical and actual scores was r = .443. In the analysis for the classes of 1993 and 1994, the single variables most highly predictive of USMLE Step 2 performance were scores on the verbal section of the SAT (r = .317) and the Skills Analysis: Reading section of the MCAT (r = .331). However, the MCAT scores were excluded from the final regression analysis because of the pre-1991 MCAT cannot be useful in predicting the performances of present medical school applicants. The resulting regression equation (using the SAT verbal section and premedical GPA) was able to account for 21.2% of the variance for the class of 1995. CONCLUSION. The use of the verbal section of the SAT as a predictive factor is unique. It is significant that this variable was strongly related to premedical GPA, suggesting that high verbal aptitude serves one well, even when coping with complex scientific concepts.
Created Date: 07 June 1996; Completed Date: 07 June 1996; Revised Date: 18 December 2000
© 1996 Association of American Medical Colleges