Applicants to medical school: if at first they don’t succeed, who tries again and are they successful?

Barbara Griffin*, Jaime Auton, Robbert Duvivier, Boaz Shulruf, Wendy Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    This study compared the profile of those who, after initial failure to be selected, choose to reapply to study medicine with those who did not reapply. It also evaluates the chance of a successful outcome for re-applicants. In 2013, 4007 applicants to undergraduate medical schools in the largest state in Australia were unsuccessful. Those who chose to reapply (n = 665) were compared to those who did not reapply (n = 3342). Results showed that the odds of re-applying to medicine were 55% less for those from rural areas, and 39% more for those from academically-selective schools. Those who had higher cognitive ability and high school academic performance scores in 2013 were also more likely to re-apply. Socioeconomic status was not related to re-application choice. Re-applicants’ showed significant improvements in selection test scores and had a 34% greater probability of selection than first-time applicants who were also interviewed in the same selection round. The findings of this study indicate that re-testing and re-application improves one’s chance of selection into an undergraduate medical degree, but may further reduce the diversity of medical student cohorts in terms of rural background and educational background.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)33–43
    Number of pages11
    JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
    Issue number1
    Early online date2 Aug 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


    • retesting
    • widening participation
    • selection


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