OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the academic performance of medical students learning in rural settings differs from those learning in urban settings. DESIGN: Comparison of results of assessment for 2 full cohorts and 1 part cohort of medical students learning in rural and urban settings in 2002 (209 students), 2003 (226 students) and 2004 (220 students), including results for each specialist rotation in the 3rd year and end-of-year examinations in the 2nd and 4th years. SETTING: University of Queensland School of Medicine, Brisbane. Students spent the whole 3rd year (of a 4-year graduate entry programme) conducting 5 specialist 8-week rotations in either the rural clinical division (rural students) or in q3Brisbane (urban students), all following the same curriculum and taking the same examinations. RESULTS: For the 2002 cohort there were no statistically significant differences in academic performance between rural and urban students. For the 2003 cohort the only significant difference was a higher score for rural students in the end of the 4th-year clinical skills examination (65.7 versus 62.3%, P = 0.025). For the 2004 cohort, rural students scored higher in the 3rd-year mental health rotation (79.3 versus 76.2%, P = 0.038) and lower in the medicine rotation (65.5 versus 68.6%, P = 0.037). CONCLUSION: Academic performance among students studying in rural and urban settings is comparable.
- Clinical competence/*standards
- Clinical medicine/*education
- Cohort studies
- Education, medical, undergraduate/*methods
- Rural health
- Students, medical
- Urban health