Oral Presentations - Student Support

Moderated by Kashif Ahmad
Session Coordinator: Jonathan van Tilburg

Presentation 1 - Medical Student Performance Stratified by Matriculation Age    
Spencer Taylor    
Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at the University of Nevada Las Vegas

Previous literature has reported that post-baccalaureate career changers had significantly lower USMLE Step 1 scores, but limited data is available on the role of matriculation age on student success in medical school. A small proportion of matriculants each year are over age 30, and it is essential to understand how this may impact their performance compared to their younger counterparts. Several factors could affect performance in older matriculants, including lack of social bonding, differences with peers, familial and economic burdens unique to older students, and a longer pause between undergraduate education and medical school.

Data was gathered from 6 student cohorts at a single medical school. Students were stratified based on matriculation age, with 30 as the cutoff point. MCAT, USMLE STEP1 and STEP2 scores, and pre-clinical biomedical science NBME exam scores were analyzed using a two-sided T-test to assess statistical significance.

326 students were under 30 and 34 were age 30+ at matriculation. Older matriculants had significantly lower MCAT scores (p = .031 ). This trend continued for older students who scored significantly lower on Step 1 (p = .005), clinical specialty shelf exams (p =.001) and Step 2 (P=.001). Older students scored lower on pre-clinical NBME exams, but significance was not reached.

Matriculants aged 30 and over come into medical school with significantly lower MCAT scores and this trend continues throughout medical school, with lower scores on vital performance benchmarks, which could impair their ability to compete against younger students during the residency match. With this data, medical schools should monitor and provide enhanced strategies to support this subgroup of students.

Presentation 2 - The Effect of Undergraduate-Major Selection on Medical Student Performance    
Jay Babu
Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at the University of Nevada Las Vegas

Non-traditional majors (humanities, music, business) enter medical school with different experiences and exposures, which could impact their academic success. It is essential to understand the performance differences between these students and those from more traditional STEM majors on key medical school benchmarks. If non-traditional students can perform on par with traditional students, medical school admissions committees should evaluate their selection criteria to ensure the non-traditional approach to medical school preparation is given equal weight during the selection process.

Participants were stratified based on their undergraduate major (STEM vs. non-STEM). MCAT, STEP1, STEP2, and pre-clinical biomedical science NBME block exam scores were compiled and analyzed using a two-sided T-test to assess their significance.

The majority of students, 325, were from traditional STEM majors and 35 were from non-STEM, non-traditional majors. Non-traditional students entered medical school with higher mean MCAT scores (511 vs. 509; p = .078). During our curriculum's pre-clinical biomedical science phase, non-traditional students had significantly higher mean NBME exam scores (84 v. 82, p=.02). These students continued to score higher on USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams, but it did not reach significance. 

Matriculants from non-traditional majors entered medical school with higher MCAT scores and significantly outperformed their traditional-major counterparts on pre-clinical NBME exams. Medical students from non-traditional majors possess unique experiences that their traditional counterparts might lack. With this data, pre-med students can choose a major that truly interests them, and admission committees can focus more on diversity in majors when accepting applicants. Further research should be conducted to assess differences in attributes among non-traditional majors entering medical school.

Presentation 3 - Withdrawn Presentation

Date & Time
Monday, June 12, 2023, 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Location Name
MC - Acapulco