gms | German Medical Science

Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

05.10. - 08.10.2011, München

Impact of gender on undergraduate medical exam performance at the Medical University of Vienna


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Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA). München, 05.-08.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11gma172

doi: 10.3205/11gma172, urn:nbn:de:0183-11gma1726

Veröffentlicht: 26. September 2011

© 2011 Himmelbauer et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Question: Female medical undergraduates have been found to do equally well or marginally better than males in examinations (e.g. clinical subjects such as paediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics, and gynaecology). This study examines if these findings can be replicated in our new model of curriculum implemented in 2002.

Methods: Examination scores of 4 human medical student cohorts over a 6-year period selected by regular academic success (350 – 400 undergraduates per year) and social data were collected and analyzed.

Results: Results highlight male students being more successful in preclinical subjects of the first-year of study (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry) than female. No significant gender difference was observed on measures in the second- to five-year of study. In contrast, female undergraduates performed better than male on the clinically based performance examinations (psychiatry, obstetrics, and gynaecology) in the last year of study.

Conclusion: These results confirm that academic performance at the Medical University of Vienna is influenced by gender. It corresponds to the literature that female students do marginally better in clinical subjects than male. Male superiority in the natural science-oriented disciplines of medicine, however, is rarely reported. Poor success of female students in natural sciences that might rely on conditions in the Austrian secondary education should be the aim of further studies. These findings may also have implications on admission decisions.