gms | German Medical Science

Research in Medical Education – Chances and Challenges International Conference

20.05. - 22.05.2009, Heidelberg

Effect of different modes of students’ admission to the study of human medicine on their progress

Meeting Abstract

Research in Medical Education - Chances and Challenges 2009. Heidelberg, 20.-22.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09rmeC3

doi: 10.3205/09rme13, urn:nbn:de:0183-09rme133

Published: May 5, 2009

© 2009 Manhal et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Introduction: On July 7, 2005, the European Court decided that Austria’s previous foreign students’ admission procedure was against European Law. As a consequence, Austrian Law was changed, and universities now are entitled to restrict the number of new students in some disciplines, among them human and dental medicine.

The Medical University of Graz (after using a selection procedure after the first semester in academic year 2005/06), since academic year 2006/07 has developed and employed an own admission test based mainly on multiple choice questions from the fields of chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics, enriched with items based on the proper comprehension of scientific text passages.

The aim of the present study was to inquire into the effects of three different modes of admission on students’ progress.

Study subjects and methods: The analysis comprised all students admitted to the diploma programme “Human Medicine” in academic years 2004/05 (free admission), 2005/06 (admission after one introductory study semester) and 2006/07 (admission after passing a knowledge test based on natural sciences subjects).

For analysis of the data, statistical techniques were used which are also widely employed for the analysis of waiting or survival times: Kaplan-Meier plots were constructed to explore the time periods needed for reaching certain levels during the curriculum, and the generalized Savage statistics was employed to assess significance of differences. The proportional hazards models (Cox model) were used to assess the impact of additional variables like gender and nationality on these waiting times in a multivariate manner.

Results: Both the restricted admissions after one introductory semester and after the knowledge test were associated with a tremendous decrease of the drop out rate as well as a dramatic increase of the success rate in terms of reaching certain levels in shorter time periods. The effects of gender and nationality on the success rates are discussed.

Conclusion: The results point out very clearly the obvious weaknesses of the free admission mode to the study of human medicine without any selection of the applicants in terms of their abilities to master the study which was legally dictated in Austria prior to 2005. This holds true in terms of waste of human life time of the students as well as of efficiency of the huge financial and personal resources invested by the university and – eventually - by the society itself.