Medical gross anatomy as a predictor of performance on the USMLE step 1

Cathryn A. Peterson, Richard P Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Traditional predictors of medical school performance, such as Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores and grade point averages, are often used during the admissions process to help identify the prospective students who are most likely to complete the basic science portion of the curriculum successfully. Here we analyzed the admissions files and student records of 285 first-year medical students who matriculated at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine between 1999 and 2001 to determine if performance in medical gross anatomy is a similar, if not better, predictor of performance on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 than traditional predictors used by medical school admissions committees. Though MCAT scores and grade point averages were correlated with scores on the USMLE Step 1, only the score on the biological science section of the MCAT was significantly correlated with passing the licensing examination. In contrast, class rank in medical gross anatomy and the score on a gross anatomy comprehensive final examination were correlated both with scores on the USMLE Step 1 and passing the examination. Our results indicate that medical schools should consider performance in medical gross anatomy just as much, if not more, than traditional predictors of medical school performance when trying to identify students who may need more time or tutoring to pass the licensing examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-8
Number of pages4
JournalAnatomical Record - Part B New Anatomist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005



  • Anatomy
  • Class rank
  • Medical education
  • United States Medical Licensing Examination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anatomy

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