The University of California at Davis School of Medicine offers a prematriculation program to nontraditional students. As part of the program, students take a 7-day course on the gross anatomy of the upper limb that concludes with a written examination and a practical examination based on prosections. Here, the performance of students who took the course from 2002 to 2004 (n = 48) is compared with their performance in the medical gross anatomy course as well as their performance on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Both rank in the prematriculation program's anatomy course and the score on the examination were correlated (significant at the 0.01 level) with performance on the medical gross anatomy midterm and final examinations, the overall final grade, and class rank. Performance in the prematriculation anatomy course was also correlated with the score on Step 1 of the USMLE (rank significant at the 0.02 level; examination score, significant at the 0.05 level). Students who took the prematriculation course who eventually withdrew, were dismissed for academic reasons, or who failed the first attempt at the Step 1 of the licensing exam (n = 5) had a significantly lower score (77.6 ± 11.1; P < 0.05) on the prematriculation examination than did successful prematriculation students (86.2 ± 7.9). Thus, a gross anatomy examination following a short prematriculation course can be a predictor not only of medical student performance in anatomy, but also of performance on a standardized licensing examination.
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