Success at Veterinary School: evaluating the Influence of Intake Variables on Year 1 Examination Performance

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A major challenge in admissions to veterinary medical degrees is to select those students with most suitability for clinical training programmes and careers from a large pool of applicants with very high academic ability. Predicting the success of students in a veterinary course is challenging and relatively few objective studies have been undertaken to identify factors that will facilitate progression through this educational experience. Prior educational attainment is considered by some to be a good predictor of success at undergraduate level.
The aims of study were to analyse intake data such as educational history and demographic factors of students entering the University of Edinburgh and to investigate possible relationships between these data and academic performance in the first year at veterinary school.
Data were collated for three veterinary intakes including school qualification, subjects, grades, Grade Point Average (GPA), degree classification, domicile, gender and age. Performance was measured by marks achieved in first year veterinary degree examinations. Relationships between marks and the influence of intake variables were statistically analysed via analysis of variance. For school-leaving entrants, the presence of straight As in school was linked to a better exam performance. Students with an A in Chemistry or Biology performed better; Mathematics and Physics did not show a consistent linkage with performance. Higher GPA was associated with better performance in first year for students on a graduate entry programme.
This study shows that prior educational attainment does appear to be linked with subsequent performance in the first year at veterinary school.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2019


  • veterinary admissions
  • student performance
  • undergraduate selection,
  • predictors of success


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