Answer to "What are the key attributes, values and knowledge to assess for when selecting applicants to medical schools?"

Traditionally, selection into medical school was solely based on prior academic attainment, but there is now increasing recognition that broader criteria are required because there is more to being a capable medical student or doctor than academic performance.

Most medical schools now aim to select applicants who are both academically capable and possess (inter)personal skills befitting a career in medicine, such as team-working and communication skills.  This has meant shifting from selecting purely on prior/attainment grade point average as the basis for selection into medical school, to assessing for the potential to develop desired values and attributes such as empathy, communication and probity as well as knowledge (see also Questions 2 and 3 for more on the breadth and relative quality of the range of selection tools, and how best to combine tools). 

Medical schools need to decide what attributes, values and knowledge they want in their graduates. One way of doing this is to define the competences of a ‘good doctor’ and use these as the basis of an outcome-based selection procedure.  This is typically done at a national level.  Essential reading on this is as follows:

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