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Graduate entry medicine: the right way forward?
  1. Jack Olivarius-McAllister,
  2. Nicholas Yapp,
  3. Aimée Jacquemot,
  4. Alexander Robinson
  1. Oxford Medical School, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jack Olivarius-McAllister, Oxford Medical School, Oxford University, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK; jack.o-mcallister{at}

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Exceptional training of medical students is a fundamental priority. Of the 33 medical schools in the UK, 48% of them currently offer graduate medical programmes since their inception in 2000. Across the globe, 90% of the top 20 medical schools, according to the 2019 international university rankings, offer graduate entry medicine (GEM).1 In this article, we outline the similarities and differences between undergraduate and graduate medical students, and the strengths and weaknesses of studying GEM in the UK.

Similarities and differences between graduate and undergraduate medical students

Graduate entry medical students (GEMS) excel in medical school and in their careers compared with undergraduate medical students. A recent study showed that GEMS performed better on the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test and the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test than undergraduate medical students.2 However, some studies indicate that increased educational performance for GEMS compared with undergraduates is not consistent.3 This inconsistency may reflect the variation in medical school curricula across the UK. Cohort studies have found that GEMS were more likely to obtain honours degrees or first class degrees in their medical studies than their undergraduate counterparts.4 Therefore, a national audit on all medical programmes in the UK is needed to robustly compare short and long-term outcomes of graduate and undergraduate medical students. …

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  • Contributors JO-M conceptualised the initial idea for this manuscript. All authors contributed their personal experiences of being graduate or undergraduate medical students and/or the teaching of medical students. JO-M and NY drafted the initial manuscript. All authors read, drafted and provided comments on the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests JO-M and NY were graduate medical students and AJ was an undergraduate medical student. AR is a graduate medical student. JO-M, NY, AR and AJ have no further competing interests to disclose.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.