The Limitations of the GRE in Predicting Success in Biomedical Graduate School.

Moneta-Koehler L, Brown AM, Petrie KA, Evans BJ, Chalkley R
PLoS One. 2017 12 (1): e0166742

PMID: 28076356 · PMCID: PMC5226333 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0166742

Historically, admissions committees for biomedical Ph.D. programs have heavily weighed GRE scores when considering applications for admission. The predictive validity of GRE scores on graduate student success is unclear, and there have been no recent investigations specifically on the relationship between general GRE scores and graduate student success in biomedical research. Data from Vanderbilt University Medical School's biomedical umbrella program were used to test to what extent GRE scores can predict outcomes in graduate school training when controlling for other admissions information. Overall, the GRE did not prove useful in predicating who will graduate with a Ph.D., pass the qualifying exam, have a shorter time to defense, deliver more conference presentations, publish more first author papers, or obtain an individual grant or fellowship. GRE scores were found to be moderate predictors of first semester grades, and weak to moderate predictors of graduate GPA and some elements of a faculty evaluation. These findings suggest admissions committees of biomedical doctoral programs should consider minimizing their reliance on GRE scores to predict the important measures of progress in the program and student productivity.

MeSH Terms (7)

Education, Medical, Graduate Educational Measurement Female Humans Male Models, Theoretical Predictive Value of Tests

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