Undergraduate medical course applicants’ ratings of the value of a Situational Judgment Test (SJT) as a selection tool

Margaret Hay, Selina Thi Tran, Irene Tatjana Lichtwark, Wayne Hodgson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Candidate reactions to the SJT as a selection tool have been assessed in post-graduate medical selection1, and teacher training2, but not in undergraduate medical course applicants. No studies have investigated these candidates’ ratings of the value of the SJT as a selection tool relative to other tools.

Summary of work
Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) candidates applying for the MBBS at Monash University completed a pilot online 80 scenario SJT during the 2015 and 2016 admissions cycles (N=503, 57.9% female, mean age 18.2 years, SD 0.49). At SJT completion, candidates rated the difficulty of the SJT relative to the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admissions Test (UMAT). Face validity of the SJT was assessed via ratings of scenario relevance, suitability as a selection tool, and ranking of the SJT relative to the UMAT, MMI, and Year 12 score. Open text boxes enabled candidates to describe reasons for their ratings.

Summary of results
Most (72.3%) rated the SJT as less difficult than the UMAT, and 70% could relate to the SJT scenarios. Nearly all (91.1%) rated the SJT questions as relevant for medical course selection, with 66.5% rating the SJT as a suitable selection test. The MMI was ranked as the most useful selection tool by 56.4%, with 31.6% nominating Year 12 score. The UMAT was ranked as the least useful selection tool by 45.5%, and the SJT by 23.6%. Open text responses revealed that candidates preferring the UMAT found the SJT repetitive, and lacking in variety of item type. Candidates preferring the SJT enjoyed the test, its shorter test time, realistic scenarios contextualized in medicine, and perceived relevance to future practice.

This study provides evidence of higher face validity of the SJT relative to the UMAT, but not the MMI or Year 12 score. Despite their young age, most candidates were able to relate to the medically contextualized scenarios.

School leaver medical course applicants can relate to medically based SJT scenarios. The SJT has greater face validity in this population relative to the UMAT, with MMI perceived as the most valid selection tool.

Take-home messages
The SJT is a viable tool for undergraduate medical course selection, in conjunction with other selection tools.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2016
EventAssociation for Medical Education in Europe 2016 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 27 Aug 201631 Aug 2016


ConferenceAssociation for Medical Education in Europe 2016
Abbreviated titleAMEE 2016

Cite this