Background: For many years, the primary criterion used to select medical school applicants worldwide has been cognitive measures of high school educational attainment. Yet academic assessment alone may not necessarily select the candidates who possess the behavioral or non-cognitive attributes thought important in medical students and doctors: honesty, integrity, flexibility, motivation, willingness to cooperate, managing emotions, self-esteem, control, leadership skills, resilience personal values, confidence, empathy, conscientiousness, and social accountability. There is evidence that significant relationship exists between both cognitive and non-cognitive variables and students’ performance in medical school. The challenge posed by the current pandemic of covid19 is that all admission interviews are now carried out via video.
Method: In video interviews for admission to our Arabian Gulf University, the applicants were asked standardized questions under four main domains: motivation and commitment to medicine, handling stress and ethical dilemma, social skills, and responsibility as well as self-presentation. Each of these domains was given a Likert score ranging from one to five. Scores 1 and 2 indicated unsatisfactory performance, while scores 3, 4 and 5 indicated fair, good, and excellent, respectively. Each panel member scored each applicant independently. This creates the data bases for statistical analyses.
Results and Discussion: The feedback from staff and students was so far positive, however, statistical results need a longitudinal follow-up of at least one decade: we do not have statistics showing to what extent the selection criteria for admission have a predictive validity for successfully completing the MD program and performing as a medical doctor.
Conclusions: Transitioning medical school interviews to a virtual setting beyond the restrictions of COVID-19 would allow eliminating travel expenses and cost saving for applicants.
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