Predictive validity of the Biomedical Admissions Test: an evaluation and case study

Med Teach. 2011;33(1):53-7. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2010.525267.


There has been an increase in the use of pre-admission selection tests for medicine. Such tests need to show good psychometric properties. Here, we use a paper by Emery and Bell [2009. The predictive validity of the Biomedical Admissions Test for pre-clinical examination performance. Med Educ 43:557-564] as a case study to evaluate and comment on the reporting of psychometric data in the field of medical student selection (and the comments apply to many papers in the field). We highlight pitfalls when reliability data are not presented, how simple zero-order associations can lead to inaccurate conclusions about the predictive validity of a test, and how biases need to be explored and reported. We show with BMAT that it is the knowledge part of the test which does all the predictive work. We show that without evidence of incremental validity it is difficult to assess the value of any selection tests for medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Medicine / education*
  • College Admission Test*
  • Female
  • Forecasting*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Schools, Medical