Evaluation of interests, experiences and chemistry knowledge among students admitted to the Lisboa Medical School en 1989/1990.

C Saldanha, C Moreira, Y Pinto, M Nunes, J Martins e Silva


Selected medical students for undergraduate medical courses in Portugal exhibit each year substantial deficiencies in chemistry. The group of students admitted to the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon in 1989/1990 were selected by admission criteria apparently more restrictive than before. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of the theoretical knowledge in chemistry showed by those students before learning biochemistry. Eight-four of the admitted students were invited to participate in the study, by replying to an anonymous questionnaire on chemistry. A second questionnaire to identify a variety of personal/social factors was completed by the same students some days later. The results obtained have confirmed a clearly insufficient chemical background, in spite of the high scores achieved by those students in chemistry and other science subjects on the application. The majority of the students here studied declared financial security, live with their families, study at home, and report scarce outside distractions. It may be concluded that the new admission criteria to the faculties of medicine do not select students with better academic performances on chemistry than before. Otherwise, the sociocultural characteristics of the entrants do not fulfill the expectations that could contrast them clearly with average groups of students.

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