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Admission to medical studies: again low women's success rate

(Vienna, 29-07-2010) The women's success rate in the entrance test for the study of medicine has remained at an unchanged low level. Of the total of 1,500 study places, 643 go to women (43 percent), last year this figure was 666 (44 percent). The participation of women in the tests, however, was as high as 55 percent (2009: 56 percent).

At the Medical University of Vienna, some 56 percent of the candidates in the beginning of July were women (2009: also 56 percent), now - after appraisals have been completed - the women's rate among those admitted to the study is as low as 42 percent (2009: 43.5 percent). At the Medical Universities of Innsbruck and Graz, where results were published last week, the picture is similar: in Graz, 54 percent of the test participants this year were women (2009: 58 percent), but only 43 percent of them were successful (2009: 46 percent).
Among the test participants in Innsbruck 54 percent were women (2009: 55 percent), among those admitted, this figure was 44 percent like last year.

Also the rates for only Austrian candidates are similar: in Vienna the rate of women among the test participants was 56.5 percent and among those admitted it was 42.3 percent. The ratio in Innsbruck was 55 percent (female participants) compared to 44 percent (share of women among those admitted), in Graz 56 (female participants) compared to 43 (share of women among those admitted).

This means that the women's success rate is at about the same low level at all three universities although different multiple-choice test procedures are being applied in each case: The Medical Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck use the "aptitude test for medicine" (EMS), which focuses on study-related skills such as a basic understanding of medicine and science, spatial imagination, work with numbers etc. The Medical University of Graz, however, applies a knowledge test in the basic subjects of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics as well as text comprehension. In addition, this year marked the first time that in Graz social skills were also being tested, which contributed ten percent to the overall outcome.

In Vienna, this year's results were particularly noteworthy because, for the first time, female test participants from EU countries (mainly Germany) also received significantly worse ratings compared to their male EU colleagues and to Austrian women.

In reply to a request by the Austrian Press Agency APA, MedUni Vienna has stated that this development is "difficult to interpret". One explanation is that participants from Germany are, of course, not the top people of their country; they come to Austria because they did not meet the numerus clausus requirements in their own country. "But this was also true in previous years." The University expects to gain insights into the reasons for the low women's success rate from surveys conducted among upper secondary school students in September.

Among the absolute top achievers, women rank slightly better:
in the EMS test, one Austrian woman achieved the best test result; among the first six, the sex ratio is still balanced. But among the 25 best test participants there were only seven women. The Graz top 10 comprise five men and five women.

(Source: APA)