GMC research

Published Date Research Title Description


‘What supported your success?’

A qualitative exploration of the factors associated with an absence of an ethnic attainment gap in post-graduate specialty training

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) doctors identify ten key factors which they felt gave them the opportunity to succeed in post graduate training.

Psychological theory is used to explain why these are important for learning.

Broader DA literature identifies why BAME trainees are systematically less able to benefit from these kinds of support.

Practical examples from stakeholders and trainees illustrate how interventions can improve outcomes.

November 2018

Evaluating the impact of interventions aimed at addressing variation in progression associated with protected characteristics known as 'differential attainment'

The overall aim of this research is to enhance fair training for all. It aims to support and encourage training organisations and educators to evaluate interventions and programmes of support, and to share their learning with others in order to build an evidence base.

May 2017

Fair training pathways for all - Part two

To follow up from the 2015 research which focused on trainee/trainer perspective, part two of the research explores differential attainment at an organisation level.

July 2016

Fair training pathways for all: understanding experiences of progression - Part one

In 2015 we asked researchers from University College London to develop the model proposed by HEFCE commissioned research (described below), in the context of postgraduate medical education and training to help us understand more about how differential attainment affects doctors in training.

July 2016

How doctors progress through key milestones in training

A summary of key messages arising from the publication of exam, ARCP and recruitment data for the 2014/2015 academic year.

November 2015

Understanding differential attainment across medical training pathways: A rapid review of the literature.

We commissioned an independent review of existing research and literature on differential attainment across medical education pathways. We want to understand potential causes of differential attainment; ways in which differential attainment has been researched; and potential interventions.

November 2015

GP selection data research

This research investigates the correlation between selection scores and exam performance of GPs over a number of years.

Q4 2015

The state of medical education and practice in the UK

Our fifth annual GMC report sets out what is happening in the education and practice of doctors, and considers some of the current challenges facing the profession and the systems in which it works.

November 2015

Building our understanding of professional support services offered to doctors in training

To identify how doctors in training are supported, we worked with the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMED) to survey deaneries and local education and training boards across the UK.

Our survey of professional support units aimed to draw on the expertise and experience within these organisations to identify and share effective practice.

March 2015

Preliminary analysis of data on postgraduate exams and recruitment

A summary of key messages arising from the publication of exam and recruitment data for the 2013/2014 academic year.

January 2015

GMC Corporate Conference Workshop

In January 2015, we held a workshop on differential attainment at our annual conference. We used the conference as a key moment to share emerging findings with a range of healthcare professionals, and to get their feedback about our approach to the research and what they think we should prioritise.

View slides from our differential attainment workshop

Read our overview of the workshop themes and discussions


Independent Review of the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) examination

In 2013 we asked Professor Aneez Esmail to carry out an independent review of the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP), an integrated assessment system, success in which confirms that a doctor has satisfactorily completed specialty training for general practice. This table shows the progress we, and other organisations, have made against the recommendations in the review's final report.

Non-GMC commissioned research

Published Date Research Title Description Authors/contributors


Links between NHS staff experience and patient satisfaction: Analysis of surveys from 2014 and 2015

Using NHS staff and inpatient survey data, this report identifies the most important aspects of staff experience in predicting inpatient satisfaction. It also examines the experiences of staff (and patients) from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background, examining the extent to which treatment of BME staff is linked with patient experience.

J. Dawson


Unpacking the dark variance of differential attainment on examinations in overseas graduates

The authors of the report say interpersonal skills may be just as important as clinical knowledge for those on GP training programmes. By demonstrating the importance of interpersonal competence to licensing examination results, the research team have provided new insights into how to support future GP trainees who are likely to struggle with exams that involve social and communication interactions.

F. Patterson, P.A. Tiffin, S. Lopes & L. Zibarras


Differential attainment: Making medical training fair for all

This report summarises some of the causes of differential attainment, provides examples of initiatives that make a difference for BAME trainees, and outlines practical tips for providers, trainers, students and trainees.

British Medical Association (BMA)


Measuring the attainment gap: consultation

Scottish Government consultation on proposals for measuring the poverty-related attainment gap and milestones towards closing it.

Scottish Government


Differences in student outcomes

How do student outcomes differ according to various characteristics? This guide looks at outcomes measured in terms of class of degree awarded and employment six months after graduation. In addition, at a sector level, it considers how student outcomes have changed since 2013-14

Office for Students


Comparison of the sensitivity of the UKCAT and A Levels to sociodemographic characteristics: a national study

The aim of this research was to further assess whether the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is likely to add incremental value over A level (predicted or actual) attainment in the selection process.

P.A. Tiffin, J.C. McLachlan, L. Webster and S. Nicholson


The UKCAT-12 study: educational attainment, aptitude test performance, demographic and socio-economic contextual factors as predictors of first year outcome in a cross-sectional collaborative study of 12 UK medical schools

This study assesses the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), and its four sub-scales, along with measures of educational attainment, individual and contextual socio-economic background factors, as predictors of performance in the first year of medical school training.

I.C. McManus, C. Dewberry, S. Nicholson & J.S. Dowell


The mediators of minority ethnic underperformance in final medical school examinations

This study investigates whether demographic and psychological factors mediate the relationship between ethnicity and final examination scores.

K. Woolf, I.C. McManus, H.W.W. Potts & J. Dacre


The educational background and qualifications of UK medical students from ethnic minorities

This study uses two large-scale databases to examine the educational attainment of different groups of students.

I.C. McManus, K. Woolf & J. Dacre

Research from other sectors

Published Date Research Title Description Authors/contributors


Black, Asian and minority ethnic student attainment at UK universities: #closingthegap

This report identifies five steps that can be taken to tackle the disparity between the proportion of 'top degrees' (first or a 2:1 degree) achieved by white and BAME students. The report follows contributions from 99 universities and student unions and six regional round table sessions with 160 attendees into how to improve outcomes and reduce the attainment gap.

Universities UK and NUS