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In this paper, we examine the methods by which candidates are selected for the Oxford Medical School in the light of the literature on assessment in general and candidate selection in particular. We review changes in the process that attempt to capture the best of evidence-supported practice while preserving or enhancing the features identified as being peculiar strengths of the Oxford learning environment. These changes aim to improve fairness, reliability and validity, while permitting candidate-specific approaches that allow for differences of prior experience and opportunity. Over the last three years, the outcome has been a marked convergence between the approaches to selection in Oxford with commonly accepted standards of assessment.

Original publication




Journal article


Oxford Review of Education

Publication Date





241 - 255