Association between Overall Academic Achievement, Cognitive, and Non-Cognitive Variables among Medical and Allied Health Students: A 10-Year Review


  • Josephine N. Amadi Faculty of Nursing, Lincoln University College, Wisma Lincoln, No. 12-18, Jalan SS 6/12, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
  • Regidor III Dioso Faculty of Nursing, Lincoln University College, Wisma Lincoln, No. 12-18, Jalan SS 6/12, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
  • Glory B. Obong Faculty of Nursing, Lincoln University College, Wisma Lincoln, No. 12-18, Jalan SS 6/12, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
  • Chinemerem Eleke Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Abuja Campus, University of, 500272, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Idris Adewale Ahmed Department of Biotechnology, Lincoln University College, Wisma Lincoln, No. 12-18, Jalan SS 6/12, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia



Background: Medical and allied health institutions employ cognitive measures to select student applicants who can fulfill curriculum components and pass the licensure examination. Secondary school certificate (SSC) grades and preadmission aptitude test (PAT) scores have been in use without systematic evidence. Nevertheless, the connection between non-cognitive elements and academic achievement is not clear. Objectives: This study explored the association between cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of academic achievement in medical and allied health programs. Methods: A narrative review design was applied, and the PubMed/MEDLINE database was searched. The eligibility criteria were undergraduate courses in medical and allied health programs, examining at least one cognitive (SSC scores and preadmission) and non-cognitive (age, gender, parity, parental occupation, lottery, non-cognitive personality test, and letter of recommendation) factor, measuring academic achievement and associational outcomes. Studies were screened by title, abstract, and full text, and data were extracted using a novel data extraction form. Results: About 22 studies were included, involving a sample of 29,152 students were reviewed. There were mixed results on the examined factors, with SSC grades, PAT scores, being female, and being of younger age appearing to have diminishing consistency in the mentioned order across the reviewed studies. There was a paucity of studies on the examined non-cognitive elements. Conclusion: There is insufficient evidence to recommend the exclusive use of any single cognitive or non-cognitive element for admissions decisions. A combination of SSC grades, PAT scores, female gender, and younger age should be considered and weighed in the mentioned order of importance.


Academic Success, Aptitude, Certification, Schools, Students


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How to Cite

Amadi, J. N. ., Dioso, R. I., Obong, G. B., Eleke, C. ., & Ahmed, I. A. (2023). Association between Overall Academic Achievement, Cognitive, and Non-Cognitive Variables among Medical and Allied Health Students: A 10-Year Review . The Malaysian Journal of Nursing (MJN), 15(2), 166-177.