OBJECTIVE: To identify possible gender related differences in performance at undergraduate medical examinations in Sri Lanka. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Results of examinations conducted by the faculty of medicine, University of Kelaniya in 1997 and 1998, and data published by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on final examinations conducted by 4 other Sri Lankan medical faculties (in the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Ruhuna and Jaffna) in 1996 and 1997, were analysed for sex related differences. RESULTS: The proportion of women in each batch of students who sat for 8 examinations conducted at the faculty of medicine, University of Kelaniya in 1997 and 1998, ranged from 40.7 to 48.4% (average 44.3%). Among students sitting for the final MBBS examinations in other medical faculties in 1996 and 1997, the proportion of women ranged from 37.3% in Peradeniya to 53.7% in Jaffna. The proportions of women who obtained "classes" were higher than that of men in 12/15 examinations, with statistically significant differences in four. Higher proportions of men were referred or failed in all 8 examinations analysed; the differences were statistically significant in two. CONCLUSIONS: Women appear to do marginally better than men in undergraduate medical examinations in Sri Lanka.
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