Medical Student Personality Traits and Clinical Grades in the Internal Medicine Clerkship

Masrur A. Khan, Monica Malviya, Keara English, Rebecca Forman, Stacey Frisch, Kevin Jordan, William Southern, Amanda Raff, Tulay Aksoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Third year clerkship grades include subjective evaluations. The purpose of this study is to identify if personality traits and self-esteem predispose students to better clerkship performance. Methods: Third-year medical students completed the OCEAN Five Factor Model Personality Test and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Clerkship grades were matched to survey results. Chi-squared and linear regression analyses assessed the correlation between students’ clerkship grades, personality traits, and self-esteem. Results: There was no association between OCEAN personality domains and any component of clerkship grade. In secondary post hoc analysis, students who are “deep thinking” (OR 2.97, 95% CI 1.26–7.01, p = 0.01), “sophisticated” (OR 2.70, 95% CI 1.12–6.50, p = 0.03), and “outgoing” (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.02–5.89, p = 0.04) were significantly more likely to get an overall clerkship grade of Honors. "Deep thinking" (OR 3.44, 95% CI 1.47-8.04, p = 0.004) and “efficient” (OR 2.87, 95% CI 1.12–7.36, p = 0.03) students scored better on shelf exams, while “shy” students scored worse (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.13–0.69, p = 0.004); “aloof” students received worse clinical scores (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.37–0.89, p = 0.03), and "rude" (OR 5.08, 95% CI 1.03–24.94, p = 0.03) and "sophisticated" (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.02–6.00, p = 0.04) students received higher preceptor scores. There was no correlation between self-esteem and clerkship grades. Conclusion: Students with certain personality traits may be predisposed to success during clerkships. Medical educators should be cognizant of biases favoring certain personalities and help students maximize success by recognizing their strengths and identifying gaps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-645
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Clerkship
  • Education
  • Mentorship
  • Personality
  • Student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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