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Association of American Medical Colleges evaluating situational judgement as indicator for medical school readiness

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has selected Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine as a test site for piloting its new Situational Judgement Test (SJT). Geisinger Commonwealth will ask medical school applicants in the 2022 cycle to complete an SJT along with standard application requirements. SJTs are designed to assess an applicant's judgment regarding a situation encountered in a specific setting. The assessment presents examinees with situations and a list of plausible courses of action. Examinees evaluate each course of action for either the likelihood that they would perform the action or the effectiveness of the action.

“Our school’s mission is to ‘educate physicians to serve society’ and to support Geisinger’s goal of making better health easy. That’s why Geisinger Commonwealth has always been committed to holistic review of each medical applicant. It is the only way to identify students who are not only bright, but also committed to service and to social responsibility,” said Michelle Schmude, EdD, associate dean for admissions, enrollment management and financial aid & associate professor. “Being selected as an SJT pilot site is validation of that approach. We believe the AAMC SJT provides an opportunity to assess these critical pre-professional competencies and may enhance our holistic process.”

AAMC and pilot medical schools together will analyze SJT results to determine if the assessment accurately provides insight into an applicant’s knowledge of effective and ineffective behaviors across eight core pre-professional competencies for entering medical students: 

  • Service orientation
  • Social skills
  • Cultural competence
  • Teamwork
  • Ethical responsibility to self and others
  • Reliability and dependability
  • Resilience and adaptability
  • Capacity for improvement

In addition to thinking, reasoning and science competencies, these eight areas are required for success in both medical school and residency and are necessary for the practice of medicine. The exam utilizes written scenario sets that present hypothetical dilemmas linked to the eight core competencies. The scenarios are based on real-world situations students may experience in medical school. The SJT was developed for pre-health students, so healthcare experience is not needed to perform well on the exam.

In addition to Geisinger Commonwealth, AAMC SJT pilot medical schools include University of Minnesota, Morehouse, the University of Alabama and the University of California, Davis.

For more information, MD applicants can visit our admissions webpages.


About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director, Media and Public Relations 
Office: 570-504-9687
On Call: 570-687-9703
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