Mental health status of medical students during postgraduate entrance examination

Fajiang Chen, Juanmei Chen, Baoxin Chen, Mohammad Mofatteh, Caijuan Wen, Jack Wellington, Dongchao Gong, Hailing Yang, Zhiyi Zeng, Xiaoyu Miao, Shaoyong Wu, Yimin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The postgraduate entrance examination can be a milestone for many medical students to advance their careers. An increasing number of students are competing for limited postgraduate offers available, and failure to enter postgraduate studies can have adverse mental health consequences. In this paper, we aim to investigate the mental health status of medical students during the postgraduate application entrance examination and to provide a targeted basis for mental health education and psychological counselling. Methods: Using the Symptom Checklist-90 scale (SCL-90) questionnaire, the mental health status of 613 students who passed two rounds of the Postgraduate Entrance Examination in 2019 to enroll in Guangzhou Medical University in China was evaluated and followed up for retesting 6 months later. We used SPSS 20.0 statistical software for comparative analysis, including One-Sample T-Test, Independent-Samples T-Test, Paired Samples T-Test and Chi-square Test. Results: Our data showed that 12.10% of students had mental health problems during the postgraduate entrance examination, and it decreased significantly to 4.40% at the 6-month follow-up after the examination period finished (P < 0.01). Somatization was the most significant symptom of the students both during and after the postgraduate entrance examination stages. All SCL-90 factors were scored significantly lower both in and after the postgraduate entrance examination stages than the 2008 national college student norm score (P < 0.01). Excluding psychiatric factors, all other SCL-90 factors in the postgraduate entrance examination stage scored higher than the graduate stage (P < 0.05), and the total score of SCL-90 in female medical students was higher compared to male students (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The postgraduate entrance examination event has a significant negative influence on students’ mental health. The mental health of college and graduate students as an important part of their higher education experience should be systematically studied, and psychological counselling or help should be provided to them throughout their studies, specifically during the examination period. Educating applicants about mental health should be implemented during the postgraduate entrance examination curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number829
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Medical students
  • Mental health
  • Postgraduate entrance examination
  • SCL – 90


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