Women overtake men in med school exam pass rate in Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry building

More women than men passed the entrance exam for Japanese medical schools for the 2021 academic year that started in April, it has been learned.

An Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry survey found the average pass rate for women was 13.6%, 0.09 percentage point higher than the men’s average score.

This is the first time for women to surpass men in the acceptance rate since the 2013 academic year, for which comparable data is available.

In 2018, Tokyo Medical University was found to have uniformly lowered entrance exam scores for female applicants, thus limiting women’s enrollment. In response to the exam-rigging scandal, the ministry conducted a survey that same year on the acceptance rates of men and women at 81 medical schools across the nation from the 2013 through 2018 academic years.

The ministry has since conducted a similar survey each year and made the data publicly available.

The survey showed the average exam pass rate for the 2021 academic year was 13.6% for women and 13.51% for men, with 43,243 female and 62,325 male applicants.

Forty-two universities reported higher pass rates for women than men, including Hokkaido University, Nagoya University, Jikei University School of Medicine, Nihon University and Nippon Medical School.

The average pass rate for the 2013-2018 entrance exams was 9.55% for women and 11.25% for men, resulting in a difference of 1.7 percentage points.

The increase in the acceptance rate for women for the 2021 academic year is believed to be a result of efforts to address irregularities at the universities.