Interviewing for medical school on a rainy day may lower your changes of getting into medical school, according to a study published in  the Canadian Medical Association Journal (2009;181(12):933).

For the study, led by Donald Redelmeier, MD from the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, researchers analyzed the results of consecutive medical school interviews at the University of Toronto between 2004 and 2009. The study included a total of 2,926 candidates who were interviewed over a 6-year period.  The study revealed that those interviewed on rainy days received about a 1% lower score than those interviewed on sunny days. The pattern was consistent for both senior interviewers and junior interviewers. The study’s authors explained that psychology research suggests that interviews are prone to subconscious biases from extraneous factors unrelated to the candidate. While the study examined only one extraneous influence on mood, many additional factors, including ambiance, deportment, humour, and scent, may also affect mood.

“We found that such cognitive influences extend to candidate admission interviews at a Canadian medical school,” the authors concluded. “We suggest that an awareness of this fallibility might lead to more reasonable medical school admission practices.”