Assessment for selection in medicine and the health professions should follow the same quality assurance processes as in-course assessment. The literature on selection is limited and is not strongly theoretical or conceptual. For written testing, there is evidence of the predictive validity of Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for medical school and licensing examination performance. There is also evidence for the predictive validity of grade point average, particularly in combination with MCAT for graduate entry but little evidence about the predictive validity of school leaver scores. Interviews have not been shown to be robust selection measures. Studies of multiple mini-interviews have indicated good predictive validity and reliability. Of other measures used in selection, only the growing interest in personality testing appears to warrant future work. Widening access to medical and health professional programmes is an increasing priority and relates to the social accountability mandate of medical and health professional schools. While traditional selection measures do discriminate against various population groups, there is little evidence on the effect of non-traditional measures in widening access. Preparation and outreach programmes show most promise. In summary, the areas of consensus for assessment for selection are small in number. Recommendations for future action focus on the adoption of principles of good assessment and curriculum alignment, use of multi-method programmatic approaches, development of interdisciplinary frameworks and utilisation of sophisticated measurement models. The social accountability mandate of medical and health professional schools demands that social inclusion, workforce issues and widening of access are embedded in the principles of good assessment for selection.