The French council of state has cancelled the results of the 1995 third-cycle medical exams for interns in northern and southern France because of procedural irregularities.
The council upheld the complaint of a candidate who failed the diagnostics and therapeutics exam and alleged that the questions had not been selected at random as laid down by the law.
Roland Seif, one of 2,500 not to get through, has also filed a suit with the penal court alleging fraud in the selection.
Statistical probability lies behind the council's decision. Of the 12 subjects selected from the 428 in the database, six for the exam in northern France and two in the south came from one of the 49 that were added to the programme in 1993.
Moreover, four of the questions came up in both sets of exams, the council said in its decision.
The Conseil National du Concours d'Internat is now drawing up a series of proposals to compensate the 4,500 student doctors.
This may include cash and a fresh exam, a council official said. It will be up to education minister Jack Lang to decide.