Aims Peer-graded practice examinations can help medical students to achieve higher results in their final exams (1), and peer-led exam revision courses have demonstrated high levels of satisfaction (2,3). Surveys show that the majority of medical students find exam practice provided by recent graduates as useful as consultant teaching (3). Our aim is to present our experience, over a 2 year period, of designing and implementing a practice Objective Structured Skills Examination (OSCE) in paediatrics, run by junior doctors from foundation year one to ST4 level, collating feedback from students and making improvements.
Methods 6 medical students have their paediatric placement every 4 weeks. During the 4th week, 5 members of staff run a 90-minute OSCE, consisting of 8 examined stations. 2 history-taking, 2 clinical skills, 2 counselling and 2 data-interpretation stations were designed, reflecting real life clinical situations as well as common exam scenarios. Stations were followed by 90 seconds of immediate individual verbal feedback by examiners who also took up roles of the actors in their scenarios. The OSCE was designed as 2 consecutive cycles of stations and ended with a group question and answer session and feedback forms.
Results We have collated written feedback from each student since September, 2012. The majority of students reported finding the OSCE useful exam preparation and something that they would recommend. We then asked the students to complete a further feedback questionnaire 1 year later, once they had completed their paediatric OSCE examination and 100% of respondents replied that the practice examination had been useful preparation for their final exams.
Conclusion We can show high levels of satisfaction from participants. The detailed feedback process enabled us to improve the exam, creating a useful revision aid, and an invaluable teaching tool. This process has been easy to implement, using junior doctors available from the rota in an extremely busy Major Acute Trust, without consultant supervision. It has been maintained despite the frequent turnover of junior doctors. We hope to use this model as a template for similar hospitals.
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