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First-year medical student objective structured clinical exam performance and specialty choice

Nicole J. Borges1, Katherine A. Backes*2, Bruce Binder3, Brenda Roman4
1Department of Community Health, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, Northwestern University, USA
3Department of Family Medicine, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, USA
4Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, USA
*Corresponding author
© 2013 Nicole J. Borges et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited.
Research article
Int J Med Educ. 2013; 4:38-40
Submitted: September 06, 2012; Accepted: January 26, 2013; Published: February 21, 2013
DOI: 10.5116/ijme.5103.b037

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The aim of this study was to determine if first-year physical exam and interview Objective Structured Clinical Examination scores differ for medical students entering person or technique-oriented specialties.


Objective Structured Clinical Examination physical exam and interview scores from 2004 to 2007 for first-year medical students (n=280) at one United States medical school were compared using t-tests based on specialty choice from this cohort of students.


T-test results (p<0.05) showed a significant difference in the mean physical exam (mean=92.85, sd=3.94) versus interview (mean=90.77, sd=6.76) scores for students entering person-oriented specialties (n=157, p<0.001). There was also a significant difference (p<0.05) in the mean physical exam (mean=93.46, sd=3.92) versus interview (mean=91.40, sd=5.75) scores for students entering technique-oriented specialties (n=123, p<0.001). Results indicate that physical exam scores are significantly higher than interview scores for students regardless of whether they enter person or technique-oriented specialties, except for psychiatry where interview scores were significantly higher than physical exam scores.


Subsequent studies are needed to better understand the relationship of Objective Structured Clinical Examination performance and specialty choice by medical students.

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