Perception of OSCE Examination in Iraqi Undergraduate Medical Students


background: The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is an approach to student assessment in which aspects of clinical competence are evaluated in a comprehensive, consistent and structured manner, with close attention to the objectivity of the process.Aims: This study aims to evaluate students‟ perception about the fairness, objectivity, comprehensiveness and overall organization and administration of OSCE in the 4th year medical students.Methods: 24-item questionnaire was used to gather data regarding perception of students about the quality of OSCE, its fairness and its organization. A 5-point Likert scale, with responses ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” was used. Students were asked post exam questions related to positive and negative aspects of the OSCE and to do suggestions for improvement.Results: Out of 71 eligible medical students, 66 (92.9%) completed the survey questionnaire. A sizable proportion of 59.1% of the respondents agreed that OSCE was well administered. 51.5% of the students agreed that the objectives of clinical courses were covered. Significant percent of students 61.8% agreed to the facilitators‟ behavior.36, 4% of the respondents stated that the time allocated for each station was not adequate. 79.4% of the respondents felt that OSCE allowed them to compensate in some areas of their weakness. Great majority of students 81.9% regarded OSCE as a practical and useful assessment tool in early years of medical education.Discussion: It is assumed that overloading the students by trying to assess too many skill subsets of performance at a single station, and inadequate practice at being examined in the OSCE format might have contributed to the dissatisfaction with the time allocation.Conclusion and recommendations: OSCE exam covers most of the objectives of the students, clinical rotation. However, at some stations the students felt that instructions were ambiguous and time allocation was inadequate for the assigned tasks. The overall feedback was very useful and facilitated a critical review of the process. Our recommendations are; increasing the duration of stations especially for history taking and cardiac auscultation, modifying the administration of the OSCE aiming at reducing the waiting time especially for the students in the last batch, ensuring clear instructions, having real patients for the expected tasks, and finally more training with the OSCE.Keywords: OSCE, perception, medical students.