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Succeeding in your OSCE

Tips on how to ace your clinical exams

  • By: Bhoresh Dhamija, Matt Green
  • Published: 16 April 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e1656
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e1656

The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a commonly used assessment tool in undergraduate medicine that is used to test a candidate’s core skills, understanding, and attitudes in a variety of settings. These can include:

Over the past 15 to 20 years there has been a change in emphasis on the examination approaches employed by the various royal colleges in the United Kingdom, which is reflected in undergraduate curriculums. Previously, too much focus was placed on a candidate’s achieving the correct level of factual knowledge, with less focus put on understanding medical conditions, on the ability to interpret a set of data alongside the candidate’s attitudes and beliefs, and on the ability to communicate with patients and colleagues.

Because of this, the OSCE was introduced. This form of examination is now used as an adjunct to more traditional assessment methods in medical schools, including multiple choice questions, extended matching questions,

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