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Objective Structured Clinical Examination Test: Comparison with Traditional Clinical Examinations

Ojuka Daniel, Nyaim Elly, Kiptoon Dan, Ndaguatha Peter

​Department of Surgery, University of Nairobi

Correspondence to: Dr. Ojuka Daniel, P.O Box 30197-00100, Nairobi. Email:


Background: Examination methods change over time, and audits are useful for quality assurance and improvement. Objective: Comparison of traditional clinical tests and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE) at the department of surgery. Methodology: Examination records of results of the fifth year MBChB examinations for 2012–2013 (traditional) and results for 2014–2015 OSCE were analysed. The pass rate for the clinical examinations in each year was calculated and these figures were subjected to the t-test to determine if there were significant differences between the 2 years and type of clinical test. P-value of <0.05 was used to determine significant statistical differences in the test score. Results: We analysed 1,178 results; OSCE had a slightly higher numberof students (55.6%). The average clinical scores examinations were 59.7% for traditional vs 60.1% for OSCE, with significant difference in means between OSCE and traditional examination (p =0.001). The stations that tested physical performance, such as physical examination and basic surgical skills, were positively skewed. Conclusion: OSCE in the same setting of teaching and examiners may award more marks than the traditional clinical examination, and is better at detecting areas of inadequacies to be emphasised in teaching.

Key words: Clinical examination, traditional, OSCE, comparison

Ann Afr Surg. 2020; 17(2):***


Conflicts of Interest: None

Funding: None

© 2020 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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