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Afr J Med Med Sci. 2000 Sep-Dec;29(3-4):201-5.

A comparative study of students' performance in preclinical physiology assessed by multiple choice and short essay questions.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.


This study was designed to compare the performance of medical students in physiology when assessed by multiple choice questions (MCQs) and short essay questions (SEQs). The study also examined the influence of factors such as age, sex, O/level grades and JAMB scores on performance in the MCQs and SEQs. A structured questionnaire was administered to 264 medical students' four months before the Part I MBBS examination. Apart from personal data of each student, the questionnaire sought information on the JAMB scores and GCE O' Level grades of each student in English Language, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. The physiology syllabus was divided into five parts and the students were administered separate examinations (tests) on each part. Each test consisted of MCQs and SEQs. The performance in MCQs and SEQs were compared. Also, the effects of JAMB scores and GCE O/level grades on the performance in both the MCQs and SEQs were assessed. The results showed that the students performed better in all MCQ tests than in the SEQs. JAMB scores and O' level English Language grade had no significant effect on students' performance in MCQs and SEQs. However O' level grades in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics had significant effects on performance in MCQs and SEQs. Inadequate knowledge of physiology and inability to present information in a logical sequence are believed to be major factors contributing to the poorer performance in the SEQs compared with MCQs. In view of the finding of significant association between performance in MCQs and SEQs and GCE O/level grades in science subjects and mathematics, it was recommended that both JAMB results and the GCE results in the four O/level subjects above may be considered when selecting candidates for admission into the medical schools.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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