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J Grad Med Educ. 2014 Sep;6(3):551-4. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-13-00365.1.

An End-of-Year Oral Examination for Internal Medicine Residents: An Assessment Tool for the Clinical Competency Committee.



Comprehensive evaluations of clinical competency consume a large amount of time and resources. An oral examination is a unique evaluation tool that can augment a global performance assessment by the Clinical Competency Committee (CCC).


We developed an oral examination to aid our CCC in evaluating resident performance.


We reviewed tools used in our internal medicine residency program and other training programs in our institution. A literature search failed to identify reports of a similar evaluation tool used in internal medicine programs. We developed and administered an internal medicine oral examination (IMOE) to our postgraduate year-1 and postgraduate year-2 internal medicine residents annually over a 3-year period. The results were used to enhance our CCC's discussion of overall resident performance. We estimated the costs in terms of faculty time away from patient care activities.


Of the 54 residents, 46 (86%) passed the IMOE on their first attempt. Of the 8 (14%) residents who failed, all but 1 successfully passed after a mentored study period and retest. Less than 0.1 annual full-time equivalent per faculty member was committed by most faculty involved, and the time spent on the IMOE replaced regular resident daily conference activities.


The results of the IMOE were added to other assessment tools and used by the CCC for a global assessment of resident performance. An oral examination is feasible in terms of cost and can be easily modified to fit the needs of various competency committees.

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