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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;988:159-180. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-56246-9_13.

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in Psychiatry Education: A Review of Its Role in Competency-Based Assessment.

Plakiotis C1,2,3,4.

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Monash Ageing Research Centre (MONARC), Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Monash Health, Aged Persons Mental Health Service, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Aged Psychiatry Academic Unit (Monash University), c/o Medical Administration, Kingston Centre, Warrigal Road, Cheltenham, VIC, 3192, Australia.


Over the last two decades, Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has become an increasingly important part of psychiatry education and assessment in the Australian context. A reappraisal of the evidence base regarding the use of OSCE in psychiatry is therefore timely. This paper reviews the literature regarding the use of OSCE as an assessment tool in both undergraduate and postgraduate psychiatry training settings. Suitable articles were identified using the search terms 'psychiatry AND OSCE' in the ERIC (educational) and PubMed (healthcare) databases and grouped according to their predominant focus: (1) the validity of OSCEs in psychiatry; (2) candidate preparation and other factors impacting on performance; and (3) special topics. The literature suggests that the OSCE has been widely adopted in psychiatry education, as a valid and reliable method of assessing psychiatric competencies that is acceptable to both learners and teachers alike. The limited evidence base regarding its validity for postgraduate psychiatry examinations suggests that more research is needed in this domain. Despite any shortcomings, OSCEs are currently ubiquitous in all areas of undergraduate and postgraduate medicine and proposing a better alternative for competency-based assessment is difficult. A critical question is whether OSCE is sufficient on its own to assess high-level consultancy skills, and aspects of professionalism and ethical practice, that are essential for effective specialist practice, or whether it needs to be supplemented by additional testing modalities.


Competency-based assessment; Medical education; OSCE; Objective structured clinical examination; Psychiatry education

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