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Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2018 Sep;46(5):472-477. doi: 10.1002/bmb.21171.

"Test-enhanced" focused self-directed learning after the teaching modules in biochemistry.

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Department of Biochemistry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India 605006.
Department of Biochemistry, Government Sivagangai Medical College, Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu, India 630561.


Focused self-directed learning is very much essential at present in medical education to catch-up with the increasing information load. Cognitive psychology laboratory studies show that repeated testing of information produces superior retention relative to repeated study. The overall goal of this intervention was to evaluate the effectiveness of "Test enhanced learning" in the form of "Open book examination" as a formative assessment in Biochemistry when compared to "Self-study." Three exercises were carried out after the regular teaching sessions on different topics in biochemistry for the first year MBBS students. A multiple choice questions based pretest was conducted after the regular lecture classes on a topic but before the revision exercise. The students were subjected "Open book examination" with short answer questions for a period of 1 hour. A posttest was done with the same set of MCQs after the revision exercises. The gain score of "Open book examination" was compared with that of "Self study." Feedback from the students was taken. The isolated results from each of the three exercises conducted and their combined results supported the hypothesis that "Test enhanced learning" in the form of open book examination is a superior form of learning process than self-study for assimilation of knowledge. Most of the students opined that the "Open book examination" enhanced their self directed focused learning process. The students felt that "Open book examination" is more beneficial than "Self study" in reinforcing the learning concepts after regular didactic lectures.


Test-enhanced learning; formative assessment; open-book examination; self-directed learning

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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