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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 546-550

Structured oral examination in pharmacology for undergraduate medical students: Factors influencing its implementation

1 Department of ENT, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India
3 Department of Pediatrics, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ajeet Kumar Khilnani
Department of ENT, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.165182

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Objectives: The study aims to understand the process and factors influencing the implementation of structured oral examination (SOE) for undergraduate medical students; in comparison with conventional oral examination (COE) in pharmacology. Methods: In a randomized, parallel group study, 123 students of pharmacology were divided into two groups, SOE (n = 63) and COE (n = 60). Students of each group were subdivided into two, and four examiners took viva voce individually. Three sets of questionnaires from autonomic nervous system were prepared, each having 15 items with increasing difficulty levels and were validated by subject experts and pretested. Ten minutes were allotted for each student for each viva. Feedback of students and faculty about the novel method was obtained. Results: SOE yielded significantly lower marks as compared to COE. There were significant inter-examiner variations in marks awarded in SOE and COE. Other factors influencing implementation were difficulty in structuring viva, rigid time limits, lack of flexibility in knowledge content, monotony, and fatigue. The students perceived this format not different from COE but felt that it required in-depth preparation of topic. Faculty opined that SOE led to less drift from main topic and provided uniform coverage of topics in given time. Conclusion: Conducting SOE is a resource-intensive exercise. Despite structuring, inter-examiner variability was not completely eliminated. The students' performance was depended on factors related to examiners such as teaching experience, vernacular language used, and lack of training. Orientation and training of examiners in assessment strategies is necessary. Standardization of questionnaire is necessary before the implementation of SOE for summative assessment.


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