Does undertaking a BSc improve subsequent results at a London Medical School?
Presented at: Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Annual Scientific Meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Does undertaking a BSc improve subsequent results at a London Medical School? M Howman, M Jones M Howman, Department of Primary Care and Population Health, Upper Third Floor, Royal Free Campus, Rowland Hill Street, London, NW3 2PF Background Intercalated BScs are an optional part of the Medical School curriculum in many Universities, at an added expense to both the student and the Medical School in terms of time and costs (approx £40,000). Does undertaking a BSc improve subsequent student performance? A systematic review has provided evidence that BScs probably improve subsequent performance but these studies have been flawed by BSc students being highly selected. This study looks at data from medical students after the introduction of compulsory BScs at one school. Aims and Objectives To compare first year clinical exam results from the Academic Year 2005/6 to see whether there is any difference in performance between students who had intercalated before or after the first clinical year. Methods A univariate analysis was performed on first year overall clinical results and also on individual exam components (OSCE, logbook and written paper). Results from a total of 382 students were compared. Graduate or transfer students (mainly Oxbridge) were excluded from the analysis. A general linear model was applied to adjust for differences between the two groups in terms of potential confounders (age, sex, nationality and baseline A level results). Results There was a mean difference in overall end of first year clinical exam scores of 3.8 (238.4 early Bask students vs 234.6 late, score range 145 to 272 out of 300), with the group which had taken the BSc scoring higher. This result was statistically significant (p=0.028) and remained so after adjusting for differences between the two groups as described above. Interestingly, whilst there was a significant improvement in written and logbook scores for those who had taken an early BSc, there was a borderline significant reduction in OSCE score. Conclusions Intercalated BScs produce a significant (though small) improvement in first year clinical exam results. This result is important as it is taken from a student group where BScs are compulsory so minimizes the issue of selection bias. This finding provides support for including BScs as a compulsory part of a medical degree; not only do they provide valuable research experience but they also appear to improve outcome in clinical exams. Larger studies are needed to see if this result is reproduced in other years and at other medical schools. References 1. Jones M, Singh S. Systematic review of the effect of intercalated BSc in medical education. ASME ASM 2008. 2. McManus IC, Richards P, Winde BC. Intercalated Degrees, learning styles and career preferences: prospective longitudinal study of UK medical students. BMJ 1999; 319:542-6 3. Riaz A, Howell S. Intercalated BSc degrees: why do students do them? The Clinical Teacher 2005; 2-72-6 4. Tait N, Marshall T. Is an intercalated BSc degree associated with higher marks in examinations during the clinical years? Med Education 1995; 29:216-9 5. Wyllie AH, Currie AR. The Edinburgh Intercalated honours BSc in pathology; evaluation of selection methods, undergraduate performance and postgraduate career BMJ 1986; 292:1646-8
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