now that i'm finished my exams for semester 1 and am back home for christmas (woo!) i thought i'd just give you a brief overview of the kind of exams you might get in medical school, as the way that you are assessed was one of the big questions i had before i started. bear in mind though, that not all medical schools will have identical exam styles, and so this isn't designed to tell you everything you will need to know, just a quick guide.
Multiple Choice Exams - these are exactly what they say on the tin - you get given a question, a selection of answers and you have to choose the right one. there are two types of multiple choice question, one where you get one question per selection of answers, and another where you are presented with several questions to one set of answers. be warned though - these aren't as easy as they sound because most of the time, they will also sound similar and vaguely familiar, so you really do have to have an idea of the topic to get them right.
Short Written Answer Exams - these will be your typical exam papers that you will be used to - each question will be broken down into several parts, each requiring either a short answer (up to about 3 or 4 marks) or something a bit different like a calculation or a diagram. part of me prefers these exams to the MCQ exams, because there is a wider range of correct answers and there will be a small amount of freedom given by the marker, although these exams are a bit more work and so are more tiring to prepare for.
Observed Structured Clinical/Practical Exams (OSCE/OSPE) - these will be assessing your clinical skills and, at least at my med school, there may be assessment of any independent study you had to hand in during the semester. there will be several stations set up in the room, how many there are depends on your medical school, and you will rotate around them according to a set amount of time, performing each skill according to the instructions you are given. if you have had an interview in the multiple mini interview format, this is what they are modeled on.
Anatomy Practical Exams - i don't know whether all medical schools do these exams, so i'll just touch on them quickly. during APEs, you will be presented with prosections and anatomical models, and asked to point to specific areas of anatomy that you have studied previously. our APEs don't count for a large proportion of our module grades, but they are still quite important.
i hope this has been useful for you guys to read, and do let me know of any posts you would like to see. i have a few ideas of my own, but i'd like to tailor my blog to what my readers want to see!
until next time,