Core Medical Science
Although medical sciences courses are mainly taught in the School of Biological Sciences, 2nd MB examinations are the responsibility of the School of Clinical Medicine. The Second MB examinations are taken in June in the first (MVST 1A) and second (MVST 1B) years. CGC students take only two of the three sections – the multiple choice questions on the lecture courses (Section I) and the practicals (Section II). Details of the timetables for the examinations and specimen papers are found on the Faculty of Biology website.
A range of formative and summative assessments are in place using a variety of methodologies. All assessments are produced and marked according to validated standard-setting and marking techniques. Information about individual assessments and the theory underpinning them is discussed with students in a series of ‘Demystifying Assessment’ sessions, designed to remove some of the ‘myths and legends’ that often surround exams!
Formative assessments provide an important opportunity for students and staff to check on a student’s progress and to ensure targets are being met. They provide feedback that can then be acted upon to further improve performance and remedy any deficits in knowledge and/or skills. Summative assessments are also used to monitor progress, but unlike formative assessments they require a minimum level of performance to be achieved to allow progression on the course. In essence, they serve as checkpoints that must be cleared to continue to the next stage. For the most part, formative assessments tend to occur at the end of placements, while summative assessments are typically held at the end of each academic year, but there is some overlap.
Assessment occurs at the end of each clinical placement and may include the result of observation of student performance by the multidisciplinary clinical team together with more formal assessments such as written tests, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE’s), or Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercises (Mini-CEX’s) organised by the clinical team. The assessment methods for each course component are determined by the Deanery team in consultation with Specialty Directors and Theme Co-ordinators; they are explained to students in the information published in the Demystifying Assessment section of MedEd.
At the start of Years 2, 3 and 4, all students have a one-to-one Progress Interview with a senior member of the academic teaching staff to review progress during the previous year, and to identify any concerns and set goals for the following year.
Student Selected Components
Throughout the course, each Student Selected Component (SSC) is assessed by SSC supervisors in a way designed to be most appropriate to the activity concerned. There is an SSC Portfolio which must be completed satisfactorily before entry to the Final MB Part III examinations.
For each year of the course, assessment results are recorded in a written report. A Placement Record for each student is completed at the end of individual placements by the Specialty Director, regional hospital Undergraduate Specialty Tutor or responsible consultant.
Evaluation criteria are as follows:
Attendance: Determined for each placement as appropriate by the Specialty Director.
O = Outstanding: in addition to ”Pass” qualities – demonstrates commitment and enthusiasm and a willingness to do more than expected; responds well and quickly under pressure; exceptional depth and breadth of subject knowledge; behaviour shows a high degree of consideration for patients.
P = Pass: demonstrates interest and a willingness to learn; has a good grasp of core subject knowledge and skills; is organised; works well within the team; behaviour shows appropriate respect for patients.
B = Borderline: contributes relatively little other than being present, has only minimal subject knowledge; is poorly organised – does not work well within the team or fails to engage; behaviour towards patients gives cause for concern.
F = Fail: Lacks interest and makes no effort to learn, demonstrates very little subject knowledge; is a disruptive member of the team; appearance/manner suggests unacceptable behaviour towards patients.
Year 1 and 2 Assessments (including Final MB Part I)
At the end of Year 1 there is a formative OSCE, and a Single Best Answer paper.
Final MB Part I
Year 2 concludes with Final MB Part I comprising:
- Written Test: Single Best Answer questions covering all of the major clinical specialties represented in Year 4, including Pathology;
- Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE): a series of not less than 10 stations designed to assess skills in three areas: Practical Skills, Clinical Examination and Communication Skills.
Year 3 Assessments (including Final MB Part II)
There are a series of practical skills that match to the 32 GMC Outcomes for Doctors Practical Procedures. You will be expected to be competent at all of these skills by the end of Year 3 and your competence will be assessed in various ways, including via repeated observation and feedback.
Year 3 concludes with Final MB Part II comprising:
- Written Test: Single Best Answer questions with a focus on, but not restricted to, the clinical specialties represented in Year 3, including Pathology, and an Extended Clinical Cases paper
- Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE): a series of stations designed to assess clinical skills in the clinical subjects studied in Year 3, with a focus on Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Year 4 Assessments
All students submit a report on their elective the purposes of which are to:
- Provide a detailed record of the elective period;
- Provide experience in presentation of considered written work;
- Contribute to data bank of elective opportunities for succeeding generations of students;
- Be assessed for ‘best elective report’ award.
Students whose progress is not satisfactory in the main Year 6 placements are brought to the attention of the Clinical Dean so that additional support may be organised if required.
Situational Judgement Test
All Year 4 students sit the national Situational Judgement Test as part of their application to the UK Foundation Programme.
Prescribing Safety Assessment
Students must pass the national Prescribing Safety Assessment.
Final MB Part III
The Final MB Part III examination is designed to assess:
- Knowledge and experience of Medicine and Surgery in their widest sense;
- Ability to apply that knowledge and experience to the management of patients;
- Ability to communicate effectively with patients and to respect their autonomy;
- Knowledge and experience of ethical and legal principles relevant to clinical medicine.
Final MB Part III is divided into four components:
- Written papers to be taken in December of Year 4
- Component 1: 2 x Single Best Answer (SBA) papers –questions covering all of the major clinical specialties represented in Year 6, including Pathology
- Component 2:Structured Essay Question (SEQ) –covering Public Health and Medical Ethics and Law, and Professionalism
- Clinical Assessments to be taken in April/May of Year 4
- Component 3:Simulated Clinical Encounter Examination (SCEE) ;
- Component 4:Clinical Examination (CE) –candidates may be asked to interpret radiographs and scans, electrocardiograms, clinical photographs and other clinical data.
Performance is reported as Pass with Distinction’, ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’. Exceptional performance is also recognised by the award of prizes.