Relationships between students' clinical experiences in introductory clinical courses and their performances on an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)

Acad Med. 1996 Aug;71(8):909-16. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199608000-00021.


Purpose: To elucidate the link between the quantity and quality of clinical exposure gained by first-year clinical students in hospital settings and their performance on a subsequent comprehensive assessment of clinical skills (the objective structured clinical examination, or OSCE).

Method: Data relating to educational activities and workload were collected for the second introductory clinical attachment undertaken by 152 (of 246) students in two British medical colleges prior to a joint comprehensive 22-station OSCE administered in May 1994. Pearson correlation coefficients were used as the main analytical tool to study the relationships between measures of clinical activity and total OSCE scores.

Results: In general, of 43 indices of the amount, nature, and quality of bedside, ward-based, or outpatient experience, only six correlated with OSCE scores. The strongest links were for whether students examined out-patients on their own (r = .2), whether the objectives had been made clear (r = .19) and the number of clinics attended (r = .18). Variables meeting the criteria were entered into a backwards stepwise regression analysis to predict total OSCE scores, but they explained only 23% of the variance.

Conclusion: The association between clinical experience and educational outcomes remains poorly understood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Manikins
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires