To the point: reviews in medical education—the Objective Structured Clinical Examination

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Abstract

This article, the eighth in the To the Point Series prepared by the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Undergraduate Medical Education Committee, discusses the effectiveness of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) for assessment of learners' knowledge, skills, and behaviors. The OSCE has also been used for the appraisal of residents and physicians undergoing licensure examinations; herein we focus on its application to undergraduate medical education. We review evidence for best practices and recommendations on effective use of the OSCE and requirements for and challenges to its implementation, including creative ways to design an OSCE program with a limited budget. We discuss its role in providing formative and summative feedback and describe learner performance on the OSCE as the OSCE relates to subsequent testing, including US Medical Licensing Examination step 1. A representative case with assessment used at the authors' medical schools is included.

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