Background: The national board exam for residents in Iran is held in two parts: Multiple-choice and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The OSCE is a suitable method for evaluation of residents' clinical qualifications. However, it requires experienced human resources, accurate planning, facilities and reliable evaluation tools.

Objective: To determine the challenges of the OSCE National Board Exam in Iran.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on all the final-year pediatrics and gynecology residents of Mashhad University of Medical Science, who participated in the board exam in September 2014. A questionnaire was designed to evaluate the residents’ opinion on challenges of the OSCE. Data was analyzed with SPSS16. We used U Mann–Whitney test independent t-test, and Pearson correlation coefficient.

Results: Fourteen pediatrics and eleven gynecology residents participated. In the gynecology group, there was no significant statistical correlation between the individual marks and questionnaire scores. However, in the pediatrics group, there was a significant correlation (p=0.046, r=-0.763). Based on pediatrics residents’ perspective, the main challenge of the OSCE part of the exam was the imbalance and disproportion between the allowed time and the task load in each exam stage. In other words, they believed that the tasks could not be fulfilled in the given time. In the gynecology group, the main challenge reported was the delay in announcing the exam results. In the pediatrics group, the main complaint was the disproportion of the allowed time and the task load in the exam stages. 

Conclusion: Some of the challenges of the board exam were associated with the examiners and the exam environment, and some of them were related to the home university where the candidates had studied. To solve the problems, both aspects should be considered.


Keywords: Resident, Board exam, OSCE, Pediatrics, Gynecology
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