Introduction: Medical students in Iran are required to undertake a Basic Sciences Comprehensive Exam (BSCE) at the end of their BS course in order to progress to the next stage of medical education. BSCE results are widely used to evaluate medical education programs among different medical universities. The aim of this study is to explore the correlation between BSCE results and students’ mean BS course scores.

Methods: A cross-sectional study, using secondary data analysis, was carried out in 2007 in Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences (HUMS) in Iran. Data from the 20th BSCE (held in 1998) to the 36th BSCE (held in 2006) was collected. All medical students who took these exams and for whom the mean results of the BS course and the BSCE were available were eligible for inclusion in the study. For each medical student, data were obtained regarding age at the time of participation in BSCE, together with sex, entrance year, zone as categorised by the national quota system, mean BS course scores, BSCE result, duration of BS course (number of semesters) and number of failed semesters. Students whose data was not complete were excluded from the study. Data was analysed by using SPSS 15 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) software.

Results: 372 students undertook the BSCE during the research study period. Complete data was available for 365 medical students (98.1%). Among the participants, 224 (61.4%) were female and 141 (38.6%) were male. The mean age at the time of sitting the BSCE was 22.01±1.22. Mean BSCE scores were higher among students who had not previously failed a semester and who also finished the BS course within five semesters. Students with higher BS course scores had higher BSCE scores (P=0.000).

Conclusions: Students’ BS course scores were found to correlate to BSCE results. Hence it may be prudent to identify medical students with low BS course scores, in order to provide additional educational support to improve their medical knowledge and thereby enhance their performance on the BSCE.

Key words: Basic Science Comprehensive Exam (BSCE); Medical education; Medical students; Educational Programs
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