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Medical Students’ NBME Subject Exam Preparation Habits and Their Predictive Effects on Actual Scores
Megan Litzau, Angellar Manguvo, Jennifer Quaintance, Stefanie Ellison
UMKC School of Medicine
80
Primary Resource Utilization
60
LIMITATIONS
Beha. Sci.
Int. Med.
OBGYN
INTRODUCTION
• Students consistently score lower on NBME subject
exams as compared to internal exams.
• There is little empirical-based knowledge on NBME
subject exam preparation.
• This study investigated NBME subject exam preparation
habits and their predictive effects on actual scores.
Study Strategy Employed
Strategy
Conceptualization
Concept mapping
Graphic representation
Writing in own words
Rote Learning
Mnemonics
Repetition
Not at all% S/Times%
43
39
17
26
27
19
CONCLUSIONS
Secondary/Tertiary Resource Utilization
40
Beha. Sci.
Int. Med.
OBGYN
Psych.
Surgery
Peds.
20
0
Int.
Assigned
lecture
texts
mat.
USMLE
World
Case files First Aid
90
70
50
30
10
RESULTS
• Study designed as a survey
• Respondents were from a single medical school
• Only 60 students completed the survey
Peds.
0
60
• Sixty medical students were surveyed at UMKC on overall
preparation time, differential biases in preparation,
resources utilization, study strategies, and help-seeking
trends when relating to NBME subject exam preparation.
• Survey responses were linked with actual scores.
• Multiple regression analyses were conducted to
determine predictive effects of the dependent variables.
Surgery
20
80
METHODS
Psych.
40
Pre-test
series
Non-ass. Blueprints Comm.
texts
test prep.
courses
• Differential biases in preparation exist based on choice of
specialty and NRMP MATCH
• Students use few perceivably reliable resources.
• Students prefer question banks and review books more
than text books.
• Students prefer memorization and mock exam rehearsal
compared to cooperative learning and conceptualization.
• None of the study variables (preparation time, helpseeking, resource usage, and study strategies) predicted
actual scores.
Help-seeking trends
FUTURE DIRECTIONS
• Survey students from multiple medical schools
Often%
V.Often%
SOURCES
19
20
43
12
14
21
• Leff, B., & Harper, G. M. (2006). The reading habits of medicine clerks at
one medical school: frequency, usefulness, and difficulties. Academic
medicine,81(5), 489-494.
• Shirar, et al. (1992). A survey of study methods, preparation time, test-taking
strategies, and perceptions of test validity on a clinical performance-based
examination. Academic Medicine,67(10), S10-2.
• Veale et a. (2011). Comparison of student performance on internally
prepared clerkship examinations and NBME subject
examinations. Canadian Medical Education Journal, 2(2), 81-85.
• Wenger et al. (2009). Medical student study habits: practice questions
help exam scores. Journal of International Association of Medical
Science Educators, 19(4), 170-172.
2
0
32
18
34
33
34
49
Cooperative Learning
Peer quizzing
Peer teaching
28
26
33
32
23
35
16
7
Mock Exam Rehearsal
Q&A practice
sessions
2
12
22
64
Predictive Effects on NBME Subject Exam Scores
Model 1-Help-Seeking
Model 2-Preparedness
Model 3-Resource Usage
Model 4-Study Strategies
Mock Exam Rehearsal
Rote Memorization
Conceptualization
Co-operative Learning
R2
Change in R2
.042
.101
.164
.327
.042
.065
.057
.163
β
Sig
.203 .277
.256 .172
.239 .195
.336
.194
.162
.042
.141
.321
.469
.829

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