An OSCE usually comprises a circuit of short (5-10 minutes) stations, in which each candidate is examined on a one-to-one basis with one or two impartial examiner(s) and patients who are either real or simulated (actors or electronic patient simulators).
Each station has a different examiner; in comparison, the traditional method of clinical examination is when a candidate is assigned to an examiner for the entire examination. Candidates rotate through the stations, completing all the stations on their circuit. All candidates are assessed at the same stations.
The stations can be uniform, enabling better peer comparison, and complex procedures can be assessed without compromising patient health. The sum of the pass marks of all the stations determines the overall pass mark for the OSCE.
An OSCE is designed to be (a) objective
— all candidates are assessed using exactly the same stations with the same marking scheme, (b) structured
— stations have a very specific task, and involve (c) a clinical examination
— designed to apply clinical and theoretical knowledge.
In an OSCE, clinical skills are tested rather than pure theoretical knowledge. It is essential to learn correct clinical methods, and then practice repeatedly until the candidate perfects the methods whilst simultaneously developing an understanding of the underlying theory behind the methods used.
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Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Accessed on November 25, 2019.