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Med Student Clinic Attendance Boosts Overall Exam Scores

Findings based on medical students' attendance at non-mandatory clinical and tutorial activities

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Attendance at clinical and tutorial-based activities is positively correlated with overall examination scores for fourth-year medical students, according to a study published in the Dec. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

Richard P. Deane, M.B., B.Ch., and Deirdre J. Murphy, M.D., both from University of Dublin, assessed student attendance at 26 clinical and 38 tutorial-based activities (non-mandatory) for 147 fourth-year medical students who completed an obstetrics/gynecology rotation during a single academic year.

The researchers found that the mean attendance rate was 89 percent. Attendance rates were significantly lower for male students (84 percent; P = 0.001) and students who failed an end-of-year examination previously (84 percent; P = 0.04). Attendance (at both clinical and tutorial activities) and overall examination scores were positively correlated (P < 0.001 for both). Only students with attendance rates of 80 percent or higher achieved distinction grades, and the odds of a distinction grade increased with each 10 percent increase in attendance (adjusted odds ratio, 5.52). Students with attendance rates lower than 80 percent accounted for the majority of failing grades, with an adjusted odds ratio for failure of 0.11.

"Further research is needed to understand whether the relationship is causal, and whether improving attendance rates can improve academic performance," the authors conclude.

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