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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 75-81

Factors influencing medical students' self-assessment of examination performance accuracy: A United Arab Emirates study

1 Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE
2 Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE
3 Department of Psychiatry, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Woodlands Hospital, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK

Correspondence Address:
Margaret El-Zubeir
Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, P. O. Box 17666, Al Ain
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.188688

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Background: Assessment of one's academic capabilities is essential to being an effective, self-directed, life-long learner. The primary objective of this study was to analyze self-assessment accuracy of medical students attending the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, by examining their ability to assess their own performance on an MCQ examination. Methods: 1 st and 2 nd year medical students (n = 235) self-assessed pre and post-examination performance were compared with objectively measured scores (actual examination performance). Associations between accuracy of score prediction (pre and post assessment), and students' gender, year of education, perceived preparation, confidence and anxiety were also determined. Results: Expected mark correlated significantly with objectively assessed marks (r = 0.407; P < 0.01) but with low predictability (R 2 = 0.166). The average objectively determined mark was 69% and the average expected mark was equivalent to 83%; indicating that students significantly overestimate their examination performance. Self-assessed pre-examination score range was significantly different between males and females (P < 0.05) with females expecting higher marks. Preparation and confidence correlated significantly with actual examination score (P < 0.05; r = 0.459 and 0.569 respectively). Discussion: Gender, self-reported preparation and confidence are associated with self-assessment accuracy. Findings reinforce existing evidence indicating that medical students are poor self-assessors. There are potentially multiple explanations for misjudgment of this multidimensional construct that require further investigation and change in learning cultures. The study offers clear targets for change aimed at optimizing self-assessment capabilities.

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