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Evaluation of a postgraduate examination for primary care: perceptions and performance of general practitioner trainers in the multiple choice paper of the Membership Examination of the Royal College of General Practitioners

By Hilton Dixon, Carol Blow, Bill Irish, Paul Milne and A. Niroshan Siriwardena

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the performance of a sample of general practitioner (GP) trainers in the multiple choice paper (MCP) of the Membership Examination\ud of the Royal College of General Practitioners\ud (MRCGP) and to obtain their views of the content of the paper and its relevance to general practice using a written\ud knowledge test and self-administered questionnaire.\ud The participants were volunteer GP trainers in the Northern, Wessex, Kent, Education for Primary Care (2007) 18: 165–72 # 2007 Radcliffe Publishing Limited\ud WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN IN THIS AREA\ud . Feedback from GP registrar candidates sitting the multiple choice paper (MCP)\ud suggests that the paper has good face and content validity, although pressure of time\ud is a problem.\ud . Candidates find the questions in the paper challenging but most believe they assess\ud common or important problems in general practice.\ud WHAT THIS WORK ADDS\ud . Most trainers in this study believed that the paper assessed knowledge of common or\ud important topics relevant to general practice, that the majority of questions were\ud appropriate, clear and unambiguous and that time pressure was not a problem.\ud . Trainers in this study performed significantly better overall compared to registrars and\ud did so without making prior preparation.\ud SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH\ud . Repeating the study with non-trainer GPs could provide further information on the\ud validity of the MCP as an applied knowledge test appropriate for established GPs\ud taking the MRCGP as well as those nearing completion of training\ud Keywords: attitudes, examination, general practice trainers, MRCGP,\ud Surrey and Sussex (KSS) and Northwest\ud deaneries of the UK. The trainers completed\ud a shortened version of an MRCGP\ud MCP paper under examination conditions\ud and provided feedback immediately afterwards.\ud Of 191 trainers invited to participate, 86\ud (45%) sat the paper and of these, 81 completed\ud the questionnaire. Most trainers\ud believed that the paper assessed knowledge\ud of common or important topics relevant to\ud general practice, that the majority of questions\ud were appropriate, clear and unambiguous\ud and that time pressure was not a problem.\ud Trainers performed significantly better\ud compared to registrars overall, and in\ud questions on medicine related to general\ud practice and practice administration but\ud not research methodology or critical\ud appraisal. They did so without making\ud prior preparation.\ud The findings from this group of trainers\ud lend support to the face validity and content\ud validity of the MRCGP MCP examination\ud as an assessment of applied knowledge\ud of general practice

Topics: L510 Health & Welfare
Publisher: Radcliffe
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:740

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