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Medical Student Dissection of Cadavers Improves Performance on Practical Exams but not on the NBME Anatomy Subject Exam

By Leslie Sargent Jones PhD, Lance E. Paulman PhD, Raj Thandani MS and Louis Terracio PhD


We have examined whether cadaver dissection by first year medical students (MIs) affected their performance in two test measures: the NBME Gross Anatomy and Embryology Subject Exam (dissection-relevant questions only), and practical exams given at the end of each major section within the course. The dissections for the entire course were divided into 18 regional dissection units and each student was assigned to dissect one third of the regional units; the other two-thirds of the material was learned from the partner-prosected cadavers. Performance for each student on the exams was then assessed as a function of the regions those students actually dissected. While the results indicated a small performance advantage for MIs answering questions on material they had dissected on the NBME Subject Exam questions relevant to dissection (78-88% of total exam), the results were not statistically significant. However, a similar, small performance advantage on the course practical exams was highly significant

Topics: MEO Peer Reviewed
Year: 2001
OAI identifier:

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