Creating an Online Medical Degree Exam for Psychiatry

Medical students have to do a psychiatry clerkship during their training. At the end of their psychiatric clerkship they have to take their final examination on psychiatry for their medical degree. This exam consists of three parts. First they’ll have to interview a patient. This interview is being watched and rated by a psychiatrist on several competencies such as interpersonal and communicational skills, and professionalism. Next they have to discuss this patient with the same psychiatrist to test their clinical reasoning in psychiatry and usually they are being questioned in this same exam about psychiatry at large, as a kind of theoretical exam on psychiatry. Especially this last bit of the examination meets a lot of critique: most specialists asks questions about their own hobbyhorses and the objectivity is also questioned during this exam.

Since recent we’re creating an online exam. This could meet the critique about objectivity and the lack of broad theoretical questioning during oral examination. Online because medical students follow their psychiatric clerkship in several different locations, different hospitals and community setting.

That’s were the video above comes in. With online examination a lot of media such as video, pictures etc. can be used for questioning. The video above is from the movie American Beauty. I used a fragment for a question about personality disorders. The medical students have to fill in the most probable personality disorder depicted in a short video clip of about 4 minutes. The scene was to big to upload but you probably have some idea. A lot of questions have to be made on all topics in psychiatry. During examination a random sample is selected from a large database consisting of almost 300 questions. Making these questions with short videos is also an excuse to watch old good movies again.

Besides video clips and pictures a lot of case presentations are used and multiple choice questions. Any additional sources, suggestions, examples are appreciated, let me know in the comments.