Objective: To determine factors that predict success of candidates taking a revision course in preparation for the MRCP (UK) PACES (practical assessment of clinical examination skills) examination.
Design: A questionnaire survey of candidates attending a PACES revision course. Results were correlated with subsequent pass lists published by the Colleges of Physicians
Setting and subjects: Candidates attending courses in June and October 2002. In total, 523 candidates completed questionnaires, evenly balanced between UK and overseas graduates.
Results: Of 483 candidates who took the examination immediately after the course, 219 (45.3%) passed. UK graduates were more likely to pass (67.0%) than overseas graduates (26.2%) (p = 0.003, odds ratio 5.72). For UK graduates, pass rates were higher for white candidates (73%) than for ethnic minorities (56%) (p = 0.012, OR 2.15) and for those who passed at the first attempt in the MRCP (UK) part 2 written paper (p = 0.003, OR 2.90). For overseas graduates, those who had been qualified for less than eight years were more likely to pass (p = 0.001, OR 2.78). More overseas (45.7%) than UK (30.8%) graduates were confident that they would pass, but confidence did not predict success.
Conclusion: Among candidates taking a revision course, UK graduates are more likely to pass the PACES examination than non-UK graduates. Ethnic minority UK graduates seem to have a significantly poorer success rate, although this requires confirmation in an independent sample. If confirmed, these differences merit further investigation to assess whether they reflect genuine differences in ability.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Competing interests: all the authors are regular teachers on the PasTest PACES courses, and are paid for the teaching they provide. RB is a Course Director for PasTest.
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