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Trickcyclists OSCE stations

Consideration has been given to the chosen format for OSCEs geared towards the new CASC exam. The current format of the OSCEs available on the site adopts the scoring method used by North American institutions and permits calculation of the pass mark for the exam as well as reflecting a truly objective method of assessment.

However, the scoring scheme does not reflect that used by the Royal College and there are advantages in adopting a consistent and 'objective' format when revising for, and training for, the CASC exam.

Format of the new CASC OSCEs

Each OSCE will have a number of components:

  1. The OSCE 'construct'
  2. Instructions for the candidate
  3. Instructions for the role player
  4. Marking sheet
  5. Examiner's Briefing Notes
  6. List of equipment needed

As a candidate, you will only be given #2. However, the construct and the examiner's briefing notes will be very relevant to how you should approach the station. The construct indicates what the purpose of the station is and will probably reflect one of the general categories for OSCE stations (e.g. communication/ examination skills/ etc.) For example, an OSCE on assessment and risk assessment will describe the purpose of the OSCE as: "Candidates are expected to demonstrate an ability to assess risk to self and others from a competent assessment of mental state and relevant social factors".

Examiners are given information on how to rate performance in the additional 'Briefing Notes' which will give additional information on the construct of the station. The briefing notes may explain the areas that the candidate is expected to cover and are particularly relevant for examiners who may be assessing OSCEs out with their own specialty area.

Redesigning the marksheet for OSCEs

In order to address a variety of goals, one of the most important being an educational objective rather than mirroring the CASC exam, the marksheet will eventually be redesigned as follows:

  1. Five domains for each station will be chosen, the first of which will be communication. The rest will be adapted from the Colleges 'areas of concern'.
  2. Weighting (totalling 100%) will be applied to each domain.
  3. The examiners' Briefing Notes will make specific suggestions on skills/ objectives to be demonstrated for each domain.
  4. Whilst marking sheets will adopt an A-D scheme for rating, a numerical score will also be applicable.
  5. A total score of 100 for the station will be determined.

Calculating the pass mark

To calculate the pass mark for OSCEs from, the following method is chosen:

  • The mean score of all students scoring a global rating of 'C' (equivalent to 'borderline pass' on the old schem) on each station becomes the pass mark for this station
  • The mean scores on all stations are summed and this becomes the pass mark for the overall examination

Exam Blueprints

Usually, in order to ensure that there is a good balance of questions, a blueprint needs to be designed. An example blank one can be found here. The idea is that you place ticks in the respective boxes, so that you have questions that test your key areas (i.e. history taking, practical skills, etc.) and that your main learning areas (i.e. depression, anxiety, psychosis, etc.) are all covered as well.

It is very likely that the CASC exam will be focusing on a much narrower range of skills than the Part I OSCE and the expectation will be that more 'basic' skills and competencies will have been tested in the workplace-based assessments.