Learning approaches and performance of medical students

Rehana Rehman, Khalid Ahmed, Rabiya Rehan, Farheen Hassan, Fatima Syed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To identify the best assessment method for medical students with different learning approaches. Methods: The cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted at Bahria University Medical and Dental College, Karachi, from March 2010 to April 2011, and comprised first year medical students. The questionnaire was tailored from the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students on a five-point scale Deep approach, Surface apathetic approach and Strategic approach were assessed through relevant sub-scales. Response to questions was summed for the subscales and main scales for a learning approach. Mean scores for aggregate marks obtained by multiple choice questions, short answer questions, problem-based learning and objective structured physical examination were derived. Coefficient of variation was estimated to find the most reliable assessment method. Results: Of the 100 students enrolled, 98(98%) completed the study. Of them, 51(52%) were girls and 47(48%) were boys. Overall, 70(71.4%) students displayed Strategic approach, and 13(13.3%) showed Surface apathetic approach. Objective structured physical examination had the least variation (12.27) for all approaches whereas maximum variation (14.92) was observed by problem-based learning scores. Conclusion: Assessment by problem-based learning scores was able to demarcate deep learners whereas consistent scores were obtained by objective structured physical examination which failed to discriminate variance in performance by different learners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-202
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Learning approaches
  • Surface apathetic environment


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