The Mock OSCE took place at NMUH on Tuesday 24th January for final year UCL Medics. Sarah Pucknell Charles Spady, the rest of the Academic Centre and helpers should be congratulated for all their hard work and of course the patients and examiners thanked for their time in participating.

Today I facilitated a feedback session in which anonymous feedback was given by the students through polleverywhere.com. It is free to use and I recommend its use (other software is available)

Part I will be of interest to NMUH teachers indicating poor performing station. I have tabulated the performance of the stations and student  responses.

If any NMUH examiners would like to send any other points about their station please send to be direct to Sarah Pocknell.

There are a number of points that the students talked about that will be considered for actioning for the next Mock.

Part II  has a list of anonymised  “suboptimal students” are less than the previous group. These students have been informed by me and their Educational Supervisors are at hand to help in any remedial learning,

Any comments to me directly through e-mail but cc Sarah Pocknell , Charles Spady and Paul Maxwell.

The results of these formative exams for this year will be compared to the students results in the final exam and this will be discussed at the NMUH Undergraduate Education Board meeting in due course


OSCE Station performance


Station % Fail % Borderline
History Taking 0 8.3
Cardiology 0 8.3
Respiratory 0 4.2
Abdomen 0 16.7
Neurology 8.3 58.3
Locomotor 0 25
Surgical 4.2 16.7
Professional 0 16.7
Resus 20.8 0
Death confirmation 4.2 20.8
SSO04 Discharge and Hand Exam 4.2 16.7
Cannulation & prescribing 4.2 12.5
Radiology & Data interpretation 0 62.5


 Student feedback

Did it go as planned    44%  Yes   56% No

How did you feel during the session

Sweaty hands

Crushing central chest pain

Anxious beforehand, settled into it. Felt it was beneficial

Pleasantly surprised

Nervous, stressed. Great learning opportunity to practice

More nervous while presenting to examiners than interacting with patient

Stressed out

Nervous on the short stations. Also felt I made more slips towards the end when getting tired

 What did you learn from the session

 Learnt what to expect from long case history and exam

Describe what you see.

Practice long stations more

Discovered strengths an weaknesses, will allow ne to focus on revision

History station is chill

Doing the exam well is not enough

It was useful to practice different stations. Learned to ignore the examiners and just get on with it

Learn some resp

Areas to focus revision – esp. presentation

Revise neuro long stations

don’t let previous stations throw you

Examiners were more helpful than anticipated

Need to practise formally and concisely presenting

Need to learn how to present

Need to work on my presentation skills. Also it is ok to take your time and breathe.


If you were doing it again what would you do differently?

 Would have a clear structure for my history would have practised presenting exam finding succinctly

Prepare more, remain calm

Would have asked for obs again in emergency station to give me time to think

Relax more. Present fully, don’t let examiners facial expressions put me off

Not rush exams to finish in time at the expense of picking up signs

Practise presenting more to consultants and SpRs who are more likely to grill you than F1s do

Read the briefs properly so I knew how long each station was

I would take my time when presenting and speak slower

Wear my glasses

Revise more. Take more time. Breathe.


What improvement would you make to the Mock OSCE

It was such a good learning opportunity. I think we should have 2 and not just 1. Then we get a chance to work on improvements and

Have the blurbs outside so you have reading time and time to think what you are doing before you walk in. It also wasn’t an entirely obvious.

Sheet outside explaining the station.

Some brief were unclear eg the neuro cerebellar one wasn’t clear what I was doing.

Specific point – clearer brief in MSK exam

Circuit route so a couple of times my station started quite a bit before I got there

Clearer brief for neuro station

Clearer brief also in neuro/cerebellum exam

Get feedback again before the real OSCE.

More stations. The Mock OSCE history station was easier than I feel UCL exams will be. No questions were asked which I am sure will be in UCL exam.

Correcting timings for stations

Less interruption by the examiner.

More time for feedback

E-mail of people borderline sent out after mark scheme given

Part II

The Mocks are there to give important formative assessment and feedback so the student can reflect on areas for additional learning and practice. Whilst all stations gave verbal feedback Sarah Pocknell  will give out the paper feedback from those examiners that completed them.

My assessment of the group is slightly different as I have for some years been looking at the number of stationed borderline and failed(as above) and in doing this tried to assess “suboptimal performance” of individuals and suggesting remedial support.

I have used a number of cut offs in the past depending on each groups overall performance in the Mocks. Unlike the final exam I ask examiners to indicate Borderline (for BP and BF).

 For this group  the cut off I have taken as 1 or more fails with 3 or more Borderline

Time ID Borderline Fail
AM A 3 1
AM B 2 2
PM C 4 1
AM D 4 1
PM E 5 1
PM F 6 1
AM G 5 3

The aim is to particularly suggest that these students meet up with their Educational Supervisor and /or discuss with Sarah Pocknell (Sarah.Pocknell@nhs.net) additional learning opportunities

This does not mean the others should rest on their laurels . The Mock OSCE is an opportunity to reflect on the event and work out ways to address any needs and make good use of all learning opportunities. So :-

  • Learn for yourself or in small groups.
  • Contact your educational supervisor to meet and discuss
  • Ask Sarah for specific area were you think you should improve
  • Discuss with Charles or Dr Maxwell any areas of concern you would like help with
  • and any areas Dr Gillibrand and myself can help you out or put you in the right direction contact through the usual means.

As an end note please do not leave comments here but examiners , examinees and others can send comments to johnfirth@nhs.net and copy to Sarah.Pocknell@nhs.net