gms | German Medical Science

Research in Medical Education – Chances and Challenges International Conference

20.05. - 22.05.2009, Heidelberg

Learning strategies and success in examinations

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Jana Jünger - Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Medizinische Klinik, Psychosomatische und Allgemeine Klinische Medizin, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Stefan Wagener - Medizinische Fakultät Heidelberg, Mentoren-Tutoren-Programm, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Jochen Schönemann - Medizinische Fakultät Heidelberg, Mentoren-Tutoren-Programm, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Jobst-Hendrik Schultz - Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Medizinische Klinik, Psychosomatische und Allgemeine Klinische Medizin, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Christoph Nikendei - Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Klinik für Psychosomatische und Allgemeine Medizin, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Andreas Möltner - Medizinische Fakultät Heidelberg, Kompetenzzentrum Prüfungen, Heidelberg, Germany

Research in Medical Education - Chances and Challenges 2009. Heidelberg, 20.-22.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09rmeI2

DOI: 10.3205/09rme50, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-09rme500

Published: May 5, 2009

© 2009 Jünger et al.
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Outline

Abstract

Aim of the study: The longitudinal study investigates the extent to which a medical student's learning strategies are connected to her success in the main medical assessments taken during study semesters 2, 3 and 4 (pre-clinical studies).

Methods: A survey amongst 1st and 2nd semester medical students at the University of Heidelberg was carried out during summer semester 2006 and winter semester 2006/2007. The “Inventar zur Erfassung von Lernstrategien im Studium” (an inventory to assess learing strategies; LIST, Wild & Schiefele, 1994) was used. Participation was voluntary. For the achieved point score in the exams (examinations each consisted of 90 A-type MC questions on the subject areas physiology, anatomy and biochemistry) correlations were identified using the 11 subscales from the LIST, a multiple regression analysis of the point scores on the subscales was also carried out.

Results: 443 students took part in the survey (74% return rate). 2nd semester exam results and the questionaires results of 250 students were available. 3rd and 4th semester written exam results and the questionaire results of 350 students were available. Correlations (p<0.05) between the subscales of the LIST and the points scored in the three examinations were only significant for the subscales “effort” and “attention” (lack of control over attention) (r = 0.270, 0.200 und 0.200 bzw. r=-0.221, -0.188, -0.191). Furthermore, the correlation between the subscale “elaboration” and success in the 2nd semester examination (r=-0.136) was significant as well as the subscale “critical examining” with success in the 4th semester examination (r=0.160).

A multiple regression analysis showed also an effect of “elaboration” in semesters 3 and 4, and of “critical examining” in semester 3. The variance components explained by the LIST scales of the results of the 3 examinations amounted to R2=0.166, 0.122, 0.138 respectively (corresponds to a correlation of r = 0.407, 0.349, 0.371)

Conclusion: All tested learning strategies had only a low to moderate effect on performance in examinations. “Effort” and “attention” proved to be the strongest independent predictors for success in examinations that cover a large portion of factual knowledge. This suggests that both these strategies are helpful for gaining factual knowledge. Additional learning strategies (“elaboration” and “critical examining” in particular) proved significant for students' success. Therefore it is not individual strategies that facilitate learning during pre-clinical studies, but rather a meaningful combination of several strategies.