Article Text

How well do doctors think they perform on the General Medical Council's Tests of Competence pilot examinations? A cross-sectional study
  1. Leila Mehdizadeh1,
  2. Alison Sturrock1,
  3. Gil Myers1,
  4. Yasmin Khatib2,
  5. Jane Dacre3
  1. 1Division of UCL Medical School, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Centre for Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  3. 3Division of UCL Medical School, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leila Mehdizadeh; l.mehdizadeh{at}


Objective To investigate how accurately doctors estimated their performance on the General Medical Council's Tests of Competence pilot examinations.

Design A cross-sectional survey design using a questionnaire method.

Setting University College London Medical School.

Participants 524 medical doctors working in a range of clinical specialties between foundation year two and consultant level.

Main outcome measures Estimated and actual total scores on a knowledge test and Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

Results The pattern of results for OSCE performance differed from the results for knowledge test performance. The majority of doctors significantly underestimated their OSCE performance. Whereas estimated knowledge test performance differed between high and low performers. Those who did particularly well significantly underestimated their knowledge test performance (t (196)=−7.70, p<0.01) and those who did less well significantly overestimated (t (172)=6.09, p<0.01). There were also significant differences between estimated and/or actual performance by gender, ethnicity and region of Primary Medical Qualification.

Conclusions Doctors were more accurate in predicating their knowledge test performance than their OSCE performance. The association between estimated and actual knowledge test performance supports the established differences between high and low performers described in the behavioural sciences literature. This was not the case for the OSCE. The implications of the results to the revalidation process are discussed.

  • Education & Training (see Medical Education & Training)
  • Medical Education & Training
  • Statistics & Research Methods

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