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Concept: Final examination


The aim of this study was to investigate whether advanced simulation parameters, such as simulation exam scores, number of student self-evaluations, time to complete the simulation, and time to complete self-evaluations, served as predictors of dental students' preclinical performance. Students from three consecutive classes (n=282) at one U.S. dental school completed advanced simulation training and exams within the first four months of their dental curriculum. The students then completed conventional preclinical instruction and exams in operative dentistry (OD) and fixed prosthodontics (FP) courses, taken during the first and second years of dental school, respectively. Two advanced simulation exam scores (ASES1 and ASES2) were tested as predictors of performance in the two preclinical courses based on final course grades. ASES1 and ASES2 were found to be predictors of OD and FP preclinical course grades. Other advanced simulation parameters were not significantly related to grades in the preclinical courses. These results highlight the value of an early psychomotor skills assessment in dentistry. Advanced simulation scores may allow early intervention in students' learning process and assist in efficient allocation of resources such as faculty coverage and tutor assignment.

Concepts: Final examination, Completeness, Resource allocation, Skill, Prosthodontics, Fixed prosthodontics, Learning, Education


This study examined the effects of exam length on student performance and cognitive fatigue in an undergraduate biology classroom. Exams tested higher order thinking skills. To test our hypothesis, we administered standard- and extended-length high-level exams to two populations of non-majors biology students. We gathered exam performance data between conditions as well as performance on the first and second half of exams within conditions. We showed that lengthier exams led to better performance on assessment items shared between conditions, possibly lending support to the spreading activation theory. It also led to greater performance on the final exam, lending support to the testing effect in creative problem solving. Lengthier exams did not result in lower performance due to fatiguing conditions, although students perceived subjective fatigue. Implications of these findings are discussed with respect to assessment practices.

Concepts: Psychology, Mind, Test, Creative problem solving, Final examination, Thought, Problem solving, Educational psychology


According to the schema-relatedness hypothesis, new experiences that make contact with existing schematic knowledge are more easily encoded and remembered than new experiences that do not. Here we investigate how real-life gains in schematic knowledge affect the neural correlates of episodic encoding, assessing medical students 3 months before and immediately after their final exams. Human participants were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging while encoding associative information that varied in relatedness to medical knowledge (face-diagnosis vs face-name pairs). As predicted, improvements in memory performance over time were greater for face-diagnosis pairs (high knowledge-relevance) than for face-name pairs (low knowledge-relevance). Improved memory for face-diagnosis pairs was associated with smaller subsequent memory effects in the anterior hippocampus, along with increased functional connectivity between the anterior hippocampus and left middle temporal gyrus, a region important for the retrieval of stored conceptual knowledge. The decrease in the anterior hippocampus subsequent memory effect correlated with knowledge accumulation, as independently assessed by a web-based learning platform with which participants studied for their final exam. These findings suggest that knowledge accumulation sculpts the neural networks associated with successful memory formation, and highlight close links between knowledge acquired during studying and basic neurocognitive processes that establish durable memories.

Concepts: Hippocampus, Cognition, Brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Final examination, Neuroscience, Memory


We report upon the design, content and feedback from an interactive, experiential series of Workshops in Healing for senior medical students. Fifty-six final year medical students enrolled in 2×3 h workshops designed around the core themes of ‘physician know thyself’ (Workshop 1) and ‘confronting suffering’ (Workshop 2). Of the 56 students who initially enrolled, 48 students completed both workshops and provided a written open-ended reflection of their learning experience. The study, undertaken over a consecutive 5-year period (2008-2012), employed an emergent, qualitative design using thematic analysis of the reflective comments. We found that the design and content of both workshops promoted transformative learning for these final year medical students. Students identified the following benefits: (1) the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to their chosen career path; (2) the value of listening to other students share their stories; (3) the importance of the timing of the workshops to occur after exams; (4) the use of various mediums such as art, poetry, music and contemporary/classic literature to present concepts of suffering and healing; and (5) the creation of a safe and confidential space. Students reported that these innovative workshops gave them a renewed sense of drive and enthusiasm for their chosen career. They highlighted the importance of addressing an aspect of medicine (healing) not covered in the traditional medical curriculum. Workshops in Healing helped them to rediscover a deeper meaning to medicine and their roles as future healthcare professionals.

Concepts: Workshop, Following, Reflection, Final examination, Emergent gameplay, Physician, Health care, Medicine


This study aimed to examine differences in socio-demographics and health behaviour between Belgian first year university students who attended all final course exams and those who did not. Secondly, this study aimed to identify weight and health behaviour related correlates of academic performance in those students who attended all course exams.

Concepts: Final examination, School terminology, Student, University


Academic procrastination is a prevalent phenomenon with a range of negative outcomes. Many studies focused on causes and correlates of academic procrastination; however, the study of interventions for academic procrastination is scarce. The present study is an initial effort to study the relationship between academic procrastination, online course participation, and achievement, as a basis for developing an intervention for academic procrastination. Findings indicated that studying procrastination was negatively associated with final exam grade as well as with the three online course participation measures. Final exam grade was positively associated with two of the online course participation measures, and they positively correlated with each other. In addition, results indicated that studying procrastination, in combination with online course participation measures, explained about 50% of variance in final exam’s grade. Frequency of activities in course Web site had the strongest positive effect on final exam’s grade. These findings strengthen the notion that studying procrastination is an impediment to students' academic performance and outcomes and clarifies the need to develop and study academic interventions for academic procrastination as a means to decrease its prevalence in academic settings.

Concepts: Prevalence, Final examination, Medical statistics


The Growth and Development (G&D) curriculum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry uses self-directed web-based learning modules in the place of lectures and includes scheduled self-study times during the 8 am-5 pm school hours. The aim of this study was to use direct observation to evaluate dental students' access patterns with the self-directed, web-based learning modules in relation to planned self-study time allocated across the curriculum, proximity to course examinations, and course performance. Module access for all 80 students in the DDS Class of 2014 was recorded for date and time across the four G&D courses. Module access data were used to determine likelihood of usage during scheduled time and frequency of usage in three timeframes: >7, 3 to 7, and 0 to 2 days before the final exam. The results showed a statistically significant difference in the likelihood of module access during scheduled time across the curriculum (p<0.0001). Among the students, 64% accessed modules at least once during scheduled time in G&D1, but only 10%, 19%, and 18% in G&D2, G&D3, and G&D4, respectively. For all courses, the proportion of module accesses was significantly higher 0-2 days before an exam compared to the other two timeframes. Module access also differed significantly within each timeframe across all four courses (p<0.001). There was no association between module access and course performance. In this non-traditional, non-lecture, self-directed curriculum, students rarely accessed learning modules during syllabus-budgeted self-study time and accessed modules more frequently as course exams approached.

Concepts: Module, North Carolina, Examinations, Final examination, Statistical significance, Microsoft Access, Education


There has been a recent move toward active learning pedagogies in veterinary education, with increasing use of a blended approach that incorporates both online resources and live classroom sessions. In this study, an established veterinary pre-clinical course in introductory animal health was transitioned from a traditional didactic lecture delivery mode to a flipped classroom approach with core content delivered online. This study compared the experiences of two cohorts of students who studied the same course in the different formats in consecutive years. Online learning resources included short video segments and a variety of short problems and activities. Online materials were complemented with weekly small- group case-based learning classes facilitated by academic staff. A mixed methods evaluation strategy was applied using student grades, surveys, and focus groups to compare student academic performance, satisfaction and engagement between the two cohorts. The flipped classroom cohort achieved significantly higher grades in the written answer section of the final examination. Student satisfaction with learning resources was also higher in this cohort. However, satisfaction with other aspects of the course were largely the same for both cohorts. This study revealed some of the challenges associated with achieving adequate student preparation for class using online resources. The outcomes of this study have implications for veterinary educators considering the design and development of new online learning resources.

Concepts: Final examination, Cultural studies, Veterinary medicine, Educational psychology, University, Education


Biochemistry and physiology teachers from veterinary faculties in Hannover, Budapest, and Lublin prepared innovative, computer-based, integrative clinical case scenarios as optional learning materials for teaching and learning in basic sciences. These learning materials were designed to enhance attention and increase interest and intrinsic motivation for learning, thus strengthening autonomous, active, and self-directed learning. We investigated learning progress and success by administering a pre-test before exposure to the virtual patients (vetVIP) cases, offered vetVIP cases alongside regular biochemistry courses, and then administered a complementary post-test. We analyzed improvement in cohort performance and level of confidence in rating questions. Results of the performance in biochemistry examinations in 2014, 2015, and 2016 were correlated with the use of and performance in vetVIP cases throughout biochemistry courses in Hannover. Surveys of students reflected that interactive cases helped them understand the relevance of basic sciences in veterinary education. Differences between identical pre- and post-tests revealed knowledge improvement (correct answers: +28% in Hannover, +9% in Lublin) and enhanced confidence in decision making (“I don’t know” answers: -20% in Hannover, -7.5% in Lublin). High case usage and voluntary participation (use of vetVIP cases in Hannover and Lublin >70%, Budapest <1%; response rates in pre-test 72% and post-test 48%) indicated a good increase in motivation for the subject of biochemistry. Despite increased motivation, there was only a weak correlation between performance in final exams and performance in the vetVIP cases. Case-based e-learning could be extended and generated cases should be shared across veterinary faculties.

Concepts: Case, Psychology, Examinations, Motivation, Education, Final examination, Educational psychology


At the time of school-age, the most frequent stress stimuli are related to school environment and educational process. Anxiety may play a big role in coping with stressful situations associated with school load. To approach this issue, we performed a real-life study at school during the classwork. The sample consisted of 36 healthy children aged 10 years, which were divided to low and high trait anxiety group based on the median value of the anxiety score. The investigations were carried out in the classroom during a stress condition (final exams) and non-stress condition (without any exam). In the whole sample, the condition with exam was associated with higher cortisol and lower testosterone concentrations in saliva compared to the condition without exam. The activity of salivary alpha-amylase increased at the end of the exam. Anxious children showed higher concentrations of aldosterone and lower activity of alpha-amylase compared to children with low trait anxiety. Cortisol levels were higher in anxious children in the first morning samples before starting the lessons. Children with high and low trait anxiety did not differ in extraversion, neuroticism, as well as non-verbal intelligence and school success. Thus, the anxious children at school showed a more rapid decrease of anticipatory stress-induced cortisol concentrations, higher aldosterone levels, and lower alpha-amylase activities compared to non-anxious children. These changes, particularly high concentrations of aldosterone in children with high trait anxiety, may have an impact on their psychophysiological development.

Concepts: Final examination, Philosophy of life, Neuroendocrine, Psychology, Anxiety, Neuroticism