PHARMACY STUDENTS’ OPINIONS OF USING MOCK QUESTIONS TO PREPARE FOR SUMMATIVE EXAMINATIONS
Objective: Mock questions are thought to benefit to students through help with learning, revealing specific areas of learning difficulties, practice examination timing and aiding a higher mark in the examination. The literature suggests practice questions have a direct impact on students’ academic performance and improving examination confidence.
The aim of the study was to gather opinions of pharmacy students on using mock examinations and practice questions to prepare for summative examinations.
Methods: Paper based questionnaires were distributed to all fourth year pharmacy students at the start of a university scheduled workshop session. The data was transcribed onto a Microsoft Excel™ spreadsheet and analysed.
Results: Out of all fourth year pharmacy students 73% completed the questionnaire of which 91% had received access to mock questions but only 92% of those who had access used them. Common themes were identified; the benefits of using mock questions were ‘knowledge’, ‘examination style’ and ‘identification of weaknesses’. Furthermore, most participants chose ‘Year 3 Calculations exam’ (62%) as the most useful summative examination for which to use mock questions.
Conclusion: Mock questions have a place in improving the performance of pharmacy students in examinations. The study results showed that the majority of participants who used mock questions found them to be useful in promoting learning, revealing specific areas of learning difficulties, improving awareness of examination structure, practicing their ability to apply knowledge to questions under examination conditions and to motivate students to revise more using better strategies.
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