Preparation for a Postgraduate Specialty Examination by Medical Students in Turkey: Processes and Sources of Anxiety


Teaching and Learning in Medicine, vol.27, no.1, pp.27-36, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10401334.2014.979186
  • Journal Name: Teaching and Learning in Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.27-36
  • Keywords: internship, trait anxiety level, specialty exam, PERFORMANCE, COURSES, STRESS
  • Lokman Hekim University Affiliated: No


© 2015, Copyright © 2015, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.Phenomenon: Interns in Turkey must endeavor to study for a specialty exam during their internship. The preparation process for the specialty exam and the effect of this process on the students’ anxiety has not been studied comprehensively. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the interns’ preparation time for the specialty exam, their perception of how the preparation process affects their training, and which factors are related to their test anxiety. Approach: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 6th-year students (interns). A questionnaire asked participants to report health status, academic achievement, exam-related anxiety, and trait anxiety. Two open-ended questions asked about views regarding the specialty exam. Multiple linear regression was used to identify the significant predictors of anxiety level due to the exam. Findings: The average duration of exam preparations of participating interns (n = 214) was 16.8 months and 14.3 hours/week. Participating interns’ health status, economic level, perception of academic achievement, time allocated to study for the exam, time remaining until the exam, and trait anxiety level demonstrated a relationship with anxiety level due to the exam (R =.35, R2 =.13, p <.001). In the open-ended questions, the most frequent opinion regarding the importance of the Examination for Specialty in Medicine was “Value attributed to specialization” (43%). The most frequent response regarding the contribution of studying for the specialty exam to their general professional skills was “Rehearsal/recall.” Insights: Participating interns spent an appreciable amount of time preparing for the specialty exam. Although participating interns value this exam, they appear to believe that preparing for it will contribute only moderately to their professional competencies, while increasing their anxiety level. The internship curriculum, requirements, and timing of the specialty exam should be reconsidered.