What the OSCE involves

Although the OSCE can initially seem daunting, the more you know what to expect, the more prepared you will feel. Use this information to familiarise yourself with what is involved.

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The OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) is an exam format that is widely used by medical professions. It is a way of testing the practical skills of trainees in an objective way.

The OSCE consists of 16 short tasks, known as stations. Every station lasts for five minutes and you will do each one in turn. There is also a five minute rest station in the exam so you have a chance to catch your breath.

During the OSCE you may be tested on any of the 75 GOC elements of competence covered at Stage 1. The examiners are looking for evidence that you understand the theory behind each element of competence and can apply it in a practical clinical setting.

Stations are organised into four different categories and are designed to assess different skills. The four different categories of station are:

  • clinical examination and practical skills
  • communication
  • data interpretation
  • history taking.

The OSCE is very different in format from the Stage 1 and Stage 2 assessments but it covers the same elements of competence. Watch the video and remember to read through all of the essential information to gain an understanding of what is involved.


Essential information

Example referral letter template for candidates

Candidates may be required to make a referral during the Final Assessment OSCE. This is an example of the form candidates will need to complete.

OSCE candidate guidance

More information about the final assessment, including format, content and what you need to know on the day.

Sample OSCE station

An example of the instructions given to candidates, examiners and the patient at an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination).

OSCE overview and application process

More information about the final assessment - OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) - and the application process.

Sample OSCE mark sheet

Sample mark sheet for the final assessment - OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination).



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