Overview of OSCE

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is to evaluate whether or not pharmacy students have a certain level of skills and attitude objectively before beginning pharmacy practice.

OSCE is composed of one or two exams in the five areas shown below, and each exam is conducted by practical test or simulation test with standardized patients (SP).

Coverage and Number of Exams in OSCE

Category Number of Exams
1. Patients and/or Customer Interview 1
2. Pharmaceutical Preparation 2
3. Dispensing Inspection 1
4. Aseptic Operation 1
5. Drug Information and Medical Consultation 1

The exams for each school are randomly chosen from a pool of exams and students in the same school are tested using the same set of exams.

The tests should maintain impartiality, fairness and transparency. Each school must submit the implementation plans in their facilities, and monitoring personnel assess the plans in advance. Further, on the day of OSCE, they monitor the progress of the examinations.

Evaluation in OSCE

OSCE evaluation is performed by evaluators organized by faculty members of the relevant school, faculty members from other schools, and pharmacists from hospitals and community pharmacies.

Evaluation method is divided into two types. One is the detailed evaluation method that is based on a checklist (yes/no) spanning more than ten items. The other is the summary evaluation method to rate the overall performance of the student on six levels. For each exam, passing criteria is 1) the average number of “yes” on the checklist by the two evaluators is 70% or more in the detailed evaluation, and 2) the sum of rating points (1-6 point) by the two evaluators is 5 or more in the evaluation summary. A student must pass all six exams to be successful in the OSCE.

Training of Evaluators and Standardized Patients

The Pharmaceutical Common Achievement Tests Organization holds a workshop towards faculty members from all schools to standardize OSCE evaluation. Based on the workshop, each school has to hold a training session and candidates of evaluators should attend the session. Furthermore, each school must hold a training workshop just before the OSCE to minimize variability of evaluations among evaluators.

OSCE includes simulation test with standardized patients (SP), and each school has to train SP. SP training is conducted independently by each school or jointly by several schools.