Part 2 Lounge

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Welcome to the Part 2 Lounge. Feel free to have a chat in the discussion room.


Part 2 Alumni

Passed March 06

Passed September 06

  • youngmg (passed July 06 - woohoo!)
  • tim (Passed July/Sep 06 - good luck eveyone)

Passed April/May 07

Passed July 07

Passed May 08

Passed Oct 08

  • DVDbuff Has a piece of paper that says he passed. Will not be filing an appeal....

Passed May 09

  • --Gord 19:57, 30 May 2009 (EDT)
  • Asclepius
  • --Damos 04:36, 2 Jun 2009 (EDT)
  • JamesJ (got the cecil gray prize, joint)
  • Drawnover 04:57, 7 Aug 2009 (EDT) and has been enjoying the new addition to the brood.
  • SG

Passed May 11

  • Gasmama 20:25, 29 May 2011 (EDT) OH MY GAWD! I DID IT!

MIA, fate unknown

Current part 2 candidates

Please add your name to the list (use ~~~) and indicate when you're sitting.

July 08

April 09

Rocket (april 09)

Aug 09

  • Gujarat (sitting in AUG 2009)

Mar 10

  • Andrew (sitting Mar 2010)
  • Gasmama 22:05, 9 Nov 2010 (EST)

A little present for those that follow

A few of us got together in the last few weeks before the April 2, 2007, paper to share our thoughts on the recently released 2004 papers. We agreed at the outset that we'd publish out opions, for what they are worth, after the quiz. The URLs are:

  1. March 2004 Consensus
  2. September 2004 Consensus
  3. New and unresolved questions

The google spreadsheet worked pretty well really, so at least I would encourage others to use them in their study groups if you choose not to actively participate in the wiki.

Erich 01:05, 5 Apr 2007 (EST)

== MCQ TOP TIP == This is just my opinion but if you really really do not know the answer to an MCQ then more often than not the longest worded answer is the correct one. Something to do with not being able to make up large sentences that are not true. Seemed to be true to UK exams and may be here also. Rocket

Concern over the possible misapplication of Point Biserial Coefficient (PBC) to assess “good questions”

Problem: there are many questions (including the actual published versions) where there is no “most correct” answer. An analogy would be:

Question X: Which is the best car manufacturer? A) Holden; B) Ford; C) Mazda D) Nissan. Obviously there is no “most correct” answer. Candidates, understandably, search exhaustively for the elusive piece of information which will clarify the answer.

Often these questions reappear. These questions often score good PBCs and are considered “good discriminators”. The examiners and candidates may think that, therefore, there must be a “most correct” answer because the better candidates are giving that response.

BUT this would be a misapplication of the PBC. The PBC is a test of reliability not validity. Let’s explore.

One of the very basic assumptions of the PBC is that there is one, and only one, demonstrably “most correct” answer. There must be no ambiguity regarding the “most correct” answer. If enough understanding and knowledge is acquired, ultimately there must be an unambiguous “most correct”. Additionally, the incorrect answers should be unambiguous in the reasons why they are incorrect. The PBC should never be used as a tool to gauge whether one answer is “more correct”.

But if there is truly no “most correct” answer, how does the question score a good PBC? The answer lies in how the PBC is calculated. The PBC is basically a correlation co-efficient. By definition it assesses a dichotomous outcome. In the case of the MCQ, whether the candidate answered the question correctly or incorrectly. In a five choice MCQ, all the 4 incorrect answers are grouped as incorrect. The PBC looks at whether there is a correlation between the better students (e.g. total exam score) and answering the pre-determined “most correct” answer.

In contrast to a simple true/false question, it is possible to have 2 or more answers that have a positive PBC. Indeed there may be an answer that is deemed “incorrect” by the College that actually has a higher PBC than the one deemed as “correct” by the College.

With a 5 option MCQ there are often: a completely silly option; two plausible options (but with more knowledge it could be seen that they are definitely incorrect); two options that are equally “most correct”. As long as there are some options which the less knowledgeable candidates select, the designated “most correct” answer will have a positive PBC. In fact it would be surprising to NOT get a good PBC in such a circumstance.

I genuinely believe that the College is motivated to make the exams as fair as possible. We are lucky that ANZCA (in contrast to some other Colleges) has motivated examiners that really want to provide a top quality exam. We should appreciate their enthusiasm and motivation.

Therefore, I think it reasonable that the College gives (at least) the following information:

What measures they use to assess the validity of a question prior to it being used in the exam;

Do they assess the PBC for each of the five options or only for the answer they have deemed “most correct”?

What degree of confidence (statistical that is) do they seek?

Do they accept all questions with a PBC of greater than 0, or another predetermined level such as greater than 0.2? It has been suggested that a PBC of less than 0.2 in a MCQ is less than satisfactory.

What correction factor do they use in light of the fact they perform the PBC 150 times for each exam.

In summary, there is a lot of angst generated by the substantial number of questions that don’t have a “most correct” answer. A good PBC does not make that less likely. Furthermore a good PBC may see the question used again.

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