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Problem-Based Learning Curriculum a Success for Medical School

Care" courses focus on building students' clinical skills, increasing their understanding of health care and introducing psychosocial issues.

After they complete these two years, students participate in a restructured third and fourth year. The third-year students complete seven required clerkships including child health, internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, neurology and psychiatry. The fourth and final year consists of required an elective rotations.

Some researchers have suggested that increases in students' performance in PBL style curriculums are because students spend an increased amount of time in formal learning activities and with faculty. However, at MU the amount of time spent in these activities decreased with PBL. These results also can not be explained by the selection of students with academically superior science knowledge or aptitude for taking multiple-choice examples. The differences in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) verbal scores are not sufficient to account for the differences in medical licensing exam scores.

"Before, students were highly successful and did just fine," Hosokawa said. "But having a medical practice is fun, so learning how to be a doctor should also be fun. For decades it was drudgery; now we have a found a more enjoyable way for students to learn the material."

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