Comprehensive analysis of theory exam question papers of 2nd MBBS Pharmacology subject in Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, India

Nagaraja Prasad Sai


Background: Assessment is the backbone of curriculum development and an important component of medical education. Written exams are frequently used in medical education and question papers are important instruments of assessment of medical education. The present study is summative question paper based analysis study where the content validity, level of cognition, cognitive domains, marks distribution and time weightage in theory question papers were analyzed.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of II MBBS pharmacology question papers (n=18) of RGUHS, Bengaluru from the year 2010 to 2018 was done. The data was analyzed according to modified Blooms levels of taxonomy, cognitive domains, areas of importance and weightage given to different topics in Paper 1 and 2 in comparison to university syllabus and with regard to time allotted in university syllabus.

Results: Analysis of question papers revealed that topics like GIT, respiratory system, uterine drugs, antiseptics and disinfectants, immunosuppressant were consistently underrepresented in question papers. Also, majority of questions (68.06%) did not have any verbs associated with Blooms level of taxonomy and hence did not meet criteria of standard question paper. Comparison of time allocation to weightage of topics in syllabus revealed no significant variations in percentage distribution.

Conclusions: Assessment in medical education should not be used merely for classification, grading and certification rather it should become an instrument for promoting growth of knowledge. For this the university should frame standard blueprint for question paper setters and the question paper setters should follow those guidelines strictly and ensure that weightage given for different topics is maintained.


Cognitive domain, Content validity, Question paper, Summative assessment, Undergraduate Curriculum (MBBS)

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