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Quiz gaming competitions for undergraduate medical students: Questioning the MediQuiz

R Barthakur, R Srivastava, S Thourani, M Kumar Thourani, S Dawka

Abstract


Many medical schools worldwide incorporate a quiz competition centered around medical subjects as part of their extracurricular activities. This ‘MediQuiz’ is distinct from scheduled formal curricular quiz assessments, and is usually characterized by festive informality, as a quizmaster conducts it on stage before an audience Studies have shown that such quiz games promote active learning, and provide motivational impetus. They also enhance meaningful knowledge retention by igniting interest and placing theoretical subjects in a real-world perspective. Questions about medical subjects can be either ‘interesting’ (general knowledge or ‘trivia’), or ‘useful’ (suitable for a viva voce assessment). For the purposes of this study (and to avoid cognitive bias) these have been classed as extracurricular and curricular questions. This study polled students at five such quizzes and attempts to find out the optimal balance of education and entertainment that quizmasters should aim for. It also assessed students’ perceptions of stress, bias, equity, usefulness and relevance of such ‘edutainment’ exercises. That game-styled quiz competitions based on curricular subjects can be an effective tool to increase interest and motivation and enhance learning is established beyond doubt. Students overall preferred a predominance of questions from outside their textbooks over examination-type questions. This preference for extracurricular questions was slightly stronger among the audience, in students with prior quiz experience, and among foreign students and male students. Participants reported that stress levels were very high on stage, but felt it to be character building as they also learnt to deal with anxiety, to work as a team and to develop a healthy competitive spirit. Most of the audience felt that the mediquiz showed that learning could be fun.

Key words: Mediquiz; Medical school; Mauritius; Questionnaire; Medical quiz game; Extracurricular question




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