Anxiety and performance in a structured objective clinical examination of undergraduate physical therapy students

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Exam anxiety is a common experience among healthcare students, and this phenomenon is accentuated during evaluations such as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). This study aimed to examine the relationship between anxiety and undergraduate students' performance on an OSCE. A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted among physical therapy students at Andrés Bello University in Chile, specifically in the Physical Agents course, employing the OSCE. Prior to the examination, students' anxiety levels were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The odds ratio and correlations were analyzed to investigate the relationship between anxiety and OSCE performance. The passing score for the exam was established at 39 points out of a maximum of 55. The study analyzed the OSCE performance of 113 students, revealing an average score of 41.6 (SD±6.6) and a passing rate of 61%. Among the participants, 61 were evaluated for state anxiety and 68 for trait anxiety. However, the odds ratio did not demonstrate significance for state anxiety (STAI-S: 0.49, 95% CI: 0.23,1.05, p=0.06) or trait anxiety (STAI-T: 1.49, 95% CI: 0.68,3.33, p=0.99). The absence of significant correlations between anxiety and performance confirmed this. Despite its high prevalence among students, anxiety did not emerge as a risk factor for failing the OSCE. Moreover, there were no discernible gender differences in anxiety levels and performance correlations. Exploring other influential variables and employing regression models to assess their impact on OSCE performance is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Pharmacy Education and Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Academic performance
  • Anxiety
  • Clinical competence
  • Performance anxiety
  • Physical therapy specialty
  • Undergraduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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