Factors influencing medical students’ self-assessment of examination performance accuracy: A United Arab Emirates study

Sami Shaban, Elhadi H. Aburawi, Khalifa Elzubeir, Sambandam Elango, Margaret El-Zubeir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Assessment of one’s academic capabilities is essential to being an effective, self-directed, life-long learner. The primary objective of this study was to analyze self-assessment accuracy of medical students attending the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, by examining their ability to assess their own performance on an MCQ examination. Methods: 1st and 2nd year medical students (n = 235) self-assessed pre and post-examination performance were compared with objectively measured scores (actual examination performance). Associations between accuracy of score prediction (pre and post assessment), and students’ gender, year of education, perceived preparation, confidence and anxiety were also determined. Results: Expected mark correlated significantly with objectively assessed marks (r = 0.407; P < 0.01) but with low predictability (R2 = 0.166). The average objectively determined mark was 69% and the average expected mark was equivalent to 83%; indicating that students significantly overestimate their examination performance. Self-assessed pre-examination score range was significantly different between males and females (P < 0.05) with females expecting higher marks. Preparation and confidence correlated significantly with actual examination score (P < 0.05; r = 0.459 and 0.569 respectively). Discussion: Gender, self-reported preparation and confidence are associated with self-assessment accuracy. Findings reinforce existing evidence indicating that medical students are poor self-assessors. There are potentially multiple explanations for misjudgment of this multidimensional construct that require further investigation and change in learning cultures. The study offers clear targets for change aimed at optimizing self-assessment capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalEducation for Health: Change in Learning and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Confidence
  • Medical students
  • Preparation
  • Self-assessment accuracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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