Role of the examiner

Assessment of clinical competence is a critical task which allows decisions to be made on whether students can progress on to higher levels of study or medical qualification. The General Medical Council emphasises the importance of objectively assessing the performance of medical students. Potentially patients could be placed at risk if a candidate is considered to be competent but actually have not met the satisfactory standard of practice.

Therefore examiners play a vital role in this process in delivering a reliable and fair assessment process. In general the roles of an OSCE examiner include:

  • Contribution to the overall good conduct of the examination
  • Awareness of the examination process
  • Attendance at training for their role as an examiner
  • Be attentive to candidates as soon as they enter the station
  • Careful observation of the candidates' performance
  • Score according to the marking schedule provided
  • Only prompt the student as required and indicated on their marking schedule or examiner instructions
  • Maintenance of a passive demeanour
  • Prevention of students encroaching on other students' 'time'
  • Mobile phones should be switched off or on silent mode
  • Upholding the confidentiality of the OSCE mark sheet content
  • Restriction of unnecessary noise to a minimum
  • Refrain from commenting about a candidate's performance to the simulated patient

Important tips

OSCEs are long days - so take regular refreshment breaks throughout the day. There may be more than one circuit running at one time - so over coffee breaks talk to the other examiners who are marking the same station.

If you have any concerns or uncertainties please speak to the faculty staff who will be present throughout the OSCE. Turn up in good time for the OSCE!