What medical students with better academic results do: a cross-sectional analysis
Keywords: 
Medical education
Undergraduate education
Academic performance
Learning Approach
Student Engagement
Motivation
Intrinsic Value
Self-regulation
Issue Date: 
2023
ISSN: 
1472-6920
Citation: 
Urrizola-Martínez, A. (Amaia); Santiago, R.; Gea-Sánchez, A. (Alfredo); et al. "What medical students with better academic results do: a cross-sectional analysis". BMC Medical Education. 23 (1), 2023, 19
Abstract
Background With university material doubling over time, medical students need to learn how to become successful life-long learners. Overall a Deep Approach (DA) to learning, and Self-Regulation (SR) skills are among the elements with a potential to accelerate learning, and Student Engagement (SE) has been associated with better university outcomes. However, specific recommendations concerning what students should do are lacking. The aim of this study was to identify above-average students' specific attitudes and strategies toward learning. Methods A cross-sectional analysis of the answers to the validated questionnaires Revised Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F), SE, and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) of 155 s and third-year students included in a prospective interventional study in the University of Navarre in September 2020 was performed. Students were stratified according to their standardized average mean in above-average (mean > 0) and below-average (mean <= 0). Results Overall, 67.1% of students scored higher in DA than in Surface Approach (SA) and had very high Intrinsic Value (IV, median 5.9). A higher proportion of above-average students had DA > SA score (72.7% vs 57.1%, p = 0.05), and showed higher scores in SR (median 4.9 vs 4.3, p = 0.007) compared to below-average, while the latter scored higher in SA (median 24.5 vs 23, p = 0.04), and surface motive (median 11 vs 9, p = 0.007). No differences were found in SE, and both groups had average scores in the cooperative dimension. Differences were rooted to hard work, interest over material and prioritizing understanding over rote-learning motives and aligned strategies. Conclusions Curricula design and assessment should be aligned to promote DA and SR skills among learners. Furthermore, it is paramount that teachers help instill students with interest over material and encourage understanding and hard work, since are traits associated with better results. More studies concerning metacognition and other promising traits for becoming life-long learners and prepared professionals should be made.

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