Introduction The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is now an accepted tool in the assessment of clinical skills in dentistry. There are however no strict or limiting guidelines on the types of scenario that are used in the OSCE examinations and experience and experimentation will inevitably result in the refinement of the OSCE as a tool for assessment. Aim The aim of this study was to compare and contrast different types of clinical operative skills scenarios in multi-station OSCE examinations. Methodology Student feedback was obtained immediately after the sitting of an OSCE examination on two different occasions (and two different cohorts of students). The same questionnaire was used to elicit the responses. Results The questionnaire feedback was analysed qualitatively with particular regard to student perception of the usefulness and validity of the two different kinds of OSCE scenarios. Conclusions OSCE scenarios which involve phantom heads are perceived to lack clinical authenticity, and are inappropriate for the assessment of certain clinical operative skills. While the OSCE is useful in the examination of diagnostic, interpretation and treatment planning skills, it has apparent limitations in the examination of invasive operative procedures.
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