Evaluation of the Prescribing Skills Assessment implementation, performance and medical student experience in Australia and New Zealand

Paul K.L. Chin*, Kellie Charles, Bridin Murnion, Treasure M. McGuire, Sarah N. Hilmer, Jennifer Martin, David Reith, David Joyce, Catherine Lucas, Nick Holford, Richard Day, Jennifer Schneider, Matthew Doogue, Catherine H. Han, Sarah Herd, Claire Harrison, Deborah O'Mara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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The UK Prescribing Safety Assessment was modified for use in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) as the Prescribing Skills Assessment (PSA). We investigated the implementation, student performance and acceptability of the ANZ PSA for final-year medical students. 


This study used a mixed-method approach involving student data (n = 6440) for 2017–2019 (PSA overall score and 8 domain subscores). Data were also aggregated by medical school and included student evaluation survey results. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and multivariate analyses. The pass rate was established by a modified Angoff method. Thematic analyses of open-ended survey comments were conducted. 


The average pass rate was slightly higher in 2017 (89%) which used a different examination to 2018 (85%) and 2019 (86%). Little difference was identified between schools for the PSA overall performance or domain subscores. There was low intercorrelation between subscores. Most students provided positive feedback about the PSA regarding the interface and clarity of questions, but an average of 35% reported insufficient time for completion. Further, 70% on average felt unprepared by their school curricula for the PSA, which is in part explained by the low prescribing experience; 69% reported completing ≤10 prescriptions during training. 


The ANZ PSA was associated with high pass rates and acceptability, although student preparedness was highlighted as a concern for further investigation. We demonstrate how a collaboration of medical schools can adapt a medical education assessment resource (UK PSA) as a means for fulfilling an unmet need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3105-3115
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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