Students' knowledge before and preparation for courses with practical skills training or bedside teaching may be insufficient and reduce efficiency of teaching time at the bedside and in skills training. To study the effect of a new curriculum on students' preparation for courses, a quasi-randomized study was conducted. All medical students were included who participated in the surgical examination course during a period of four semesters. In the intervention group, specified topics for every session, a course book describing only those procedures relevant for the course and a foregoing case-based active learning session were introduced as compared to the traditional way of teaching the surgical examination course. For evaluation a questionnaire for the students was used. A total of 614 questionnaires (return rate 79.6%) were included in the analysis. Student as well as teacher preparation significantly improved in the intervention group from 34.8 to 73.6% and 46.1 to 73.0%, respectively. The case-based learning session and the course book were considered helpful by 77.7 and 96.4% of the students, respectively. The introduction of a timetable with specified topics for every session, a course book and a foregoing case-based learning session significantly improved student preparation for the surgical clinical examination course.
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