Passing written and oral certifying examinations is a prerequisite to obtaining the license required from the Ministry of Health to start practicing as a Plastic Surgeon in Israel. In recent years, residents have complained about the unfairness of the method of the oral examination in terms of questions that varied according to the examiner. Before instituting changes, the position and attitudes of plastic surgeons in Israel, both senior surgeons and residents, regarding the oral examination was investigated. A detailed questionnaire containing 20 questions was distributed among 44 senior surgeons and 17 residents who attended the Annual Meeting of Israeli Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Association in November 2001. The answers were analysed using the Pearson chi square test. According to this survey, a majority of responders agreed that the format of the oral examination should be changed. Although significant differences were found among the senior surgeons and the residents, the approach of the residents was found to be more acceptable. Reflecting the literature, the residents felt that the oral examination should be built of standardized questions and the anticipated answers should be pre-determined. The examination should cover a wide spectrum of subjects, with a restricted amount of time for each answer. A majority, 77% of the seniors and 64% of the residents, agreed that there was something to be learned about the abilities of the examinee from the presentation of a few case studies, and it was felt that this should be added to the revised examination. Only competent examiners should participate and each should rate the examinee independently. An observer from the same program was preferred. The majority of the responders also preferred a high quality and valid examination and did not like to view the examination as a barrier to entering the profession.
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