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Review article: Biomedical intelligence

Vol. 143 No. 4950 (2013)

The new licencing examination for human medicine: from concept to implementation

  • Sissel Guttormsen
  • Christine Beyeler
  • Raphael Bonvin
  • Sabine Feller
  • Christian Schirlo
  • Kai Schnabel
  • Tina Schurter
  • Christoph Berendonk
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2013;143:w13897


A new Swiss federal licencing examination for human medicine (FLE) was developed and released in 2011. This paper describes the process from concept design to the first results obtained on implementation of the new examination. The development process was based on the Federal Act on University Medical Professions and involved all national stakeholders in this venture. During this process questions relating to the assessment aims, the assessment formats, the assessment dimensions, the examination content and necessary trade-offs were clarified. The aims were to create a feasible, fair, valid and psychometrically sound examination in accordance with international standards, thereby indicating the expected knowledge and skills level at the end of undergraduate medical education. Finally, a centrally managed and locally administered examination comprising a written multiple-choice element and a practical “clinical skills” test in the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) format was developed. The first two administrations of the new FLE show that the examination concept could be implemented as intended. The anticipated psychometric indices were achieved and the results support the validity of the examination. Possible changes to the format or content in the future are discussed.


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