The study was performed in KAU and included second-year Nursing students, Faculty of Nursing, and second-year Clinical Nutrition(C. Nutrition) students, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences. The study included data of four cohorts; two faculty of nursing cohorts; Nursing students (2017–2018) referred to as Nursing 1 (n = 146 ), Nursing students (2018–2019) referred to as Nursing 2 (n = 81), and two faculty of applied medical sciences cohorts, C.Nutrition students (2017–2018) referred to as C.Nutrition 1(n = 33), C.Nutrition students (2018–2019) referred to as C.Nutrition 2 (n = 28). All students were female as there are no male students in either faculty.
The students’ scores of GAT, SAAT, and preparatory year GPA were all recorded at the beginning of each semester before the beginning of courses. Clinical Biochemistry and Clinical Pharmacology exam results were recorded at the end of the semester. A summary of the exams is mentioned in the sections below.
General Aptitude Test:
The GAT was established to use mathematical and verbal skills to measure:1- Reading comprehension,2-Logical relations,3-Problem solving skills,4- Inductive skills ,5-Deductive skills. The test is scored out of 120 and is divided verbal and quantitative questions (Table 1).
General Aptitude test questions distribution
- Arithmetic (40%)
- Geometry (24%)
- Algebra (23%)
- Statistics and analytical questions (13%)
Overall, the test aims to measure the student’s capacity for learning in general rather than measuring a specific skill required for specific topics or fields.
Students are allowed to take GAT more than once. However, it is expected that students’ scores do not change drastically with further trials. In addition, students can use any of the GAT scores obtained to apply for university.
Scholastic Achievement Admission Test (SAAT)
The SAAT test measures the overall achievement of students during their education journey. The test covers key concepts in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and English in the form of MCQ questions, which are divided equally between the five subjects. The test is scored out of 100 and comprises questions that address; comprehension, application, inference, and other aspects.
In KAU preparatory year consists of two tracks, a scientific track, and a literature track. The scientific track serves those who wish to join; Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing or Applied medical sciences, and consists of; Math, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Communication skills, Computing and information technology and Academic English language. After finishing all Preparatory year courses, students can choose applying to their desired colleges if their GPA achieves the requirements of the selected college.
Clinical Biochemistry Course and exam
During their second year, both groups receive the same course of Clinical Biochemistry (BCHM 207) during their first semester, which covers basic cell metabolism, bioenergetics, and molecular biology. The course is given in the form of traditional lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. The 100 final score is divided between; two quizzes, a practical exam, and a final exam. All exam questions were in the form of MCQs that are divided into recall questions (70%) and reasoning questions (30%).
Third-year nursing students were divided into two groups; both groups received the same course of Pharmacology (PHAN311) during their first semester. The course consists of general pharmacology, autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular, renal, endocrine systems and autacoid. Students learned about: how drugs act on the covered systems, the use of the drug in treating various diseases, its adverse effects and possible interactions with other drugs taken at the same time. The course was given in the form of scheduled lectures, self-directed learning, and tutorials, which ensure smooth flow of the scientific material, in a controlled manner, through several pathways to achieve course objectives. The 100 final scores was divided between; mid-block exam, assignment, and a final exam. All exam questions were in the form of MCQs that are divided into recall questions (70%) and reasoning questions (30%).
All analysis was carried out using GraphPad Prism Version 8.3.1 (332). Descriptive analyses were described as mean ± standard deviation (SD), minimum and maximum scores. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post hoc test was used for testing the significance between groups. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to assess the correlation between the different exam results. p < 0.05 was taken as a cut off value for significance.