Maxexam - The future for questions
Royal College of Surgeons England


Qualified dentists from overseas have to pass the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) in order to register with the GDC so they can practice in the UK. The OSCE clinical exam (as part of the ORE Part 2 exam) takes place six times a year with 100 candidates each time -meaning that there are 100 candidates each visiting 20 stations. Therefore it is important that the exam is highly organised and runs very smoothly

Prior to the adoption of Maxexam, the OSCE clinical exam element of the ORE Part 2 exam was marked on paper. In practical terms this meant that there were various stations each with an examiner with a paper mark sheet. Candidates were then marked on paper according to different criteria at each station, all the sheets were put into a folder and handed to the admin staff who totalled the marks for each station themselves and entered a candidate's total marks for each station onto a spreadsheet.

This was time consuming and required careful double-checking to ensure that there could be no error. It also meant that what was recorded was only the total mark for each station for each candidate rather than the detail about each criterion.

Current situation following the introduction of Maxexam

Reduced admin

The introduction of Maxexam has meant that instead of a folder of paper, each examiner now has a tablet on which they can directly enter the scores for each candidate for each criterion at their testing station.

This has removed the administrative burden involved in re-keying the results, saving a great deal of administrator time that was previously spent both transcribing and then double-checking the transcription.

Richer information and better analysis

Additionally, the information captured is much richer as each candidates score for each criterion is now available, enabling examiners to understand which questions candidates are scoring well or badly in, check results on individual criteria, etc.

The Maxexam system is also able to do much of the analysis itself, for example to check the performance of different questions and analyse candidates’ results.

The system has evolved over time with a recent development being to help the exam developers to blueprint the exam - by entering what part of the curriculum is covered by each scenario the system can compare against the range of scenarios the exam needs to cover and calculate the total blueprint coverage of the exam.

'The introduction of Maxexam has vastly reduced the administrative burden in running and marking the ORE Part 2 exams. It has reduced in particular the administrative burden of transcription and laborious double-checking. At the same time it has provided us with a richer source of information all around. The analysis the system produces also helps us to run better exams as we can understand how every question is performing in detail.'

Hazel Johnstone, Project Manager ORE Part 2 exam Consortium