The objective of this study was to describe the relationship between attendance at conferences during residency training and residents' performance on the In-Training Examination (ITE) in Internal Medicine. Nineteen house officers participated in the study. Conference attendance records were retrospectively reviewed for the one-year period preceding the ITE (pre-ITE), and in the three-month period after house officers received their ITE scores (post-ITE). After receiving their scores, participants completed a questionnaire asking about study habits and opinions about conferences. Attendance was taken at 126/165 (76.4%) conferences pre-ITE and 32/42 (76.2%) conferences post-ITE. House officers attended a mean of 35% (range, 10-59) of the conferences pre-ITE and 32% (range, 9-75) post-ITE (p = 0.365). There was no correlation between prior conference attendance and ITE scores (Spearman correlation coefficient -0.230 p = 0.34), and no correlation between score and conference attendance post-ITE (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.174, p = 0.48). Participation in clinical rotations also failed to influence ITE scores in that content area (all p > 0.05). The findings of this study suggest conference attendance does not influence ITE scores. Medical educators may need to rethink and study how best to impart medical knowledge.
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