Learning and Retaining Normal Radiographic Chest Anatomy. Does Preclinical Exposure Improve Student Performance?

David S. Feigin, Donna Magid, James G. Smirniotopoulos, Susan Jennifer Carbognin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: Although most would concur that preclinical exposure to radiology is a desirable goal, specific learning objectives have been more difficult to delineate. It is also important to assess what is learned and to determine how well it is retained or "retrievable." This study was developed in an attempt to document the extent to which specific measures of preclinically acquired knowledge may be retained and retrieved for later clinical application. Material and Methods: The Anatomic Structure Identification Quiz (ASIQ, or Quiz), previously described in Feigin et al (Academic Radiology 2005) was administered to 236 medical students at the conclusion of the required second-year course, as a 10-item written Quiz based on a projected frontal and lateral chest image. The 10-item Quiz was also administered to 555 senior medical students (194 of which had been included in previous work) on the first day of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences basic radiology elective. Finally, the identical Quiz was completed by 74 of these 555 senior medical students at the conclusion of the academic portion of the elective, approximately 3 weeks after the administration of the first quiz. Results: The second-year students scored a mean of 7.15 points of a possible 10 points with a standard deviation (SD) of 1.42. The senior students completing the quiz at the beginning of the elective scored an average of 4.42 (SD 1.34) compared to a score of 8.65 (SD 1.24) 3 weeks later. Conclusion: Long-term recall of specific radiologic structures learned in the second year of medical school was poor despite evidence documenting good initial (short-term) retention of tested information. However, after a brief review, consisting of the Quiz itself, followed by 3 weeks of general radiology emphasizing abnormal chest imaging, the senior students demonstrated a near doubling of their ability to correctly identify these structures, as well as an improvement compared with scores obtained during the second year. Thus the value of a preclinical course in radiology may be not only to teach principles of radiology and to stimulate interest in the discipline, but also, by repetition and reinforcement, to facilitate and possibly improve later recall and retention of important radiographic material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1142
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


  • Radiology education
  • chest imaging
  • learning theory
  • medical student teaching
  • radiologic anatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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