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An Excel-Based Study Tool for ABR-Style Exams

K Cline

K Cline*, D Stanley , D Defoor , S Stathakis , A Gutierrez , N Papanikolaou , N Kirby , University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Cancer Therapy and Research Center, San Antonio, TX


SU-E-E-2 (Sunday, July 12, 2015) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: As the landscape of learning and testing shifts toward a computer-based environment, a replacement for paper-based methods of studying is desirable. Using Microsoft Excel, a study tool was developed that allows the user to populate multiple-choice questions and then generate an interactive quiz session to answer them.

Methods: The code for the tool was written using Microsoft Excel Visual Basic for Applications with the intent that this tool could be implemented by any institution with Excel. The base tool is a template with a setup macro, which builds out the structure based on user’s input. Once the framework is built, the user can input sets of multiple-choice questions, answer choices, and even add figures. The tool can be run in random-question or sequential-question mode for single or multiple courses of study. The interactive session allows the user to select answer choices and immediate feedback is provided. Once the user is finished studying, the tool records the day’s progress by reporting progress statistics useful for trending.

Results: Six doctoral students at UTHSCSA have used this tool for the past two months to study for their qualifying exam, which is similar in format and content to the American Board of Radiology (ABR) Therapeutic Part II exam. The students collaborated to create a repository of questions, met weekly to go over these questions, and then used the tool to prepare for their exam.

Conclusion: The study tool has provided an effective and efficient way for students to collaborate and be held accountable for exam preparation. The ease of use and familiarity of Excel are important factors for the tool’s use. There are software packages to create similar question banks, but this study tool has no additional cost for those that already have Excel. The study tool will be made openly available.

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