Journal of Family and Community Medicine

: 2004  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 79--82

Motivation to learn physiology using end of lecture quizzes

Abdullah O Bamosa 
 College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Abdullah O Bamosa
Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, P.O. Box 2114, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Dammam 31451
Saudi Arabia


Objectives: Exams are known to be strong external motivators for study. In this study, this observation was utilized to increase the attendance and attention of students in lectures. Methodology: Tests were conducted at the end of every lecture, on the material covered in that lecture. A total of 12 tests on renal physiology, consisting of 4 MCQs each, were done. Students (137 male & female) were requested to fill a questionnaire of 18 items, rated on a 5-point scale in addition to some open questions. Results: Analysis of the 137 questionnaires showed that students who had participated had found it enjoyable. However, some students pointed out certain disadvantages in the practice. Conclusion: It is concluded that end-of- lecture quizzes are an extremely useful stimulus for motivation provided they are random, answers are given, and cheating is minimized.

How to cite this article:
Bamosa AO. Motivation to learn physiology using end of lecture quizzes.J Fam Community Med 2004;11:79-82

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Bamosa AO. Motivation to learn physiology using end of lecture quizzes. J Fam Community Med [serial online] 2004 [cited 2020 Oct 22 ];11:79-82
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The outcome of academic work at the tertiary level is influenced by student ability, opportunity to study, curriculum design, teaching standards, staff-student ratios, course load, learning strategies and educational facilities. These are all important factors. However, a student's motivation for learning is arguably the most influential. [1] Motivation could be looked at as a physiological drive spurring a person, or an animal, to behave in a certain way. [2] There are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is linked to reward or punishment while intrinsic can be related to the satisfaction of an inner need. [2] Exams fall into the category of extrinsic motivation. [3] Frequent testing in a physiology course has been evaluated by 73% of students as one of the main motivating factors. [1] The aim of the present study was to test the effect of end of lecture quizzes on students' motivation.


A total of 137 second year medical students (74 male and 63 female) at King Faisal University, Dammam, participated in the study. A test consisting of 4 MCQs (single best with 4 statements) was given at the end of each lecture on the material covered in that lecture, the 12 lectures on renal physiology. Therefore, students were not given a chance to revise the lecture material. MCQs were based on basic factual and conceptual knowledge. Tests took five minutes and were given in two versions. At the end of the trial period, students filled a questionnaire which consisted of 18 items rated in a five-point scale system and some open questions [Table 1].{Table 1}

Students performance on the major quiz in this course was compared to their performance in the other three quizzes, conducted during the year, on other parts of the course. Performance in the questions of the final exam on the renal system was compared to two other major systems covered (respiratory and endocrine).


Most students (both male and female) thought that such tests enhanced lecture attendance, concentration during lectures as well as knowledge acquisition. The majority also rated these tests as consolidating knowledge, correcting wrong concepts and clarifying ambiguous (unclear) points [Table 1] and [Table 2]. However, while most males agreed that these tests enhanced preparation for lectures and should be applied to all other courses taught in the college, most female students disagreed with this. On the negative side of the evaluation, most students (both genders) disagreed with the statement that the tests made lectures unenjoyable, were an incorrect measure of a student's level and did not reflect true level of the student. Students thought that this practice was suitable for all courses regardless of the course content since it required understanding (e.g. physiology) or memorization (e.g. Anatomy). Most students were satisfied with the content and the format used in the study, but preferred MCQs over short answer questions. A third difference between male and female students was on the evaluation of cheating. Most male students thought that cheating was significant while most females did not. {Table 2}

In their written comments, the vast majority of both male and female students appraised the trial as excellent, marvellous, enjoyable, etc [Table 3]. Special remarks made by some students (one for each remark) indicated how much the students had benefited from the trial and expressed their feelings about Physiology as a course and the department [Table 4]. The major disadvantages mentioned by some students are listed in [Table 5].{Table 3}{Table 4}{Table 5}

Students performance in the major quiz (quiz No. 4) related to the system under trial (renal) was better than their performance in the first two quizzes in the course, on circulation and the Gut, which were conducted in the first semester [Table 6]. However, there was no significant difference between their performance in the two quizzes on endocrine and renal systems conducted in the second semester (quizzes number 3 and 4) [Table 6]. Students performance in the three systems covered in the final exam was not significantly different [Table 7].{Table 6}{Table 7}


The results of the questionnaire clearly express student satisfaction and preference for this practice. Teachers of both male and female students felt that students really enjoyed and liked this experiment. Attendance at most lectures was almost 100%, which is rare in our college. Also students were very attentive and keen to understand every part of the lecture.

Exams are known to be a strong stimulus as external motivation for learning. [2],[3] What is novel in this study is the use of this stimulus to improve attendance and attention at lectures. However, student performance in the final exam was not affected by these end of lecture quizzes. The reason might be linked to the greater effort students make in studying for their final exams and the relative difficulty of the concepts in renal physiology compared to other systems they had to study. Most of the disadvantages mentioned by the students have been felt by the teachers also. Fortunately, these could be remedied.


The study proves that an end-of-lecture quiz on the material just covered in that lecture is a useful stimulus to external motivation provided it is done randomly, correct answers are given at the end of the quiz and cheating is minimized.


Thanks are due to Dr. Bodour AboHozaifah for conducting these quizzes for the females, the male and female technical staff and Mr. P. Syed Mohamed for typing the manuscript.


1Villani RG. Motivation to learn physiology using self-study. Medical Teachers 1996; 18(1): 43-6.
2Nole Entwistle. Styles of learning and Teaching: An integrated outline of educational Psychology. pp.193 - 194. David Futton Publishers. (London).
3Fransson A. On qualitative differences in learning. Effects of motivation and test anxiety on process and outcome. British J of Educational Psychology 1997;47: 244-57.