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OBJECTIVE: To assess whether a new form of teaching, the 'donut round', is as good at imparting factual knowledge as interactive lectures in both the short-term and the long-term. DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: University of Oxford Medical School. PARTICIPANTS: 106 fifth year clinical medical students taught half of their A&E/trauma course by donut round and half by lecture. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The results of multiple choice questions (MCQs) divided according to how the material was taught. Three MCQ papers were set: one at the end of a four-week course, one approximately 10 weeks later and a final exam approximately 17 months after the first. RESULTS: At the first MCQ, the average result for questions taught by donut round was 41.0 (out of 50) and for those taught by conventional lecture was 40.1. At 10 weeks these averages fell to 36.3 and 37.3 and at 17 months they were 38.7 and 38.1, respectively. None of these pairs were significantly different. Ratios were calculated for each candidate by dividing their donut round score by their lecture score. The average ratios for the first, second and third MCQ papers were: 1.029, 1.007 and 1.027, respectively, and were not significantly different. The individual ratios of all candidates in all three MCQs were plotted against their equivalent total mark. The calculated linear regression showed a statistically significant advantage of donut rounds over lectures in those candidates who scored a total mark less than 89 (n=260, p=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Donut rounds are at least as good as lectures in imparting factual knowledge and may provide a selective advantage to weaker students.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





76 - 80


Clinical Competence, Education, Medical, Undergraduate, Emergency Medicine, Humans, Orthopedics