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Investigación en educación médica

On-line version ISSN 2007-5057


HAMUI-SUTTON, Alicia et al. Academic problems of irregular students related to the use of time in the Medicine Faculty of the UNAM. Investigación educ. médica [online]. 2012, vol.1, n.3, pp.107-113. ISSN 2007-5057.

Introduction: This is a time use study carried out to learn about the academic performance of medical students and the duration of their activities. Objective: Identify associations between academic problems and the condition of being an irregular student (re-attendants to courses due to a failure mark). Material and methods: A descriptive and comparative study was carried out. A questionnaire with 103 closed questions was designed. All the undergraduate students of the Faculty of Medicine, UNAM, were invited to answer the questionnaire in a self-administered and anonymous way between October and December 2008. Contingency tables were constructed and measures of association were calculated to determine if being or not an irregular student is related to the time devoted to different daily activities. Results: A total of 3029 undergraduate medical students answered the questionnaire; 84% freshmen (1309 out of 1555), 73% second year students (682 out of 927), 94% third year students (806 out of 850), and 66% fourth year students (531 out of 802). Only 13% re-attendants were interviewed most of them were women (70.2%) and on their first academic year (80.7%). Also 50.6% of the re-attendants and 17.2% of the regular students had an overall mark less than seven (p=0.00). A 5% significant association was found between being or not a regular student and seeking for additional printed or electronic textbooks, looking for assistance to organize their time, and having difficulties in understanding medical texts or in performing clinical procedures. Irregular students were unsure to finish their careers and, compared to regular students, enjoyed less their academic activities. Conclusions: Re-attendants had poor cognitive and technical skills as well as logistic problems that hindered a solution to their low academic performance and lack of motivation. Irregular students need advice in areas such as reading comprehension, time management and academic incentive.

Keywords : Time use; academic performance; irregular students; medical studies; motivation.

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