First Federal Medicine Exam at USI


Institutional Communication Service

28 August 2023

On 4 September 2023, USI will host the Federal Medicine Exam. This marks a significant moment for both the university and Ticino, as it will be the first time that students who have studied in our canton will be authorised to practice medicine.

47 students from the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences at USI will take the federal Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in September, following their written examination in mid-August—a truly historic day for Università della Svizzera italiana.

The medical exams will take place simultaneously with other medical faculties in Switzerland. A special federal commission will provide standardised clinical cases for all students. "This is a fundamental element for the success and impartiality of the exams themselves," says Fabrizio Barazzoni, head of OSCE exams for USI.

The OSCE system ensures complete fairness by administering the same exams to all students on the same day, at the same time. During the practical portion of the exam, examiners assess whether students are asking the right questions, performing appropriate diagnostic procedures, and prescribing applicable tests or examinations to identify the most probable diagnosis.

To provide a consistent experience for students across Switzerland, the OSCE system uses simulated patients who pretend to be unwell. These individuals are not medical professionals but actors chosen and trained specifically for this purpose. This guarantees that all students will encounter patients with similar behaviour regardless of their university.

The bell will strike at 9 am on Monday, 4 September. A dozen mock clinics will be set up at the Lugano East Campus, equipped with an examination bed and the necessary equipment and medical instruments to allow the examination to take place. In each classroom, students will find a simulated patient and an examiner.

Each student will have thirteen minutes to conduct their examination with each patient, including the initial preparation to study the case description. A bell will mark the beginning and end of each station. Students have two minutes to switch from one station to another.

At the end of the examinations, the data will be sent to Berne for reprocessing. The minimum number of correct answers required to obtain the license to practice will be determined based on the results from all Swiss faculties.

"It hardly seems real that in less than three years, thanks to a formidable team led by Dr Barazzoni, Ticino has managed to reach the level required for the preparation of the medical practical examinations of other universities," says the Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Dr. med. Giovanni Pedrazzini.