Preclinical task-based learning (TskBL) is a simulated learning approach in which the focus for students is a real task done by a medical professional. TskBL includes standardized patient encounters and is helpful to provide early clinical exposure. Our study aimed at planning, implementing, and assessing TskBL among first-year medical students and comparing it to the conventional method of tutorials in the physiology MBBS curriculum. This is a nonequivalent group quasi-experimental study approved by the institutional ethics committee. TskBL was conducted for seven topics among first-year medical students of Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore for three academic years. Participants were divided into a TskBL group and a control group. Both groups attended the theory classes in physiology, practical sessions, and clinical examinations concerning the tasks. After this, the TskBL group underwent TskBL, and the control group underwent tutorials. Pretest and posttest assessments were conducted by using a multiple choice question (MCQ) test and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs).The mean TskBL scores for MCQ (exception: hypertension, myasthenia gravis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and OSCE (exception: anemia and hypertension) were significantly higher than the tutorial group. Pretest and posttest scores revealed significantly higher MCQ and OSCE scores for TskBL (exception: MCQ score for hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The tutorial group did not show a significant improvement in test scores for all the tasks. The TskBL strategy could be used for topics that are likely to be encountered by the students during clinical attachments. Small group teaching can include TskBL in preference to tutorials to provide early clinical exposure in medical schools.
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