Is English as a Medium of Instruction Problem for Undergraduate Medical Students?


  • S Hossain Asstt Prof, Dept of Anatomy, AFMC;
  • KM Shamim Prof and Head, Dept of Anatomy, BSMMU
  • N Shahana Bangladesh Medical College, Dhaka
  • MA Habib Professor and Head, Dept of Anatomy, AFMC
  • A Rahman Assoc Prof. Dept of Anatomy, AFMC



English used in Anatomy, difficulty, undergraduate medical student


Introduction: The students of a country like Bangladesh, where language of medical education is completely English, suffer from a lot of problems in grasping English and also Latin and Greek terms used in English.

Objective: This study was aimed to estimate the extents and to identify the nature of the problems faced by the undergraduate students in different aspects of English used in Anatomy.

Methods: The study was conducted on 191 third year medical students, who had just passed the Anatomy portion of their undergraduate course from two renowned government medical colleges and one private medical college of Bangladesh. A written assessment test of students' performance was designed using two sets of questions as the instrument of the test. Each student was graded, according to the percentage frequency of correct responses, as having Grade IV difficulty (up to 20%), Grade III difficulty (20.01% to 40%), Grade II difficulty (40.01% to 60%), Grade I difficulty (60.01% to 80%) and Grade 0 with 'no difficulty' (above 80.01%). Comments were also collected from the students regarding their problems with English used in Anatomy.

Results: An average of only about 48.2% responses on 'English used in Anatomy' was correct, ranging from about 20 to 70%. An arbitrary grading of difficulty level showed that 75% of the students were suffering from Grade II to Grade III difficulties. Performance of the students showed that the undergraduate medical students of Bangladesh were facing varying but noticeable amounts of difficulty with most of the areas of 'English used in Anatomy'.

Conclusion: Organized, regular ways of dealing with these problems should be devised taking into consideration the specific aspects showing weakness and based on principles of terminology and English rather than on individual terms or words.

Key words: English used in Anatomy; difficulty; undergraduate medical student

DOI: 10.3329/jafmc.v6i2.7272

JAFMC Bangladesh. Vol 6, No 2 (December) 2010 pp.32-36


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How to Cite

Hossain, S., Shamim, K., Shahana, N., Habib, M., & Rahman, A. (2011). Is English as a Medium of Instruction Problem for Undergraduate Medical Students?. Journal of Armed Forces Medical College, Bangladesh, 6(2), 32–36.



Original Papers