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Objectives: The preparatory year programme (PYP) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is a one-year programme for students preparing for a full multi-year degree curriculum at a university. It offers a bridge between high-school and university-level studies of the students. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of the King Abdulaziz University PYP on students of the health professions education colleges from the viewpoints of the students and the faculty. Methods: This descriptive study was conducted between May 2019 and January 2020 at King Abdulaziz University, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and was based on data collected from both students and faculty to assess their perceptions. The data were collected from students through self-administered questionnaires and from faculty members through structured interviews. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis. Results: A total of 633 students responded to the questionnaire (response rate: 88.3%), of which almost half agreed that the PYP made them self-confident and reinforced their discipline (49.2% and 46.9%, respectively). Less than two-thirds agreed that the preparatory year reinforced their sense of responsibility and helped them adapt to the university educational environment (60.6% and 64.3%, respectively). Conversely, more than half (58.5%) disagreed that the preparatory year classes helped them select their majors as well as that the preparatory year prepared them for their major classes (57.2%). A total of 24 faculty members who taught PYP students claimed that there should be careful consideration of the contents of the courses offered to the students in the preparatory year programme, especially the content related to the healthcare profession education. They argued that it is better to have a separate track in the PYP that includes subjects directly related to the study of health professions (such as molecular sciences, genetics, medical terminology, English for medical purposes, etc.). Conclusion: The impact of the PYP on students attending the health professions colleges was found to be weak as per the perceptions of both students and faculty members. In-depth studies are necessary for further investigation of this impact.
Keywords: Universities; Health Occupations; Undergraduate Medical Education; Curriculum; Saudi Arabia.
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