Original Publication
Open Access

Headache OSCE: A 22-Year-Old Woman Presents to the Emergency Department With a Severe Headache

Published: October 10, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9250

Included in this publication:

  • Blank Examinee Evaluation of OSCE Station.pdf
  • FIU.SPEVAL.pdf
  • Facilitator's guide.pdf
  • Head CT Examinee Version.pdf
  • Headache OSCE Examinee Instructions.pdf
  • Headache OSCE SP instructions.pdf
  • Headache OSCE.pdf
  • Lumbar Puncture Results.pdf
  • Resource description 2.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


This resource is a 15-minute objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) where examinee take a detailed headache history from a standardized patient, generate an initial differential diagnosis, request and interpret diagnostic tests, and defend the final diagnosis. Criteria for passing and a grading system have been established. Remediation plans are prescribed, depending on the type of error made by the examinee. The tool has content validity, as it has been developed by a neurologist and reviewed by four additional content experts. It has face validity, based on a small survey of third-year medical students. It has been administered by four different faculty members, in addition to the principal investigator. The instructions are clear and the tool is easy to use.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), learners will be able to:

  1. Systematically evaluate a patient with headache.
  2. Obtain a complete and reliable history.
  3. Formulate a differential diagnosis based on lesion localization, time course, and relevant historical and demographic features.
  4. Interpret abnormal findings of the neurologic examination.
  5. Use and interpret common tests used in diagnosing neurologic disease.
  6. Recognize and evaluate potentially life-threatening neurologic conditions, such as increased intracranial pressure and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Author Information

  • Diana Barratt, MD, MPH: Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
  • Vivian Obeso, MD: Florida International University

None to report.

None to report.


  1. Gelb DJ, Gunderson CH, Henry KA, et al. The neurology clerkship core curriculum. Neurology 2002;58(6):849-859. http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.58.6.849
  2. The recommended curriculum guidelines for family medicine residents, Conditions of the nervous system, AAFP Reprint No. 272. Available at www.AAFP.org (online). Accessed August 22, 2012.
  3. American Academy of Neurology, Headache and Facial Pain Section. Resident Core Curriculum. Available at: www.AAN.com (online). Accessed August 3, 2012.
  4. Almoallim H, Alkatheeri A, Monjed A, Basheer F, Tawakol A, Imam A, et al. Structured Oral Examinations in Internal Medicine - Case I. MedEdPORTAL; 2009. Available from: www.mededportal.org/publication/1121
  5. Akins R. Pat Andares - Headache. MedEdPORTAL; 2011. Available from: www.mededportal.org/publication/9045


Barratt D, Obeso V. Headache OSCE: a 22-year-old woman presents to the emergency department with a severe headache. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9250. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9250