JMIR Med Educ. 2023 Sep 4;9:e46482. doi: 10.2196/46482.
BACKGROUND: Large language models (LLMs) have demonstrated significant potential in diverse domains, including medicine. Nonetheless, there is a scarcity of studies examining their performance in medical examinations, especially those conducted in languages other than English, and in direct comparison with medical students. Analyzing the performance of LLMs in state medical examinations can provide insights into their capabilities and limitations and evaluate their potential role in medical education and examination preparation.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess and compare the performance of 3 LLMs, GPT-4, Bing, and GPT-3.5-Turbo, in the German Medical State Examinations of 2022 and to evaluate their performance relative to that of medical students.
METHODS: The LLMs were assessed on a total of 630 questions from the spring and fall German Medical State Examinations of 2022. The performance was evaluated with and without media-related questions. Statistical analyses included 1-way ANOVA and independent samples t tests for pairwise comparisons. The relative strength of the LLMs in comparison with that of the students was also evaluated.
RESULTS: GPT-4 achieved the highest overall performance, correctly answering 88.1% of questions, closely followed by Bing (86.0%) and GPT-3.5-Turbo (65.7%). The students had an average correct answer rate of 74.6%. Both GPT-4 and Bing significantly outperformed the students in both examinations. When media questions were excluded, Bing achieved the highest performance of 90.7%, closely followed by GPT-4 (90.4%), while GPT-3.5-Turbo lagged (68.2%). There was a significant decline in the performance of GPT-4 and Bing in the fall 2022 examination, which was attributed to a higher proportion of media-related questions and a potential increase in question difficulty.
CONCLUSIONS: LLMs, particularly GPT-4 and Bing, demonstrate potential as valuable tools in medical education and for pretesting examination questions. Their high performance, even relative to that of medical students, indicates promising avenues for further development and integration into the educational and clinical landscape.