Background: Upon the beginning of pre-clerkship years, medical students must develop strategies to learn from experience and to improve their relational skills to communicate with patients. Aim: To develop an instrument to identify the strategies used by medical students to learn in clinical contexts. Material and methods: Using a Delfi technique to reach consensus, a national panel of students and clinical teachers from 15 Chilean medical schools analyzed an 80-item questionnaire built from perceptions of Chilean students and teachers from one medical school. After two Delfi rounds and a pilot application, a 48-item questionnaire was obtained. Its reliability and construct validity were assessed by Cronbach alpha coefficient and factor analysis, respectively, on the base of an application to 336 medical students. Results: The questionnaire developed, named CEACLIN, is highly reliable (?= 0.84). Its inner structure is made of eleven factors: Autonomy, Solving doubts and problems, Searching and organizing information, Proactivity, Reaching to others, Paying attention to emotions, Searching for trust, Evading burden, Coping with burden, Motivation, Postponing the personal life. All together, these factors account for 47.4 % of the variance. Conclusions: CEACLIN is a valid, reliable and easy to use instrument suited to identify students´ strategies to learn in pre-clerkship years. Many of its items allude to concepts of theories of experiential learning and motivation. We hope that CEACLIN will be of value to medical students and clinical teachers to improve the learning and teaching of clinical reasoning and skills.
Clinical clerkship; Problem based learning; Students, medical; Test taking skills