Usefulness of crossword puzzles in helping first-year BVSc students learn veterinary terminology

Angel Abuelo, Cristina Castillo, Stephen A. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Appropriate terminology is essential for successful communication among health professionals. However, students have traditionally been encouraged to learn terminology by rote memorization and recall, strategies that students try to avoid. The use of crossword puzzles as a learning tool has been evaluated in other education disciplines, but not for terminology related to veterinary science. Hence, the objective of this study was to test whether crossword puzzles might be an effective aid to learning veterinary terminology. Forty-two first-year students enrolled in a Bachelor of Veterinary Science program were randomly divided into two groups and their previous knowledge of veterinary terms tested. One group received a list of 30 terms with their definitions. The other group received the same list plus six specially designed puzzles incorporating these 30 terms. After 50 minutes, both groups completed a post-intervention test and the results were compared statistically. The results showed that the students using the crossword puzzles performed better in the post-intervention test, correctly retaining more terms than the students using only rote learning. In addition, qualitative data, gathered through an electronic survey and focus group discussions, revealed a positive attitude among students toward the use of crossword puzzles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Issue number3
Early online date25 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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