Purpose. Assessment drives learning, and one assessment tool cannot measure all students learning competencies. Thus, multiple methods of assessment were developed to address this matter. This study aimed to measure whether in-classroom theoretical knowledge impacts students’ mastery of practical clinical skills and whether a strong association between the two parameters exists.

Methods. A retrospective, correlational study design was conducted to examine the correlation between the theoretical knowledge (assessed by final written MCQs examination) and students’ practical clinical skills (assessed by OSCE and/or OSPE). Two batches of male and female students (a total of 478) were included in the study from the nine programs offered at College of Applied Medical Sciences (CAMS) at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS).

Results. Interestingly, moderate to strong correlations were observed between the theoretical and practical skills assessments across the nine programs. However, there were no consistent differences in the correlations when the subjects were stratified by gender nor by third- and fourth-year courses. The study also came across a couple of interesting findings in which both male and female students performed better in practical skills than theoretical knowledge assessment. Moreover, female students’ performance exceeded the male counterpart in both assessments across the different programs.

Discussion. All students performed better at the practical skills than theoretical knowledge assessment, and female students surpassed male students in both practical and theoretical assessments in five programs. There is a need to perform an in-depth analysis about the assessment methods utilized for practical assessments (OSPE and OSCE) among different programs/courses offered at CAMS to verify that the significant correlations obtained between the theoretical knowledge and practical assessments were not due to the similarities of construct/content of the assessment methods.