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SHELF Exam Facts


Exam Facts
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Shelf Exam Facts

  • Shelf exams are created and administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), the very same organization which makes the USMLE.
  • Shelf exams play a very crucial role in your major clinical grades, which will be a focus of residency programs reviewing your application. Even if you receive sterling reviews and comments from interns and attendings, you will not be able to earn high marks in each rotation without excelling on your Shelf exams.
  • Most students take 6 NBME Shelf exams during their major clinical year: clinical neurology, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery. Some schools also require Shelf exams for adult/pediatric ambulatory medicine.
  • Shelf exams are administered on paper or online. They last for 2 hours and 30 minutes, and consist of 100 questions each.
  • Scoring for each exam is on a scale of 0 – 100. Your score reports will include important information about your percentile rank in your school’s class as well as compared with test-takers nationally.
  • Many residency programs will be especially interested in your Shelf exam score in the discipline you apply for.

Master Your Destiny

Clinical Shelf exams are challenging tests which must be studied for with limited guidance and tough hospital schedules. In that fast-paced and exhausting environment, there’s hardly a precious minute to waste, and it’s essential that you have a strong and targeted approach to studying so you can maximize your Shelf exam scores.

Our mission is to ensure you optimize your Shelf exam preparation and results by working side-by-side with a medical testing expert who has excelled and who understands what Shelf exams are looking for. High Shelf scores will make your transcript more impressive to residency programs, and will give you an invaluable head start for acing USMLE Step 2 CK, an increasingly important ingredient in residency placement decisions.

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