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Using the UWSA Practice Tests After New NBME Releases

8 min


A medical school students filling in a multiple choice exam bubble sheet while taking a UWSA practice test.


This blog was originally posted on February 25, 2019, and edited on August 8th 2023. For more recent relevant blogs you may be interested in:   Best Ways to Use NBME Practice Exams to Prepare for the Real Thing NBME 25- NBME 30: Which is the Best Predictor for Passing...

Reliability of the New NBME Forms in Predicting USMLE Step 1 Score

5 min


A medical student taking an NBME practice exam.


On March 2nd, 2021, NBME is releasing its newest forms– 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.

Best Ways to Use NBME Practice Exams to Prepare for the Real Thing

9 min



The NBME, or National Board of Medical Examiners, writes practice exams for Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3. The NBME exams contain questions similar to those found on your step exams and are one of the best ways to practice your test-taking skills for Step 1, 2, or 3. But what is the best way to use the NBME practice exams?

When to Take the NBME Practice Exams

7 min


A medical school student taking an NBME practice exam in a library on her laptop.


Deciding when to take practice exams is a dilemma that many students face when preparing for USMLE Step 1. Practice NBME exams are undoubtedly one of the most useful and important resources you will use in your Step 1 preparation. They can help you assess your own readiness to pass...

7 Ways to Ace Your Psychiatry Shelf Exam

20 min


A medical student studying for her psychiatry shelf exam, wearing scrubs, in front of a laptop and textbooks.


After surviving a notoriously more rigorous clinical rotations like Internal Medicine and Surgery, many students find some relief in knowing that they are able to take a little breather on their Psychiatry service. The hours are more regular and your psychiatry shelf exam seems a bit less daunting and easier...

NBME 25- NBME 30: Which is the Best Predictor for Passing Step 1

7 min


Medical students taking their USMLE Step 1 exam in a classroom.


There are an incredible number of resources out there for Step 1 preparation. No one study approach will work for everyone or guarantee success. Whatever plan or resources you decide to use, everyone will need to use practice questions and practice exams. These help to really gauge how well they...

Mistakes Medical Students Make While Studying for Shelf Exams

A group of medical school students in scrubs studying for their shelf exams while in the hospital for their clinical rotations.


During your first clinical year of medical school, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. You will find yourself taking care of patients, rounding, working in the operating room, reading about your patients’ diseases, creating case presentations, and more, all while studying for your shelf exams. Here, we will discuss the...

Six Tips to Help You Succeed on Your Clinical Clerkships

A group of medical students in a hospital completing their clinical rotation.


During your third year of medical school, you will get the opportunity to go into the hospital and help with patient care during your clinical clerkships. For many students, this is the first time they get to work with patients, round with a medical team, assist with surgeries, and more....

Why Is the Medicine Shelf So Hard and What Can You Do to Be Ready?

13 min


A combo of pills which needs to be understood for the Medicine shelf exam.


With internal medicine having the most applicants for residency positions every year (nearly 27,000 from a total of 51,000 applicants in 2021), it makes sense that clerkship students want to excel on their medicine shelf exam. Additionally, many specialties require an internal medicine intern year before starting the field’s core...

How Doing Well on Shelf Exams Will Improve Your Step 2 CK Score

A group of medical school students studying for their shelf exams.


At most medical schools, your grades during your first clinical year of training are primarily determined by evaluations from your preceptors, and your performance on a shelf examination. These grades will be a significant component of your residency application, in addition to letters of recommendation, co-curricular activities, research, and your...

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