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Will Surgery and Medicine Shelf Exam Scores Replace Step 1 Now That It’s Pass/Fail?

9 min


A group of surgery and medicine clinical rotations students.


As of January 1, 2022, USMLE Step 1 officially became pass/fail. Historically, the Step 1 score served as a metric for competency of basic medical foundational knowledge and most importantly, was used by residency programs to determine an applicant’s competitiveness. One of the reasons for the change to pass/fail was...

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...

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....

Best Tips for Honoring Your Surgery Clerkship

16 min


Doctors performing surgery on a patient in an operating room.


Surgery is a challenging but rewarding specialty and you should expect your clerkship to be the same. Surgery is also unlike other specialties you will rotate through and if you want to receive honors, you will need to take a different approach than you did for other clerkships. You will...

Time Saving Tips for Studying for Your Shelf Exam During Clinical Rotations

9 min


Medical student studying for her shelf exams while on break during her clinical rotation.


The transition from pre-clinical to clinical medical student can be very difficult. You change from studying all the time as a pre-clinical student to having to study all the time AND manage clinical work on top of it. Shelf exams are important for your residency applications and clinical grades, so...

Time Saving Tricks to Study for the Surgery Shelf During Clerkship

12 min


Medical school students on their surgery rotation.


Surgery clerkship is well known for its long hours, which leaves little time for shelf exam studying. A normal day on the surgery ward involved waking up around 4 or 5am, getting to the hospital quickly, pre-rounding on your patients, and being ready for 6 or 6:30am rounds with your...

Best Resources to Help You Prepare for Your Surgery Shelf Exam

A sudent looking at a book in the library, one of the best resources for Surgery Shelf Exam.


If you are preparing for your Surgery Shelf, the first and most important piece of advice I can share with you is to start early! Surgery is arguably one of the most demanding and time-consuming rotations you will participate in during your clinical year of medical school, so the earlier...

7 Tips for Studying for the Family Medicine Shelf Exam

17 min


A group of medical school students on their Family Medicine clinical rotation.


There are few Shelf exams more difficult than the family medicine shelf. The unique thing about family medicine is that it covers – in some way – nearly every topic that you’ll see in your clinical year. There are components of pediatrics, OB/GYN, psychiatry, internal medicine, and surgery. Of course,...

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...

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