Home » Shelf Exams

Developing Practical Clinical Competence During Clerkships

A group of medical students on clinical clerkships examining x-rays.


Clinical rotations, or clerkships, are crucial in medical education, bridging classroom knowledge to real-world patient care settings. During clerkships, medical students have the opportunity to develop and refine essential clinical skills under the guidance of experienced healthcare professionals. While much can be learned in the classroom, it's not until you...

Mastering the Surgery Shelf Exam: Achieving a 90th Percentile Score in 2024

9 min


A group of medical school students studying for the surgery shelf exam in a library.


The Surgery Shelf exam is a critical milestone for medical students pursuing a career in surgery or related specialties. Scoring well on this exam not only demonstrates your knowledge and competency but also plays a significant role in residency applications. Attaining a 90th percentile score requires strategic preparation, dedication, and...

Are NBME Practice Exams a True Reflection of Shelf Exam Difficulty?

Medical school students taking a practice NBME to prepare for their shelf exams.


In medical education, shelf exams evaluate students' knowledge and clinical reasoning during core clinical clerkships. Administered by medical schools, often written by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), these pivotal exams determine students' readiness for clinical rotations and overall performance. Questions often arise about the correlation between NBME practice...

How to Use OnlineMedEd to Study for Shelf Exams and Step 2

13 min


A medical school student studying for his shelf exams using OnlineMedEd, sitting at a desk in front of a laptop.


In my first clerkship, I quickly learned that the information medical students were expected to know was suddenly very different from the knowledge that got me through my pre-clerkship curriculum. Instead of the emphasis on basic science and foundations, the clerkship year and shelf exams required much more focus on...

Choosing Your Specialty: Gaining Insights from Clinical Clerkships

A group of medical school students on their clinical clerkship.


Selecting a desired medical specialty marks a pivotal moment in a medical student's career. However, the process is intricate and evolves with factors throughout your academic journey. One of, if not the most important, contributors to this decision-making process is the exposure gained during clinical clerkships in medical school. In...

The Impact of Shelf Exam Performance on Residency Applications

A group of medical school students taking their shelf exam.


In the journey to residency, medical students' shelf exam performance holds significant weight in applications. Shelf exams, designed to assess students' knowledge and clinical reasoning in specific core clerkships, can play a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of a medical student's academic capabilities. In this article, we explore the...

8 Time Saving Tricks to Study for the Shelf Exam During Your Pediatric Rotation

11 min


A medical school student on their pediatric clinical rotation treating a patient.


As you dive into the world of pediatric medicine, you'll encounter a whirlwind of learning opportunities, patient interactions, and, of course, the looming shelf exam at the end of your rotation. With so much to absorb in a limited time frame, efficiency is key, especially on a rotation that is...

Your Guide To Mastering the Art of Patient Presentations During Clinical Clerkships

A medical student presenting a patient on her clinical clerkship.


Clinical clerkships represent your transition from the classroom to the front lines of patient care. Central to this experience is the art and science of patient presentations—a skill that not only communicates the patient's condition but also reflects your depth of knowledge, critical thinking, and ability to collaborate with the...

Balancing Act: Managing Research Responsibilities During Clinical Rotations

Medical School students participating in a research opportunity during their clinical rotations.


Your journey through medical school is marked by crucial milestones, and arguably the most pivotal phase is your time spent in the hospital and clinic. These hands-on experiences in different healthcare settings provide a bridge between classroom knowledge and practical application. However, integrating research into clinical rotations enhances the educational...

Studying for the Shelf Exam During Your OB/GYN Rotations

13 min


A group of medical school students on their OB/Gyn clinical rotations.


Studying for the OB/GYN Shelf   So you’ve made it to your Obstetrics and Gynecology clerkship. OB/GYN is a fun and exciting field. However, between delivering babies, scrubbing into surgeries, and working in the outpatient clinic, you somehow have to find time to study for a shelf as well? On...

Need additional
help with an exam?

Elite tutors are qualified, professional, and 100% online.

Schedule a Consult