Shelf Exam Preparation

Our exam is an on-line web-based NBME shelf examination and will take place on the final day of the rotation. The 2014-15 Exam has 80 multiple choice questions. You will receive notification re location and instructions for preparation prior to the exam. If, for some emergency, you can't make it to the exam, call the Department of Family Medicine (966-3711) and ask for Carolyn Joines (966-2824, direct).

The Family Medicine Clerkship is part of the Book Exchange. Contact your student representatives to find out how to get the available study resources. Students preparing for the NBME shelf exams have also found the practice questions at very useful. You have to become an American Academy of Family Physician (AAFP) member to view questions but membership is free for students at www.aafp.organd is granted within 1-2 days.  Then, once you go to the website you can search 'Board Review Questions 2014'. These questions can be helpful although they are not in the typical shelf format and they deal with the finer points of diagnosis and treatment.

The NBME offers practice tests for many subject exams but not the family medicine exam.  The practice exams are made up of questions that have been retired from previous exams and the current version of the family medicine exam is so new that no questions have been retired.   They estimate a practice exam will be available in 2017.

The shelf exam writers use the National Clerkship Curriculum (NCC) objectives to write the exam questions.  The NCC outline might be helpful in focusing your area of study. 

While these resources may be helpful to prepare for the exam, we feel the core content of the course is best learned using the Essentials of Family Medicine text. This evidence-based text is very up-to-date for a text book and will give you a solid foundation in family medicine.

Students often wonder about how the NBME deals with rapidly changing guidelines.  The NBME response:

"As you may know, our examination material is developed by committee members who are content experts.  All of our test material is periodically reviewed for accuracy to make sure that test forms follow the approved content outline and current medical practices.  In instances such as the one you noted [new guideline], where medical practice may change, we monitor those particular content areas more frequently and revise or remove items from scoring if needed."

**Please make sure that you return your books and flip recorders to the Clinical Skills Lab, 3rd Floor Berryhill, Room 302, before/after the OSCE or shelf exam.**