01/20/2019

GUIDE TO EFFICiENT medical EXAM PREPARATION

By Live Dr - Sun Nov 09, 12:57 pm

GUIDE TO E FFIC IENT EXAM PREPARATION

3

Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). In previous years, the examination

was strictly organized around seven traditional disciplines: anatomy, behavioral

science, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and

physiology. In June 1991, the NBME began administering the “new” NBME

Part I examination, which offered a more integrated and multidisciplinary format

coupled with more clinically oriented questions.

In 1992, the USMLE replaced both the Federation Licensing Examination

(FLEX) and the certifying examinations of the NBME.3 The USMLE now serves

as the single examination system for U.S. medical students and international medical

graduates (IMGs) seeking medical licensure in the United States.

How Is the CBT Structured?

The CBT Step 1 exam consists of seven question “blocks” of 50 questions

each (see Figure 1) for a total of 350 questions, timed at 60 minutes per block.

A short 11-question survey follows the last question block. The computer begins

the survey with a prompt to proceed to the next block of questions. Don’t

be fooled! “Block 8” is the NBME survey.

These blocks were designed to reduce eyestrain and fatigue during the exam.

Once an examinee finishes a particular block, he or she must click on a

screen icon to continue to the next block. Examinees will not be able to go

back and change answers to questions from any previously completed block.

Changing answers, however, is allowed within a block of questions as long as

time permits.

Prometric test centers offer Step 1 on a year-round basis, except for the first two

weeks in January. The exam is given every day except Sunday at most centers.

Some schools administer the exam on their own campuses.

The CBT format of Step 1 is

simply a computerized version

of the former paper exam.

Don’t be fooled! After the last

question block comes the

NBME survey (“Block 8”).

F I G U R E 1 . Schematic of CBT Exam.

Lunch (during break time)

AM Register Block 1 Block 2 Block 3

PM Block 4 Block 5 Block 6 Block 7 “Block 8”

The Survey

Tutorial

(15 min)


GUIDE TO E FFICIENT EXAM PREPARATION 4

What Is the CBT Like?

Because of the unique environment of the CBT, it’s important that you be familiar

ahead of time with what your test-day conditions will be like. Familiarizing

yourself with the testing interface before the exam can add 15 minutes

to your break time! This is because a F tutorial, offered on exam day, may be

skipped if you are already familiar with the exam procedures and the testing

interface (see description of CD-ROM below). The 15 minutes is added to

your allotted break time (should you choose to skip the tutorial).

For security reasons, examinees are not allowed to bring any personal electronic

equipment into the testing area. This includes digital watches, watches

with computer communication and/or memory capability, cellular telephones,

and electronic paging devices. Food and beverages are also prohibited. The

testing centers are monitored by audio and video surveillance equipment.

In 2006, the USMLE will have completed its transition to FRED. FRED is a

computer-based format that is similar to the old forms of CBT, with minor differences.

The typical question screen in FRED has a question followed by a number of

choices on which an examinee can click, together with a number of navigational

buttons on top. There is a countdown timer on the upper left-hand corner

of the screen as well. There is also a button that allows the examinee to

mark the question for review. If questions happen to be longer than the screen

(which occurs very rarely), a scroll bar appears on the right, allowing the examinee

to see the rest of the question. Regardless of whether the examinee

clicks on the answer or leaves it blank, he or she must click the “Next” button

to advance to the next question.

Some questions contain figures or color illustrations. These are typically situated

to the right of the question. Although the contrast and brightness of the

screen can be adjusted, there are no other ways to manipulate the picture

(e.g., no zooming or panning).

The examinee can call up a window displaying normal lab values. In order to

do so, he or she must hit the “Lab” icon on the top part of the screen. Afterward,

the examinee will have the option to choose between “Blood,” “Cerebrospinal,”

“Hematologic,” or “Sweat and Urine.” The normal-values screen

may obscure the question if it is expanded. The examinee may have to scroll

down to search for the needed laboratory values.

FRED allows the examinee to see a running list of the questions on the left

part of the screen at all times. Also, with the new software, examinees will be

able to highlight or cross out information using their mouse. Finally, there is

an “Annotate” icon on the top part of the screen that allows students to write

notes to themselves for review at a later time. Examinees need to be careful

with all of these new features, because failure to do so can cost valuable time!

Skip the tutorial and add 15

minutes to your break time!

Test illustrations include:

Gross photos

Histology slides

Radiographs

EMs

Line drawings


Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). In previous years, the examination

was strictly organized around seven traditional disciplines: anatomy, behavioral

science, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and

physiology. In June 1991, the NBME began administering the “new” NBME

Part I examination, which offered a more integrated and multidisciplinary format

coupled with more clinically oriented questions.

In 1992, the USMLE replaced both the Federation Licensing Examination

(FLEX) and the certifying examinations of the NBME.3 The USMLE now serves

as the single examination system for U.S. medical students and international medical

graduates (IMGs) seeking medical licensure in the United States.

How Is the CBT Structured?

The CBT Step 1 exam consists of seven question “blocks” of 50 questions

each (see Figure 1) for a total of 350 questions, timed at 60 minutes per block.

A short 11-question survey follows the last question block. The computer begins

the survey with a prompt to proceed to the next block of questions. Don’t

be fooled! “Block 8” is the NBME survey.

These blocks were designed to reduce eyestrain and fatigue during the exam.

Once an examinee finishes a particular block, he or she must click on a

screen icon to continue to the next block. Examinees will not be able to go

back and change answers to questions from any previously completed block.

Changing answers, however, is allowed within a block of questions as long as

time permits.

Prometric test centers offer Step 1 on a year-round basis, except for the first two

weeks in January. The exam is given every day except Sunday at most centers.

Some schools administer the exam on their own campuses.

The CBT format of Step 1 is

simply a computerized version

of the former paper exam.

Don’t be fooled! After the last

question block comes the

NBME survey (“Block 8”).

F I G U R E 1 . Schematic of CBT Exam.

Lunch (during break time)

AM Register Block 1 Block 2 Block 3

PM Block 4 Block 5 Block 6 Block 7 “Block 8”

The Survey

Tutorial

(15 min)

GUIDE TO E FFICIENT EXAM PREPARATION 4

What Is the CBT Like?

Because of the unique environment of the CBT, it’s important that you be familiar

ahead of time with what your test-day conditions will be like. Familiarizing

yourself with the testing interface before the exam can add 15 minutes

to your break time! This is because a F tutorial, offered on exam day, may be

skipped if you are already familiar with the exam procedures and the testing

interface (see description of CD-ROM below). The 15 minutes is added to

your allotted break time (should you choose to skip the tutorial).

For security reasons, examinees are not allowed to bring any personal electronic

equipment into the testing area. This includes digital watches, watches

with computer communication and/or memory capability, cellular telephones,

and electronic paging devices. Food and beverages are also prohibited. The

testing centers are monitored by audio and video surveillance equipment.

In 2006, the USMLE will have completed its transition to FRED. FRED is a

computer-based format that is similar to the old forms of CBT, with minor differences.

The typical question screen in FRED has a question followed by a number of

choices on which an examinee can click, together with a number of navigational

buttons on top. There is a countdown timer on the upper left-hand corner

of the screen as well. There is also a button that allows the examinee to

mark the question for review. If questions happen to be longer than the screen

(which occurs very rarely), a scroll bar appears on the right, allowing the examinee

to see the rest of the question. Regardless of whether the examinee

clicks on the answer or leaves it blank, he or she must click the “Next” button

to advance to the next question.

Some questions contain figures or color illustrations. These are typically situated

to the right of the question. Although the contrast and brightness of the

screen can be adjusted, there are no other ways to manipulate the picture

(e.g., no zooming or panning).

The examinee can call up a window displaying normal lab values. In order to

do so, he or she must hit the “Lab” icon on the top part of the screen. Afterward,

the examinee will have the option to choose between “Blood,” “Cerebrospinal,”

“Hematologic,” or “Sweat and Urine.” The normal-values screen

may obscure the question if it is expanded. The examinee may have to scroll

down to search for the needed laboratory values.

FRED allows the examinee to see a running list of the questions on the left

part of the screen at all times. Also, with the new software, examinees will be

able to highlight or cross out information using their mouse. Finally, there is

an “Annotate” icon on the top part of the screen that allows students to write

notes to themselves for review at a later time. Examinees need to be careful

with all of these new features, because failure to do so can cost valuable time!

Skip the tutorial and add 15

minutes to your break time!

Test illustrations include:

Gross photos

Histology slides

Radiographs

EMs

Line drawings

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