The NBME Medicine Shelf exam assess a student’s mastery and practical application of general medicine knowledge on adult patients. It is typically taken during the third year of medical school, after the medicine clerkship. It is a particularly intensive and difficult exam that covers a broad range of medical information. With that in mind, students should anticipate dedicating more studying time to this exam compared to other Shelfs.
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Not all medical students are required to take the NBME Medicine Shelf Exam, and it’s not a required exam for obtaining a U.S. doctor’s license. However, most medical schools have a required medicine clerkship, and the most popular way to test students on this particular rotation is by using the NBME’s official Medicine Subject Examination. The exam can be taken on campus at select medical schools or at authorized testing locations, like Prometric test centers.
The Medicine Shelf exam is formatted as an online test consisting of 110 questions which must be answered in 165 minutes. It shares the same interface as the USMLE Step exams, with each question presented as a hypothetical clinical scenario. The exam is graded on a national average, though whether or not you pass your entire clerkship will depend on your individual medical school’s requirements. More specifically, the number of correct answers you get places you in a percentile, which is then measured across national grades.
While students have long relied on traditional textbooks and resources for the exam, they are often too expansive and unwieldy to use when short on time. A more unified and condensed solution is available for more streamlined studying.
AMBOSS is both a clinical companion on the wards and a reliable study guide for your NBME® Medicine Shelf exam. Access medicine-specific Articles in the Library when you’re with patients or rounding with your team, as well as 1950+ practice questions in the Qbank that can help you study more in-depth (even offline—check out our mobile apps for Android and iOS).