Obstetrics & Gynecology Shelf Exam

What You Need to Know

The NBME® Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB-GYN) Shelf exam tests a student’s ability to assess women’s health and to manage pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum stage. Success on the exam will depend on what is learned throughout the Obstetrics & Gynecology clerkship, coursework, and private study time. OB-GYN covers a wide breadth of topics related to inpatient management, outpatient management, and surgery.

Looking for a new OB-GYN Shelf resource?

How to Study for the Obstetrics & Gynecology Shelf Exam

  • Expect a 50/50 split between obstetrics and gynecology questions.
  • Familiarize yourself with what’s normal for OB-GYN: question stems can be tricky and are will lead you to believe something is off even when everything is normal.
  • Dedicate extra studying time to Obstetrics since it isn’t generally introduced to students until their clinical years. Gynecology, however, might already feel familiar due to its basis on pathology.
  • Study High Yield topics like cervical, breast, and ovarian cancer; contraception; pregnancy; urinary incontinence and STDs.
  • Master differential diagnoses of OB-GYN pathologies, since they can seem quite similar.

Taking the Obstetrics & Gynecology Shelf Exam

Not all medical students are required to take the NBME OB-GYN Shelf exam, and it’s not required for obtaining a U.S. doctor’s license. However, most medical schools have a required OB-GYN clerkship, and the most popular way to test students on this particular rotation is by using the NBME’s official Obstetrics & Gynecology Subject Examination. The exam can be taken on campus at select medical schools or at authorized testing locations, like Prometric test centers.

The OB-GYN 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.

Succeed on Your OB-GYN Rotation with AMBOSS

AMBOSS is both a clinical companion on the wards and a reliable study guide for your NBME® Obstetrics & Gynecology Shelf exam. With hundreds of Qbank questions and high-yield Articles, you have the resource you need to get through and succeed on your entire OB-GYN rotation (both on and offline—check out our mobile apps for Android and iOS).

Prepare for the OB-GYN Shelf Exam with the Qbank

  • Practice your test-taking skills with 400+ of NBME-style OB-GYN questions. Each is linked to a corresponding Article with further explanations on what you’re being questioned on.
  • Identify the most important information in a question stem by enabling High-yield mode. If you still need help, refer to our Attending Tip.
  • Find detailed explanations behind every possible answer on a question so that you can better understand why something is right or wrong.
  • See an overview of your progress with a continuous analysis of your session success; you’ll be able to pinpoint—and close—knowledge gaps.
  • Study on-the-go with the Qbank app for iOS or Android. You can squeeze in practice questions in your downtime between rounding, even when you’re offline.

Find a Clinical Companion in the Library

  • Access Articles packed with Obstetrics & Gynecology topics, like this one on Cervical cancer.
  • Save time by focusing in on high-yield topics, including Benign breast conditions, Breast cancer and Vulvovaginitis.
  • Use interactive materials like X-rays, ECGs, ultrasounds, CTs and MRIs and diagnose more easily with the help of overlays and captions.
  • Master the differential diagnoses of various diseases and conditions, like Ovarian cysts and tumors, in a pinch.
  • Keep the Knowledge app for iOS or Android handy at the point-of-care.

Use AMBOSS as a Clinical Companion