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What is the CBSE?

The Comprehensive Basic Science Exam (CBSE) is a NBME exam offered to and administered by medical schools. "These examinations are achievement tests covering material typically learned during basic science education. They reflect the content of the United States Medical Licensing Examination™ (USMLE™) Step 1 exam." The CBSE is a proctored timed exam; medical schools must follow all NBME rules for administration of the exam. Some medical schools use this as a required exam for credit. Your score on this exam is NOT part of your transcript or Student Affairs file. The exam is administered through the UME office. .

Why am I required to take the CBSE?

The CBSE is a strong predictor of how well students do on the USMLE Step I exam. For our students, the correlation between the CBSE and Step I is 0.76 (similia to results in the medical education literature). Each student who completes the CBSE will receive written feedback on general content areas of strength and areas for improvement. You will be offered a variety of dates for the exam. You can only take the exam once and you cannot order the exam yourself; it must be administered by the SOM.

How should I decide when to take the exam -- before the winter holidays or in January?

You should first consider how well you did in your Phase I courses? (The correlation between our students' average Phase I exam score [averaging across all Phase I blocks] and the USMLE Step I was 0.64.) Do you feel that you learned the material well? Did you score above 80% on average for your block exams in Human Body, Blood & Lymph, and CVPR? (The average exam scores correlations to Step I were 0.54, 0.54, and 0.61, respectively.) Have you begun to study for Step I yet? If you did well in Phase I and you feel you learned the content well, then taking the CBSE in November is probably a good idea. You will receive feedback from the exam on your areas of strength and areas for improvement. This will give you a chance to concentrate on your areas for improvement over the holiday break. If you feel that you were weak in some of the Phase I blocks or that you will have more anxiety getting feedback before you start studying for Step I, then you should probably wait and take the CBSE in January.