Clinical training and shelf prep: pointers for med students

Before you begin your clinical training, review the learning objectives at your medical school and consider the following checklist.

  • Prioritize clerkship assignments such as presentations, EPAs, OSCE, and assigned practice cases (e.g., Aquifer for Pediatrics). Schedule due dates and self-directed deadlines for lengthier and more complex assignments.
  • Implement a daily workflow for clinical training that includes clerkship expectations, and patient information that you must collect and update (e.g., HPIs, H+Ps, and consult notes). Consider a personal or pre-made form for this information. Click H+P Forms or scutsheets to access free downloads from
  • Review the shelf exam format detailed in the NBME content outline with sample questions at the NBME website before each clerkship. Shelf exams have 110 questions. If you have test accommodations at your medical school, make sure you apply for the same accommodations with the NBME.
  • Identify one learning resource (e.g., book, video, etc.) based on the requirements at your medical school and the distribution of topics from the NBME. Clarify a daily workflow to ensure you learn what you need to learn.
  • Identify one practice resource to assess what you learn from your book or video (e.g., UWorld, Amboss, First Aid Q+A). Clarify a daily or weekly workflow to ensure you assess comprehension and recall and maintain your knowledge.
  • Identify one assessment resource for progress tracking during shelf preparation (e.g., NBME practice tests, UWorld practice blocks, or practice questions from other identified resources – Pretest, Blueprints, etc.). Clarify a weekly workflow to assess progress during clerkship.

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General H+P form

NBME website



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