How We Evaluate Our Student's NBME's

By using a well standardized test like the NBME to evaluate a student's readiness to take the actual USMLE exam, the PASS Program has been able to gain very valuable information. We have been able to look for clear trends and associations between students' scores and their ability to perform well on the exam. Therefore, we have decided to create a more formal evaluation system that will assist a student in gauging how much more time (and perhaps cost, if necessary) and effort he/she may have to expend to finalize preparation for this the hardest exam of his/her medical career.

There are three main patterns that appear from evaluation of the NBME test. The first pattern speaks to the knowledge base of a student. This pattern allows us to inform a student that additional time must be spent reinforcing his/her knowledge base by fully reviewing all of the notes from the program in its entirety. After that, then we create a study plan for the student which then concentrates on any particular topics which may still be weak after further testing.

The second pattern that can emerge from evaluation of NBME scores is a more complex pattern that speaks to the student's ability to integrate knowledge, apply medical knowledge clinically, and process large amounts of medical information. Unfortunately, in order to assist a student in correcting these problems, a tutor has to do one-on-one sessions with a student. These problems with integrating knowledge are not easily corrected by information that one would read out of a book. They have to be taught by someone who has these abilities and knows how to teach these abilities to someone else.

And the final pattern that emerges from the evaluation of NBME scores is a pattern that speaks to the student's ability to apply excellent test taking skills consistently. It shows whether a student can apply the many rules of test taking that maximize one's test performance and, of course, one's final test score.

By evaluating the NBME scores of thousands of former students that have attended the PASS Program, we have created three main levels of performance and we have tried to create a plan for that achievement level. These plans will help a student plan for success. By following these plans, the student should experience steady progress on his/her scores until he/she achieves the desired NBME score prior to taking the actual USMLE.

If your score is less than 150 on the first NBME test:

We recommend that you upgrade into the eight week program so that you may receive more one-on-one sessions. These sessions allow you to have more of your questions answered by your tutor on a more frequent and regular basis. This program also offers you more tutorial sessions in the last two weeks of the eight week program. This will help you review the program curriculum, review your clues through attendance of drill sessions held in the evenings, and also help you review and strengthen your test taking skills

If your NBME score is below 150 on the second attempt:

  1. We recommend that you take another four to six weeks to thoroughly review your notes at least twice.
  2. During the first round of review, you should begin your day with one full set of questions, untimed and unused.
  3. After your set of questions, score them and review each of them so that you learn from your mistakes.
  4. Then you should spend the next 8 to 10 hours studying your notes.
  5. Drill your clues at the end of the day for one hour or you can attend the evening drill for one hour.
  6. After you review your notes thoroughly once, then you should increase your questions to two sets each day. You score and review each question to learn from your mistakes.
  7. You then review your notes for the next 6 to 8 hours, by choosing to review your lowest subject performance of that day. This approach will keep your score steadily moving upward.
  8. Drill your clues for one hour at the end of each day or attend an evening drill for one hour
  9. Take an NBME test every 10 to 14 days and discuss with a tutor or Dr. Francis

Or

You extend your participation in the PASS Program by signing up for an additional 4 to 6 week session

  1. This way, you get to review all of the topics again live
  2. You get more tutorial sessions
  3. Each day after class, you should complete one set of questions
  4. Each day after class, you should drill clues for one hour or attend one of the evening drills
  5. An assigned tutor will guide you about which NBME tests to take
  6. You get to choose which tutor has been the most helpful to you as your primary tutor

If your score falls between 150 and 300 on the second NBME:

  1. We recommend that you take the next 2 to 4 weeks and thoroughly review your notes from the program, then take another NBME
  2. Begin each day by doing one set of fifty random questions, then score and review them
  3. If your score rises by at least 50 points, then you are on the right track
  4. Each day, begin by doing two sets of questions
  5. Score and review each set of questions so that you learn from your mistakes
  6. DO NOT take notes from question explanations
  7. After reviewing your questions, then you should study your notes, focusing each day on the lowest subject performance
  8. Every two weeks, you will be instructed to take another NBME test to follow your progress

Or

  1. You can extend your participation in the PASS Program by 4 weeks
  2. We will evaluate your score and recommend to you which classes you should attend a second time
  3. During the weeks that you are NOT attending class, you would get tutorial sessions 5 times a week
  4. During the weeks that you are attending classes, you will receive 2 tutorial sessions per week
  5. This combination addresses knowledge issues and test taking issues at the same time
  6. During these 4 weeks, you should completely review ALL of your notes from the program
  7. After you completely review your notes, you will be instructed to take an NBME test to track your progress

If your NBME score falls above 300 on the second NBME:

  1. We recommend that you begin by completely reviewing ALL of your notes from the program to refresh and reinforce your knowledge. This will take 2 to 4 weeks
  2. You should begin each day by completing one set of random questions, then score and review each one of them so that you may learn from your mistakes
  3. After your questions, then spend the next 8 to 10 hours reviewing your notes
  4. At the end of each evening, spend one hour drilling your PP clues
  5. After you have completely reviewed ALL of your notes, then take another NBME to chart your progress
  6. If your score rises by at least 50 points, then increase your daily sets of questions to two sets, one set of random questions followed by a second set focused on two areas of weakness
  7. Start each day with the two sets of questions, followed by scoring and reviewing each question in order to learn from your mistakes
  8. After you complete your two sets of questions, then spend the next 6 to 8 hours studying your notes by focusing on your lowest subject performance for that day
  9. Take another NBME every two weeks to chart your progress until you get two NBME scores above 400
  10. If your score is no longer rising, then call the program and discuss with Dr. Francis

Or

  1. You can opt to extend your participation at the program for 2 to 4 weeks and let us help you fine tune your knowledge and your test taking skills
  2. You will choose a primary tutor who will see you for most of your tutorial sessions
  3. We recommend that you begin each day by completing a set of random questions, then correct and review each question
  4. Then spend 8 to 10 hours reviewing your notes from the PASS Program
  5. Attend your assigned tutorial sessions
  6. Spend one hour each evening drilling your PP clues
  7. Or you could attend one evening drill session
  8. You will be instructed to take an NBME approximately every two weeks to assess your improved knowledge and test taking skills
  9. You are ready to take your exam when you can score above 400 on two consecutive NBME tests

If your score is above 400 on the second NBME test:

  1. You should be able to complete preparing on your own
  2. Take the next 2 weeks and completely review ALL of your notes from the program
  3. We recommend that you begin each day by completing two sets of questions, one being random and one set of questions being focused on any two areas of weakness
  4. After completing your sets of questions, you should spend the next 8 hours each day studying your notes
  5. Spend one hour each evening drilling your PP clues
  6. After reviewing ALL of your notes, then take NBME form 11. If your score is above 400, then contact Dr. Francis or Dr. Le Pava for final review of your tests and progress

Or

  1. You could opt to extend your participation in the PASS Program for an additional 2 weeks and therefore receive more one-on-one tutorials
  2. We recommend that you begin each day by completing two sets of questions, one set of random questions followed by one set of questions focused on two weak areas
  3. Score and review each question after completing each set
  4. Then you spend the next 6 to 8 hours reviewing your notes from the PASS Program
  5. Drill your PP clues for one hour each evening
  6. Or you could elect to attend the evening drills for an hour each evening