Inside Nevada Medicine

Inside Nevada Medicine | July 30, 2019

News for A Healthy Nevada

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Reflections from the Dean: You asked, we did

By Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Toward the end of their second year of medical school, our students are required to take one of the major steps that defines the process of becoming a physician, Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. The daylong exam is a major source of stress for medical students across the country, and for good reason: The results can define an aspiring doctor's career trajectory.

Divided into seven, 60-minute blocks, covering up to 280 total questions, Step 1 assesses whether a medical student understands and can apply important concepts in biomedical science that are fundamental to the safe and competent practice of medicine.

It is a grueling exam, plain and simple. When and how to prepare students for this exam has become a topic of national discussion among medical students, medical school deans and educational leaders, including many of us at UNR Med. Our students asked if it was possible to improve their test preparation experience, to better link their test preparation to our core curriculum, and to help them perform at the best possible level. Our resulting response was an example of "You asked, we did," an educational practice considered a mark of excellence by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting body for medical schools.

We redesigned the classroom curriculum to better mirror the Step 1 blocks, revised and expanded the practice tests and provided additional study resources. We are seeing significant improvement in what was already a solid history of performance by our students.

Read more Reflections from the Dean.

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