National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME)

Comprehensive Basic Science Exam (CBSE)

The NBME CBSE exam has proven to be a good predictor of student performance on the USMLE Step 1 exam. In an effort to assess the readiness of RUSM students to pass the Step 1 on their ‘first attempt’, RUSM requires that students first pass the NBME CBSE.

Students are required to take the CBSE at the end of their final Foundations of Medicine semester. An unexcused absence from the CBSE will result in a failing grade for the Foundations of Medicine course. On the rare occasion a student may be excused from taking the first attempt in Dominica as scheduled at the end of basic sciences, an excused absence will prevent the student from failing the FM course, but not prevent a “0” being recorded as their first attempt. Students must obtain a passing score, as determined by the Dean, prior to being verified to take USMLE Step 1.

Students are given a total three attempts to obtain a passing grade on the NBME CBSE and must pass:

Any student who is not prepared to sit for their final attempt has the option to personally withdraw from the university prior to the date of their scheduled exam. Requests to withdraw can be submitted to Registrar@RossU.edu. Once the student feels he/she is prepared can apply for readmission. Readmission is not guaranteed. Students who are readmitted to sit for the CBSE will be given a new deadline and will have a single attempt to pass the exam. Failure to pass the exam will result in the student being subject to dismissal.

Any student failing to pass the CBSE within three attempts is subject to dismissal. Students can submit their appeal for review by the Promotions Committee-Foundations of Medicine (see “Appeals”). The Promotions Committee- Foundations of Medicine will then conduct a careful review of the student’s entire academic record, and either grant a student an additional opportunity to take the NBME CBSE or uphold the dismissal.

Subject Clerkship Exam (SCE)

The NBME SCE are required for each clinical core clerkship and the SCE score is weighted (25%) into the overall core clinical clerkship grade:

A student must pass at least five (5) core SCEs, be eligible to sit for the NBME CCSE, which is a requirement to be eligible to sit for USMLE Step 2 CK. Students can schedule the NBME CCSE upon passing four (4) SCEs by submitting an Early Verification Agreement form (See EVA form), however, students are eligible to sit for the NBME CCSE until passing five (5) SCEs.

SCE Attempts

Students have up to three attempts to pass the SCE for each clinical core clerkship.

  1. Student will sit for the SCE at the conclusion the clinical core clerkship (see “SCE Scheduling – 1st Attempt).
  2. Students who fail their first attempt will be required to retake the SCE at the end of the student’s clinical core track schedule. Student will receive a grade of “I” for their overall clinical core clerkship grade.
  3. The highest score a student can achieve on a SCE retake is a “C”.
  4. If a student fails a SCE in a different clinical core clerkship discipline, the student will be required to take an Independent Study Period (ISP) at the end of their clinical core track schedule (see “Independent Study Period for SCE Exam Retakes”.)
  5. If a student fails a SCE on a second attempt, student will be required to take an ISP (see “Independent Study Period for SCE Exam Retakes”.)
  6. If a student fails a SCE on a third attempt, the student will be required to remediate the entire clinical core clerkship. Student will be placed on academic probation during a clinical core clerkship remediation. The clinical core clerkship remediation requires repeating the entire core clerkship, a fourth attempt on the SCE, and complete the online clinical curriculum content.  The Incomplete grade (“I”) on the original clinical core clerkship will revert to a Failure (“F”). The Failure (“F”) will revert to a grade of Remediation (“R”) upon successful completion of the clinical core clerkship remediation.
  7. Students who fail the fourth attempt in the clinical core clerkship remediation is subject to dismissal.
  8. Students who fail two (2) different SCEs on the third attempt for each exam will be subject to dismissal since the student will have two clinical failures.
  9. Students who fail two (2) or more subject clerkship examinations may not commence electives until all subject clerkship examinations are passed. If a student has started an elective clerkship when he/she is notified of his/her second failed SCE, he/she will be permitted to complete the clerkship and be placed in TW status once the elective clerkship is completed.

SCE Scheduling – 1st Attempt

SCEs are scheduled during a two week exam window starting the Monday of the last week of the clerkship through the Sunday of the first week after the clerkship ends.

SCE “No Show” Policy

Students who fail to sit for their scheduled SCE will receive a failed score and it will count as an attempt (i.e. a “No Show”.) A “No Show” includes oversight on the day/time/location (i.e. showing up on the wrong date/time/location) or not allowed to sit due to insufficient identification (invalid/expired ID.)

Students who experience a documented technology issue or are unable to sit for an exam due to an official closure of the exam center (i.e. due to weather) will be exempt from the “No Show” policy and will be rescheduled without penalty. Student must provide official documentation to Office the Registrar for review and confirmation before the attempt will be voided. No other exemptions are permitted.

SCE Score Policy

  1. The passing score for the SCE in each discipline will be equal to or greater than the 5th percentile on the NBME score report for that discipline/exam.
  2. The minimum passing scores will be reviewed and modified annually. The review will occur during March of each year for implementation on July 1.
  3. The highest score a student can receive on an SCE retake is a “C”.

Independent Study Period for SCE Exam Retakes

The ISP is not a formal course, rather it is simply required time off from all other curricular requirements (i.e. clinical clerkships) to study for the failed subject clerkship examinations. Students who are required to take an ISP are highly encouraged to contact their Office of Student and Professional Development advisor to review and discuss the impact on the student’s graduation date and match year.

SCE Failures during the clinical core track schedule (1st attempt):

1) Failing 2 to 3 SCEs on first attempt during clinical core clerkship track schedule:

  1. Students failing two to three (2 to 3) SCEs are required to take at least six (6) consecutive weeks of an ISP at the end of their clinical core clerkship track schedule to prepare for and retake the failed subject clerkship examinations.
  2. Students will be in a TW status during the ISP.
  3. All SCE retakes during a 6-week ISP are scheduled during a two-week exam window at the end of the ISP (Week 5 and Week 6.) Students can request additional time for retakes by submitting a request 30 days prior to their scheduled exam window. Students who request additional time for exams will have their ISP extended and will remain in a TW status.
  1. Failing 4 or more SCEs on first attempt during clinical core clerkship track schedule.
    1. Students failing 4 or more SCEs are required to take an ISP for at least 12 weeks to prepare for and retake the failed subject clerkship examinations.
    2. Students will be in a TW status during the ISP.
    3. All SCE retakes during a 12-week ISP (or longer) are scheduled during a two-week exam window towards the end of the ISP (starting in Week 9.) Students can request additional time for retakes by submitting a request 30 days prior to their scheduled exam window. Students who request additional time for exams will have their ISP extended and will remain in a TW status.

Subsequent SCE Failures and ISP

  1. Students failing any one (1) subject clerkship examination a second time will be required to take an additional six (6) weeks of study time off for each exam that has been failed twice. For example, failing one (1) subject clerkship exam twice will require a student to study for six (6) weeks, failing two (2) subject clerkship exams twice will require a student to study for 12 weeks, etc.
  2. All SCE retakes during a 6-week ISP are scheduled during a two-week exam window at the end of the ISP (Week 5 and Week 6.) Students can request additional time for retakes by submitting a request 30 days prior to their scheduled exam window. Students who request additional time for exams will have their ISP extended and will remain in a TW status.
  3. All SCE retakes during a 12-week ISP (or longer) are scheduled during a two-week exam window towards the end of the ISP (starting in Week 9.) Students can request additional time for retakes by submitting a request 30 days prior to their scheduled exam window. Students who request additional time for exams will have their ISP extended and will remain in a TW status.
  4. SCEs retake scheduling during an ISP longer than 12 weeks will be determined on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Office of the Registrar.

Students in TW status are considered not enrolled and may be subject to repayment status depending on the policies of their lenders.

Students are not permitted to participate in NBME CCSE, USMLE Step 2 CK or CS during their ISP period unless they meet the eligibility requirements for each exam.

Students who will be sitting out for the ISP will not be eligible for Financial Aid. Students are not billed additional tuition for the ISP.

Students who fail two (2) or more SCEs may not commence electives until all SCEs are passed. If a student has started an elective clerkship when he/she is notified of his/her second failed SCE, he/she will be permitted to complete the clerkship and be placed in TW status once the elective clerkship is completed.

Please note that an ISP will be reported on the student’s Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) and to any state or government credentialing and/or licensing boards.

Comprehensive Clinical Science Exam (CCSE)

Overview:

Students are required to sit for the CCSE to be eligible to sit for the USMLE Step 2 CK. This is a formative exam to gauge a student’s readiness for USMLE Step 2 and to prepare every student to score his/her best possible score. The examination will be provided at no cost to students unless the student is a no-show or fails to cancel/reschedule within the time frame indicated by the Office of the Registrar.

Eligibility:

RUSM Students are eligible to sit for the NBME CCSE after receiving passing scores on five (5) NBME SCEs. Students are encouraged to complete all clinical core clerkships prior to sitting for USMLE Step 2 CK.

Students can schedule the CCSE upon passing four (4) SCEs and submitting an Early Verification Agreement (EVA) form, but must pass five SCEs to sit for the exam. Students who sit for the CCSE before meeting all eligibility requirements will receive a conduct violation.

To be eligible to sit for Step 2 CK, students must pass once or sit twice for the CCSE. Student who fail to sit for an attempt will be charge a no-show fee but it will not count as attempt for the CCSE. Students must actually sit for the CCSE to be counted as an attempt. Please note that this is a minimum 45 day period to schedule the second attempt on the CCSE.

Students need to schedule their CCSE attempts to ensure meeting the deadline for first attempt on USMLE Step 2 CK and CS.

Students who fail the NBME CCSE exam a second time may sit for the USMLE Step 2 CK, although RUSM strongly recommends that they obtain academic counseling before so doing. Students who fail the CCSE are at risk at not passing the USMLE Step 2 CK.