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 USMLE Step 1 on their ‘first attempt’, RUSM requires that students first pass the NBME CBSE.

Students are required to take the NBME CBSE at the end of their final Medical Sciences semester. An unexcused absence from the NBME 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 as scheduled at the end of Medical 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 must be submitted directly to the Office of the Registrar at Once the student feels they are prepared can apply for readmission. Readmission is not guaranteed. Students who are readmitted to sit for the NBME 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 NBME CBSE within three attempts is subject to dismissal. Students who matriculate on or after 9/1/18 and are subsequently dismissed for failing NBME CBSE on theirfinal attempt will not be eligible to appeal.  Please refer to “AppealsProcess for Academic Dismissals” section for more information.

Subject Clerkship Exam (SCE)

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

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.

NBME Subject Clerkship Exam (SCE) Scoring and Grading:

 NBME SCE Scheduling – 1stAttempt

NBME 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. Please note that some clinical sites requires RUSM to schedule the exam on the last Friday of the rotation.

NBME SCE “No Show” Policy

Students who fail to sit for their scheduled NBME 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 considered for an exemption from the “No Show” policy.  Student must submit the “Prometric Care Card” or Prometric email notification that the site was closed.  RUSM will review the documentation to make a decision to void the attempt.  If granted, student will be rescheduled without penalty.

Student must provide official documentation to the Office of the Registrar for review and confirmation before the attempt will be voided. No other exemptions are permitted.

NBME SCE Attempts

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

  1. Highest score a student can achieve on a NBME SCE retake in a core remediate is a “C”.
  2. Student will be placed on academic probation during a clinical core clerkship remediation.
  3. The clinical core clerkship remediation requires repeating the entire core clerkship, a fourth attempt on the NBME SCE, and completingthe online clinical curriculum content.
  4. The “I” on the original clinical core clerkship will revert to a “F”.
  5. The “F” will revert to a grade of “R” upon successful completion of the clinical core clerkship remediation.

Multiple NBME SCE Failures & Required Independent Study Period

ISP & NBME SCE Failures:

Independent Study Period forNBMESCE Exam Retakes

NBMESCE Scheduling – Retakes

Students who fail two (2) or moreNBMESCEs may not commence electives until all SCEs are passed.  If a student has started an elective clerkship when they arenotified of theirsecond failed SCE, theywill be permitted to complete the clerkship and be placed in TW status once the elective clerkship is completed.

Comprehensive Clinical Science Exam (CCSE)

This is a formative exam to gauge a student’s readiness for USMLE Step 2 CK and to prepare every student to score theirbest 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.

Effective September 1, 2018, students are required to passthe NBME CCSE to be eligible to sit for the USMLE Step 2 CK. The current minimum passing score for the NBME CCSE is 74 and is subject to change.


RUSM Students are eligible to sit for the NBME CCSE after receiving passing scores on four (4) NBME SCEs. Students are encouraged tosuccessfullycomplete all clinical core clerkships prior to sitting for USMLE Step 2 CK.


Studentsare required to sit for their first attempt on the NBME CCSE within 90 days frompassing all six (6) NBME SCEs.  Failure to sit by this deadline will count as a failed attempt and the student will be charged an exam fee of $145 USD.  This fee is subject to change.

Please note that NBME CCSE exams are scheduled no earlier than 45 days in advance of the start of the two week exam window. Students must meet the eligibility criteria before submitting a request to schedule.  To schedule the NBME CCSE, please send a request to

NBME CCSE Failures & “No Shows”:

Students have up to three (3) consecutive attempts to pass the NBME CCSE. If a student fails any exam attempt, but scores between a 68 and 73 on any attempt, an automatic fourth attempt will be granted.

For NBME CCSE retakes, students may sit for their next attempt 90 days after the date of the previous attempt.  However, the deadline to sit for the retake is 120 days from the date of the previous attempt.

Failure to sit by this deadline will count as a failed attempt and the student will be charged an exam fee of $145 USD.  This fee is subject to change.

A student who fails on their last attempt will be referred to the Student Promotions Committee – Clinical Science subcommittee for review.