Anatomy of an NBME Shelf Exam

The NBME offers comprehensive subject exams, ostensibly to torture students and devour whatever scraps of self-worth they have left. The typical question format:

A X-year-old [type of person] reports to the doctor/ER with a X-hour/day/week/month/year history of not-feeling-so-hot. Upon examination, distracting details. Irrelevant information. Single key relationship. More words to make the test take longer. Talkie-talkie. What is the likely cause of this you-should-have-learned-in-your-class-and-probably-did-but-maybe-you-didn’t-who-knows-there-are-so-many-questions-on-this-test-it’s-all-a-blur person’s problem?

Rinse and repeat for three hours. Then do it for it every class you take. The joys of biochemistry could never be fully appreciated until they were compiled in such a form.

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