At the end of basic sciences, my school requires us to pass a comprehensive basic sciences exam (CBSE), which is administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). We must obtain a minimum score of 70 in order to be eligible to sit for Step 1. If you’re not familiar with the CBSE, it’s a comprehensive exam covering any and all topics learned in basic sciences. It takes a little bit of each subject and incorporates it into one question, in order for you to be able to relate everything and answer correctly. This was challenging for me because I had quite a difficult time tying everything together.
I ended up not passing my first attempt at the CBSE, which was really discouraging because I had studied so hard for it. Many of my friends also did not pass, so I was not alone. I was very discouraged, but I know that this one attempt and one exam does not define me and my knowledge. I need to change up my study habits and methods in order to succeed on the second attempt, so I can then begin preparing for Step 1. One big thing I recommend doing after taking a CBSE and learning you’ve failed is to schedule the next one ASAP. Many people think against this because they want to be ready and feel ready for their next attempt, but it’s beneficial to schedule your next exam so you have a goal to work towards and are not studying open-ended for months at a time with no deadline. My next attempt will be in December, and I’m ready to knock it out!