fmCASES national examination as a pretest in a family medicine clerkship

Dana R. Nguyen*, Jessica T. Servey, La Traia S. Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Pretests have been shown to contribute to improved performance on standardized tests by serving to facilitate development of individualized study plans. fmCASES is an existing validated examination used widely in family medicine clerkships throughout the country. Our study aimed to determine if implementation of the fmCASES National Examination as a pretest decreased overall failure rates on the end-of-clerkship National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) subject examination, and to assess if fmCASES pretest scores correlate with student NBME scores. METHODS: One hundred seventy-one and 160 clerkship medical students in different class years at a single institution served as the control and intervention groups, respectively. The intervention group took the fmCASES National Examination as a pretest at the beginning of the clerkship and received educational prescriptions based on the results. Chi-square analysis, Pearson correlation, and receiver operating curve analysis were used to evaluate the effectiveness and correlations for the intervention. RESULTS: Students completing an fmCASES National Examination as a pretest failed the end-of-clerkship NBME exam at significantly lower rates than those students not taking the pretest. The overall failure rate for the intervention group was 8.1% compared to 17.5% for the control group (P=0.01). Higher pretest scores correlated with higher NBME examination scores (r=0.55, P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: fmCASES National Examination is helpful as a formative assessment tool for students beginning their family medicine clerkship. This tool introduces students to course learning objectives, assists them in identifying content areas most in need of study, and can be used to help students design individualized study plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-145
Number of pages4
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


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