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The CRU committee (Comprehensive Review of USMLE; a committee formed by NBME, FSMB, and ECFMG) has announced today that changes to USMLE Step 1 are coming starting May 15 2010.

As we anticipated previously the new reduction of items from 48 to 46 questions per block does not come free. It is at the expense of longer clinical vignettes.

Exam takers will continue facing the same block time and perhaps even longer despite the reduction in the total number of items. That of course depends on how many questions will be converted from the classical non-clinical style to the new clinical vignette format.

The announcement came today stated this "non-clinical presentations will be reduced" note that they did not say "will be removed" which means we may still some of these but to a lesser extent.

What does it mean?
A pure non-clinical basic question is like asking us what is the most common cause of UTI in women. Period
While in the new clinical vignette you'll have a case scenario (often prolonged) detailing a women presenting with signs and symptoms indicative of a UTI infection and then the question sentence will be the same, i.e., what is the most likely causative agent in this patient.

In essence, this does not seem to change the way we are building our basic knowledge. We still need to know the factoid (E. coli is the most common cause of UTI in women) however, added this time, we need to know how do women with UTI clinically present.

In a separate announcement they also mentioned that "decrease the number of items that require only recall of isolated facts" which basically revolves around the same issue.

Here's the link to the full announcement published today April 21, 2010.
http://www.usmle.org/General_Information/announcements.aspx?contentId=46
 

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We have known for a while that the questions would be written to accomodate not just recall but comprehension and clinical presentations, that is why we have built our program around how to answer these types of questions correctly. Our students are reporting scores in the 99 percentile - because after working with us they now know how to approach the questions and find the key points that help them pick the right answer. If you happen to read this post you will get a discount to our May 17th step 1 program. Email us and remember to put the discount code KJ05 in the email to get the discount. We only have a few seats left - we keep the programs under 20 students. www.instituteforboardprep.com
 
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