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Date Updated: Aug 11, 2017

Comprehensive Self-Assessment Services

The NBME offers three web-based self-assessments to medical students and graduates evaluating their readiness to take USMLE:

  • Comprehensive Basic Science Self-Assessment (CBSSA)
    The CBSSA uses multiple-choice items based on information typically covered during basic science medical education courses. The content of the CBSSA items resembles the content of those in Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®).
  • Comprehensive Clinical Science Self-Assessment (CCSSA)
    The CCSSA uses multiple-choice items based on information typically covered during the core clinical clerkships. The content of the CCSSA items resembles the content of those in Step 2 CK of the USMLE.
  • Comprehensive Clinical Medicine Self-Assessment (CCMSA)
    The CCMSA uses information typically covered in clinical encounters. The content of the CCMSA items resembles the content of those in the multiple-choice component of Step 3 of the USMLE.

NBME research demonstrates that under certain circumstances there is a moderate relationship between performance on the CBSSA and CCSSA and subsequent Step 1 or Step 2 CK. US and International medical students and graduates may find these self-assessments to be valuable tools as they prepare for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK.

Performance Feedback

  • An individual performance profile with diagnostic feedback that highlights areas of strength and weakness
  • A score interpretation guide with a conversion table that translates an assessment score to an approximated total score on the USMLE score scale (not available for CCMSA)
  • The number of items answered incorrectly by content category; and
  • The ability to review the text of items answered incorrectly with their correct answers, explanations for the correct answers will not be included
  • Longitudinal feedback provided when multiple assessments are completed

Essential Information

Please see the table below for essential information about these self-assessments. Additional details are provided in the NBME Self-Assessment Services Information Guide.

  CBSSA CCSSA CCMSA
Format Six forms: 200 multiple-choice items each. Four forms: 184 multiple-choice items each. One form: 180 multiple-choice items.
Standard-Paced Four sections, 50 items each. Up to 1 hour, 15 minutes to complete each section. Four sections, 46 items each. Up to 1 hour, 9 minutes to complete each section. Five sections; 36 items each. Up to 45 minutes to complete each section.
Self-Paced Four sections; 50 items each. Up to 5 hours to complete each section. Four sections, 46 items each. Up to 4 hours, 36 minutes to complete each section. Five sections; 36 items each. Up to 3 hours to complete each section.
Access & Assessment Self-Assessments are delivered over the Web. You must log on to access a self-assessment and start it within 30 days (access period). Once the self-assessment is started, you must complete it within 20 days. You may sign off and resume/continue the self-assessment at any time during this 20-day administration period.
Fees These self-assessments are available for a fee of $60.00 in US currency. Payment is non-refundable.

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