A Small Group, Problem-Based Learning Approach to Preparing Students to Retake Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination

Janice A. Walters, Lila G. Croen, Zoe Brown Weissman, Michael J. Reichgott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: We developed a 6-week elective program to offer to students who do not meet the College's passage of Step 1 graduation requirement. Description: Program participants meet in small groups, led by an educator, twice weekly. Nonparticipants study independently. The program uses a problem-based learning (PBL) methodology to facilitate student learning. Timed practice tests serve as stimuli to help participants (a) identify areas in which their knowledge is either strong or deficient, (b) reorganize and strengthen already learned information, and (c) become more proficient at reasoning with information while answering test questions. Evaluation: Participants' and nonparticipants' performance on Step 1 was compared. Over a 4-year period, significantly more participants (n - 33) passed Step 1 compared to nonparticipants (n = 20; 97% vs. 75%, p < . 01) and National retakers, (67vs.76%). A questionnaire determined participants' perception of the program. Conclusion: The program provides an approach that is valuable to education, easy to implement, and cost-efficient in preparing students to retake Step 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-88
Number of pages4
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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