Basic science shelf exams


Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 24, 2001
    I've posted this on the USMLE P. I forum, but am repeating it here to hopefully get more feedback...

    I have a friend (not yet on this forum) who is scheduled to take three basic science shelf exams in about a month, and wanted advice on how to best prepare for them.

    After searching through many of the threads here, the consensus appears to be that the following reviews are the best for the subject areas (I numbered them in order of yield and noted any other advice that kept coming up):

    Microbiology Shelf Exam:

    1. Appleton and Lange (pretty much a consensus favorite)
    2. FA for USMLE
    3. Q-bank questions (tend to be difficult questions, good for review purposes)

    Immunology is one areas that is stressed, so make sure that is covered.

    Behavioral Science Shelf Exam:

    1. Kaplan Behavioral Science Review (people seem to like this book)
    2. FA for USMLE
    3. Q-bank questions
    4. BRS Behavioral Science (good supplement if needed; relatively quick read)

    Physiology Shelf Exam:

    1. BRS Physiology Review (good foundation, not enough as exam has overlap with pathology and other subjects)
    2. FA for USMLE: Paying attention to pathophysiology (i.e. pathology), as this exam is multidisciplinary.
    3. Q-bank questions

    I got the impression that the physiology shelf exam has the most overlap of all the shelf exams.

    Does all of this seem to be in line with what everyone here has experienced on these exams? Thank you for any input.
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