InsideTheBoards for the USMLE, COMLEX & Medical School
Inside The USMLE Test Writing Process with Chris Cimino from Kaplan Medical | Part 1

Inside The USMLE Test Writing Process with Chris Cimino from Kaplan Medical | Part 1

October 26, 2019

Today's episode is part 1 in our series with Dr. Chris Cimino, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Kaplan Medical, who discusses the USMLE/COMLEX exam writing process and science behind it. 

Students often wonder about those behind the curtain when it comes to the NBME and USMLE exams and materials. However, there is little transparency for students (and even instructors) may not be aware of the NBME test writing designs. Dr. Cimino helps to explain why the test-writers philosophy and those of your academic institution may vary greatly in regards to what material to prepare a student for. He also depicts the process of becoming a test-writer for the NBME and the different stages involved. Lastly, Dr. Cimino explains the process of finding board-relevant material and the process of consensus within question decision-making.

Our practice question dissection comes from Kaplan's Step 2 CK Integrated Plan. Click the link below to sign up for a free trial.

Question Dissection for Today

1:05 - A 55 year old male presents with a chief complaint of a sore on this foot. 

From the interview 

3:30 Reasons for the Lack of Transparency within the NBME, USMLE, and Test-Writer Philosophy

08:40 Why do Schools and Test-Writers Differ on their Educational Focus?

10:45 Insights into the Credentials of a Test-Writer and the Sub-Committees Involved

14:30 The Process for Vetting Board-Relevant Questions

20:00:The Students Role in Choosing Board-Relevant Questions & The Importance of Student Teamwork

Get a discount on any Kaplan Course 

Remember, ITB listeners can take up to 40% off any Kaplan Medical product (when combined with an American Medical Association membership discount) by going to and using the offer code "ITB15" to take advantage of this offer. Even if you're not an AMA member, you can still get 15% off any Kaplan Medical product.  

New Book from ITB's Chase DiMarco- Read This Before Med School 
Will medical school make or break you? Whether you’ve just gotten your acceptance or are already in the cadaver lab, you can get through (relatively) unscathed by learning from those who’ve already survived and thrived. Herein, we provide you with the hard-won tips, tools, and insights that helped us to excel during those four grueling years. Beyond providing study tips, we draw on inspiration from fields like psychology, neuroscience, education, business, and even self-help to assemble a complete guide to accelerate your development as a medical student and future physician. Check it out now on Amazon (affiliate link) 
New Podcast: The 1-Minute Preceptor Podcast 

Brought to you by the host of the Medical Mnemonist Podcast, co-host to the InsideTheBoards Podcast, and co-author of Read This Before Medical School: How to Study Smarter and Live Better While Excelling in Class and on your USMLE or COMLEX Board Exams, this show will bring you interviews from medical educators in the clinical sciences.

Wondering how to ask for Letters of Recommendation or how to best prepare for an upcoming clinical experience? This show will prepare you for your upcoming clinical rotations and make sure your externship experiences are fulfilling. Following the 1-Minute Preceptor Model, we explore how different preceptors in different clinical scenarios approach students and their education.

Stay tuned for the many great physicians we have interviewed and be sure to share this with your friends and Subscribe anywhere you listen to podcasts. 

Check out all of ITB's Podcasts on our BRAND NEW Website

Legal Stuff and Credits

InsideTheBoards is not affiliated with the NBME, USMLE, COMLEX, NBOME or any professional licensing body. InsideTheBoards and its partners fully adhere to the policies on irregular conduct outlined by the aforementioned credentialing bodies.