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Advancing Clinical Reasoning (NC)(NPF)

Updated: 3/27/24

Completion of phase 1, with the exception of Step 1.

Narrative Description:
This 6-week non-clinical elective aims to help students consolidate knowledge of individual organ systems and bridge it into physicianship. Teaching will focus on the most challenging concepts as they relate to integrating knowledge across organ systems through the use of vignettes. Students will also incorporate various active learning strategies into individualized study plans to help them apply and reflect on how these individual strategies affect their retention of study materials. By incorporating these skills under the supervision of faculty, academic learning specialists, and peer educators’ students through supplemental instructions, learners will learn how to modify their study habits in preparation for USMLE step exams, NBME exams, and clinical practice. This course will have components of both ms, NBME exams, and clinical practice. This course will have components of both in-person and remote instruction.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Integrate and consolidate challenging concepts across body systems through clinical vignettes.
  2. Demonstrate how to apply medical knowledge to clinical practice through clinical vignettes.
  3. Practice clinical reasoning skills using clinical vignettes and completing and reviewing multiple-choice questions.
  4. Assess how active studying and spaced repetition improve long-term retention of knowledge.
  5. Practice various active learning strategies to consolidate knowledge.
  6. Develop a study plan that utilizes adult learning strategies in your step and clerkship preparation to help learners scaffold knowledge.
  7. Utilize stress reduction strategies to address the psychosocial components of learning and clinical practice.


Description of Learning Activities

  1. Weekly utilization of clinical vignettes to consolidate knowledge across organ systems (8 hours per week).
  2. Weekly instruction on various active learning strategies  review of wrong questions, concept mapping,  , etc). (2 hours per week)
  3. Supplemental instruction with peer educators, academic learning specialists, or faculty mentors. (4 hours per week)
  4. Independent study utilizing approved guided study plan. (at least 24 hours a week)
  5. Analysis of outcomes for various active learning practices incorporated into their study plan. (2 hours per week)
  6. Practice Stress Reduction Strategies to enhance learning and clinical practice (2hrs)

Daily Responsibilities:

  • Students must attend and participate in all didactic activities and supplemental instruction in small groups.
  • In addition, students are expected to incorporate active learning strategies into their structured independent study time to practice these skills while studying.
  • Students are expected to submit and update their learning plans based on what they have learned through their daily obstruction and their self-assessment exams that are completed every two weeks.

Required Reading/ Educational Resources: 

  • All students will be required to take three in-person Self-Assessments during the course (every two-weeks).

Recommended Reading/ Educational Resources: 

  • U World Question Bank
  • First Aid Clinical Pattern Recognition for Step 1


  1. Attendance and participation in clinical vignette learning, active learning strategies, faculty lead question review, stress reduction strategy sessions, analysis of outcomes strategies, and in-person self-assessment sessions.
  2. Attendance of supplemental instruction small groups led by peer educators covering concepts covered in clinical vignette learning.
  3. Completion of all 3 Self-Assessments.
  4. Submission of their analysis of studying outcomes for each active learning strategy practiced to their Academic Learning Specialist.
  5. Submission of  study plan and revision of  these plans with their Academic Learning Specialist after every self-assessment

Students may have up to three excused session absences, after that, students will be subject to making up time to complete the course successfully.   If a student has three or more unexcused absences, the student will fail the course. For all absences, missed coursework will need to be reviewed, and answers to questions must be submitted to the course director.    For any session held on Zoom, students must have their cameras on to receive attendance credit or contact the faculty member before or during the session to notify them.

Administrative Information Heading link

  • Program Number

    ELEC 542

  • Program Contacts

    CO-Program Director: Emily Hall, MD

    CO-Program Director: Gina Choi

    Coordinator: TBA
    Email: TBA

  • Program Information

    Duration:  6weeks
    Housestaff used as faculty: Yes

    Total average hours/week: 40