Internal Medicine Shelf: What Is It? Why Should You Care?

By | February 27, 2024

Here is a helpful guide on how to prepare for the Internal Medicine Shelf Exam. Follow these tips and you’ll be well prepared. If you need additional help, feel free to contact us for a consultation call!

The UTSMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK and ECFMG exams are the most difficult exams a medical student will take. But at Veritas Prep, we make it our goal to help students feel confident and ready for these exams with quality instruction from our expert tut

What is the Internal Medicine Shelf Exam?

In most medical schools, the Internal Medicine Shelf Exam is the final exam that must be passed in order to complete a medical degree.


The Internal Medicine Shelf Exam is taken at the end of the second year of medical school. The exam covers topics that are similar to MCAT material. However, the focus of this exam is very much on a current medical specialty, so students do not have to have familiarity with the literature and the discussion.

Internal Medicine is one of the most competitive specialties to obtain an internship position. Most interns will be given this exam as an optional course, as well as the MCAT and part Bexam. We strongly recommend that all students take the Internal Medicine Shelf Exam as part of their second year curriculum.

Why Should You Care?

ECFMG stands for the “Medical College Admission Test,” or standardized test for medical school admission.


The use of medical tests is a defining characteristic of the ECFMG exams. These tests require students to identify and describe the results of medical tests, where they occur in the body, and what they indicate.

Every medical student is tested on these tests at some point in their first year at medical school. This testing is so intense that students often feel anxiety even just thinking about it, which can negatively affect their classroom performance.

There are three areas on the ECFMG that you will be tested on: Structural and Functional (KP-9), Anatomical and Clinical (ECF-5), and Physical (ECF-4).

A Helpful Guide on How to Prepare for the Internal Medicine Shelf Exam

In preparation for the MCAT, the IMS and/or PACL, medical students should focus on studying their scientific knowledge. However, many students neglect their clinical skills.

The time spent on these skill components is over-looked, at best, by the majority of medical students and most students will take at least one set of exams without putting these skills to the test. Even if a student feels confident that he or she can take the MCAT or IMS fairly well, but is worried about their clinical skills, there are still some important skills that should be taken into account.

The Best Books to Study

UHS Step 1 FAST: The Ultimate Guide to Doing Step 1 Well The FAST Step 1 study guide gives you everything you need to ace Step 1 – including strategy and assessment!

Veritas Prep FAST Preparation Cheat Sheet for UHS Exam Prep The FAST Cheat Sheet guides you step by step through the entire UHS exam, with target notes for every section! Download now and get right back into studying for the Step 1 exam!

Veritas Prep Step 1 Study Guide (preview) Get your fill of information and tips in this FREE preview of our step 1 study guide! You won’t want to miss out! Download now!

Case 1: Is Your Doctor Broken? Your doctor’s phone number is on the wall outside the exam room, but what if your doctor doesn’t know it? Click here to learn more.

Uworld Practice Exams

Have you ever wondered how Uworld Practice Exams work? Here is a helpful guide on how to prepare for the Uworld Practice Exam. Follow these tips and you’ll be well prepared. If you need additional help, feel free to contact us for a consultation call!

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Veritas Prep is one of the leading providers of professional exam prep materials for test prep, engineering, medical and certification exams.

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Veritas Prep’s Review Course for Medical Students

Take the Exam Prep-Learn with the confidence of an expert

We start at the top and work our way down. Don’t be like me and never start on page one! By reviewing the course before the exam, you’ll get an early start on knowing what to expect and when to practice. Our Medical Student Review Course for the UTSMLE Step 1 and 2 CK and ECFMG exams provides in-depth reviews and practice problems from beginning to end. With detailed lectures, exercises, and practice tests to prepare you for the real exam, you’ll find that our Review Course for the UTSMLE Step 1 and 2 CK and ECFMG exams is the ultimate learning tool for pre-exam review.


Do you know the basics of Internal Medicine? The exam will be prepared according to the current content in The Oxford Illustrated Guide to Internal Medicine. It consists of 4 sections:

Section 1: Introductory Terms

Section 2: Pathophysiology

Section 3: Biomarkers

Section 4: Disease Processes

This exam should take you 1 hour 45 minutes to complete. These are the items you will be tested on:

Section 1 – Introduction to Internal Medicine

Section 2 – Pathophysiology

Section 3 – Biomarkers

Section 4 – Disease Processes

The Revised UTSMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Examination is a great review for students preparing for the exam. Follow our guide to be a pre-med ninja and have the right game plan when taking the exam.


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