The Cognitive Processing-Based Review (CPR) Board Preparation Program was designed by the RFUMS Office of Undergraduate Education to meet the needs of U.S. medical students who have not been successful in passing the USMLE, Step 1. This program aims to develop academic skills in integration, problem solving and organization of materials. Students simultaneously develop reasoning skills to answer questions for which only partial information is given. Upon completion of the program, students will leave with the self confidence to overcome feelings of intimidation and will be more aware of appropriate behavioral patterns to promote efficient learning and effective test performance.
The course, beginning in January and ending in April, is exclusively for medical students who have made multiple attempts at passing the USMLE, Step 1. This course is not intended for students who have not taken the exam.
Throughout the program, a strong emphasis is placed on group interaction, which fosters the development of an individual's sense of responsibility for the success of the entire group. The four different sessions are described below; the purpose of the lecture is to introduce the course material, while the remaining sessions are designed to improve information processing skills.
Lecture: This content-oriented presentation will include basic didactic lecture presentations, review of boards-style examination questions, and summaries of relevant subject areas. The topics will represent basic science areas heavily tested by the USMLE (research findings, unresolved controversial topics and interesting exotica will not be covered).
Supplemental Instruction (SI): This is an interpretation and processing session based on the lecture, and a trained SI leader who attended the same lecture guides the discussion. The SI leaders formulate short answer essay questions designed to stimulate discussion of the topics of major importance. The students are given some time to answer the questions individually and, after discussing them briefly with one or two others in the group, they present their answers to the whole group for more discussion and elaboration.
Question Session: This session is designed to make students aware of when faulty reasoning processes and misinterpretation of questions occur and to give them numerous opportunities to correct these errors. Using a mixed-subject set of USMLE-style questions, groups of 4-6 students analyze a question following a specific protocol. Each student takes a turn reading and interpreting the question lead-in, stating their knowledge about the topic, predicting the nature of the answers and finally defending the answer they selected. The success of the question group depends largely on the students themselves, who share the responsibility to critique each other's knowledge and logic. Where the answer is not obvious or agreed upon by all, students may take turns looking up portions of the subject later on in the evening and briefly reporting to the group the next day.
Preview for Lecture: The goal of the preview session is to develop an overview of the next day's topic by reviewing key concepts and important definitions and to raise questions the lecturer will address.