Second-Year OSCEs


The Second-Year OSCE is given in two parts and testing dates will be assigned by College:

  • Part A: Mornings in January of second year with 4 cases, each 8-12 minutes long
  • Part B: Mornings in late March/April of second year with 6-7 cases, each 8-12 minutes long


The Second-Year OSCEs rely heavily on the ICM II Benchmarks and the Pocket Guide to the Physical Examination. Any clinically relevant content that has already been presented in the curriculum to all students may be covered. If all ICM II groups have not yet reviewed material such as the musculoskeletal or the neurologic exam, that material will not appear on the OSCEs until it has been presented to all students.

Particular attention should be given to the following when preparing for the OSCEs:

  • ICM 2 Physical Exam Benchmarks
  • Medical Interviewing/Communication Benchmarks
  • Appendix A of the Communication and Medical Interviewing Skills
  • Cultural Communications Guideline
  • Professionalism Benchmarks
  • Ethics Benchmarks


Most cases with a standardized patient will include 2 minutes to read instructions, 8 minutes with the patient, and 3 minutes for feedback. Some cases may be shorter depending on the nature of the case.

  • You may be asked to take a focused history from a patient in the time frame given. In addition to exploring the chief concern, you should ask about other medical problems, past medical history, medications, allergies, and pertinent family or social issues.
  • You may be asked to perform a specific physical diagnosis task and should follow the Benchmarks. At these stations, you do not need to obtain a history.
  • There are other formats that you may encounter: you may be asked to examine a mannequin, answer questions about a case, or work through a computer simulation.

The video below describes the process of a typical OSCE station.

What Does a OSCE Look Like 


In an encounter with a standardized patient, observers (trained standardized patients or clinicians) are evaluating your history and examination skills as well as your communication skills.

For each OSCE station, you will receive a grade of Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, or Needs Development. You will be notified of your grade for each station after all students have completed the exam. All materials collected as part of the OSCE will be returned to your College Mentor, who can provide you with more feedback. Students who receive 2 or more Needs Development scores on Part B are required to meet with their College mentor to review the results, receive constructive feedback, and determine if any further remediation is required prior to starting the Clinical Clerkships.