Last updated on December 2nd, 2021

Assessments in the Basic Sciences

Summative assessments are an integral part of the MD program. Students must complete all Basic Principles of Medicine (BPM), and Clinical Medicine (PCM) course examinations in order to meet course requirements and earn a final course grade.

Students are expected to comply with examination policies (see Examination Policies) and adhere to the master schedule (published on the Office of the University Registrar site at, which provides examination dates and times.

The following are considered summative assessments:

  • Written Course Examinations / Module Examinations
  • Lab Practical Examinations
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)
  • Objective Structured Practical Examinations (OSPEs)
  • Online Clinical Evaluation Exercise (OCEX)
  • Basic Sciences Comprehensive Examination 1 (BSCE 1)
  • Basic Sciences Comprehensive Examination 2 (BSCE 2)
  • Completion Examinations for missed examinations.
  • Several of these assessments are comprehensive examinations and are described in further detail in the next section.

Other Mandatory Assessments

Other mandatory assessments may be outlined in each respective course syllabus, e.g. OSHA, HIPPA, Patient Care Assignments, the CR final self-directed learning assignment, etc.

Students who do not complete or submit mandatory assessments will receive a zero for the missed assessment and an Incomplete grade for the course. Students must contact the Course Director to arrange to complete or submit the missed assessment. Failure to resolve the missed assessment by the end of term, will result in a failing grade for the course.


Basic Sciences Comprehensive Examinations (BSCE)

The BSCE 1 and BSCE 2 are standardized examinations administered during the Basic Sciences. Questions are drawn from the relevant National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) customizable question bank for the BSCE exams. Students must adhere to the NBME’s standardized examination policy for these examinations.

Basic Sciences Comprehensive Exam (BSCE) 1

The BSCE 1 provides an assessment of students’ understanding of term 1 and 2 content after completion of all Year 1 coursework. In addition, this examination helps students evaluate their approach to taking standardized examinations and to build the test-taking skills needed for future comprehensive examinations. This examination also provides feedback about content areas that require remediation. The BSCE 1 grade is incorporated into the Basic Principles of Medicine 2 final course grade in Term 2.

Basic Sciences Comprehensive Exam (BSCE) 2

The BSCE 2 exam is delivered in 3 books during Term 5 and is designed to measure students’ requisite knowledge of Year 1 and Year 2 content. The BSCE 2 scores are incorporated into the Principles of Clinical Medicine 2 final course grade in Term 5, as outlined in the course syllabus.

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) or equivalent practical physical examinations

OSCEs and OSPEs are standardized comprehensive clinical examinations. They are administered during Terms 1, 2 (OSPEs) and 4, 5 (OSCEs). OSPEs and OSCEs are designed to measure students’ requisite clinical skills during Years 1 and 2. These exams provide an assessment of students’ understanding and mastery of the clinical skills taught throughout the terms 1-5. In addition, these examinations are designed to help students evaluate their approach to taking standardized examinations and to build the test-taking skills needed for future comprehensive clinical skill examinations. The OSPE 1 and 2 grades are incorporated into the Basic Principles of Medicine 1 and Basic Principles of Medicine 2 final course grades, respectively. OSCE 1 and 2 grades are incorporated into the Principles of Clinical Medicine (PCM)1 and PCM2 courses.


Students must complete all course examinations in order to meet course requirements and earn a final course grade. If a student completes only part of an examination (e.g., Part 1 but not Part 2 of a two-part examination), then the completed part of the examination is invalidated, no score exists, and the examination as a whole is considered missed.

Students are expected to take all regular and Completion examinations as scheduled (see master School of Medicine schedule published on the OEP/Registrar site


All students are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct with respect to all University-administered examinations. Examination policies apply to all Examinations (See Appendix Electronic Examination Procedures).

Irregularity reporting

Any exam irregularities that negatively impact a student’s ability to complete the exam must be reported immediately within the examination venue to the Chief Proctor. For issues that cannot be resolved in the venue, students should immediately request that an Irregularity Report be completed by the Chief Proctor in the venue at that time of the occurrence. Students should email the Course Director immediately after the exam to alert the Course Director of the Irregularity Report that was filed in the venue. Irregularity Reports will not be considered after the examination is completed and the student has left the venue or if the outlined process is not followed.

After grades are published by the Course Director no changes will be made based on Irregularity Reports that are filed inappropriately or late, therefore students should ensure that all irregularities are dealt with appropriately in venue and that the Course Director is alerted to the presence of a filed Irregularity Report immediately after the examination. In this circumstance, the affected grade is sequestered until the irregularity is investigated.

Once the Irregularity Report is filed by the OIA and it is agreed by the Course Director in consultation with the Dean of Basic Sciences Office that it may have affected student performance, the affected grade will remain sequestered. A student may be offered a Completion examination after investigation of the events. The Completion exam, if offered, is scheduled at the end of term at the regularly scheduled date of the Completion exams for the course affected.

In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to delay the start time of an exam or postpone the examination. Students are advised to not make travel arrangements for immediately after an examination to cover this eventuality.



A student who wishes to observe a religious holiday on an examination date may take a completion examination on the scheduled date if appropriate protocol is followed for documenting the religious observance. Specifically, at the beginning of each term, the Dean of Students office will invite students via email to register the dates of their religious holidays that conflict with their examination schedule for that term. Students who register these dates after January 31st (Spring semester), or after August 31st (Fall semester) will not receive an excused absence from examinations. This protocol must be followed each term. The protocol does not cover any dates of travel associated with the religious observance beyond the actual religious holiday. All completion examinations are scheduled after the semester ends, as per the official schedule on the Office of the University Registrar website.


In rare instances, medical reasons may prevent a student taking an examination as scheduled. Students are entitled to one Medical Excuse for examinations per 12-month period. The student receives an “I” for the exam grade and is permitted to take the Completion Examination. Students take the Completion Examination after the semester ends, as per the official schedule on the Office of the University Registrar website. Students should consider this completion examination period when scheduling end of term travel. Travel conflicts are not a valid reason for missing an examination; examinations will not be re-scheduled to accommodate student travel.

Students should use their Medical Excuse wisely as no additional excused absences for examinations will be allowed. If a student does not take an examination as scheduled and has already used his/her Medical Excuse in the prior 12-month period, then the student will receive a “0” grade for the examination.

Students with extenuating circumstances for missing an additional examination should seek guidance from the Dean of Basic Science Office.


To submit a Medical Excuse, the student uses the “SOM Examinations” link on the Carenage portal at This self-report form should be submitted before the end of the scheduled examination time. The Medical Excuse covers all exams within a 7-day period starting from the date of submission of the Medical Excuse. If a student becomes able to take some or all of the examinations during the timeframe covered by the Medical Excuse, he/she may take any remaining examinations. If a student makes a second Medical Excuse request within 12 months, then the student receives a written notice about his/her ineligibility for a second Medical Excuse and is apprised of the consequences of missing the examination(s).

Note: Students may not request a Medical Excuse once they have started an exam. Once a student has started an exam, a score will be submitted and contribute to the student’s grade, irrespective of how much of the exam is completed. Therefore, students are strongly discouraged from taking an exam if they are unwell.


Any student with an approved absence who misses an examination will temporarily receive a zero score for the missed examination and an Incomplete grade for the course.

Any student who is not approved to miss any examination must appear before a Dean of Basic Sciences panel, who will determine the academic penalty to the students’ course grade for the absence. The student will then receive a zero score for the missed examination and an Incomplete grade for the course.

To rectify the zero score, the student must sit the scheduled completion exam.

Students must take a Completion Examination as per the master School of Medicine schedule Office of the University Registrar website.. Regardless of which examination is missed, all Completion Examinations are held approximately one week after the end of the semester. No additional Completion examinations will be offered.

Students who do not take the scheduled Completion Examination to rectify their zero score and their Incomplete grade will receive a failing grade for the course.