Center for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning

Standardized Patient Program - Student Information


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The Stanford Standardized Patient Program develops and administers clinical encounter-based exams throughout the medical school curriculum.   We currently offer exams for both preclinical students (primarily during the two-year Practice of Medicine course) as well as for clinical students during core clerkship rotations and for the statewide Clinical Performance Examination (CPX), held each summer.  Passing the CPX is a requirement for graduation.

Clinical Performance Examination (CPX)

The CPX is a standardized patient examination administered to all medical students in the state of California, to be taken at or towards the end of the core clerkships.  The main purposes of this exam are:

1. To evaluate your current level of competency in clinical and interpersonal skills;
2. To provide individual feedback on these skills in preparation for your residency training;
3. To prepare you for the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination (standardized patient portion of the boards).

laughing MD students in Modular EThe CPX is designed by a consortium of clinicians and medical educators from all eight California medical schools to assess clinical skills essential to the practice of medicine regardless of specialty. Over 1000 students take this exam each year. During the exam, you will see eight patients with a broad range of problems, which may encompass subject material from any core clerkship. You will be expected to perform a focused history and usually a physical examination as well.  You will also be expected to communicate your thinking and preliminary plans to the patients.

Passing the CPX is a requirement for graduation. Students who do not attain an overall passing score on the exam, or who fail any individual skill domain, will be required to successfully complete a remediation program and clinical skills examination.  In the event that you need to take this exam, we will help you develop the skills necessary for improvement.

The exam will involve one five-hour block of time in the Immersive Learning Center in the LKC.  Your course directors will be notified so that you may be excused from your scheduled rotation.  Bear in mind that successful completion of the CPX examination is a graduation requirement.

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