And review books to boot!

How to do well on the Mini-CPX and CPX exam

I found the Mini-CPX  and the CPX to be good practice. Below are some tips for how to do well.  This obviously does not tell you what will be on the Mini-CPX (I’m not allowed to do that).

– Review the small yellow book: The Database: The Medical History, Physical Exam, and Write-Up. By Drs. Rodnick and Shore. (remember, you bought this way back in first year.)

– Review H&P and assessments & plans (including differential diagnosis) for common presentations for heart, lung, neuro, GI, and musculoskeletal, etc.etc.

– Of course review your physical exam skills. Don’t skimp out. If you’re going to do a heart exam, do it as you learned it, i.e. be thorough

– Review how to deal with different psych presentations

– Review how to assess pediatric and geriatric populations

– Review your physician-patient interation skills (PEARL, etc)

– Review how you would manage different chronic diseases including prevention of complications and preventative medicine

– Practice doing the whole thing in 15 minutes. (’cause that’s all the time you have per patient!)

– Practice coming up with a plan for different presentations. If someone comes in with chest pain, what would you do (labs, imaging, etc) to help you with your diagnosis? What would you give for treatment?

– Don’t forget to discuss your plan with the patient.

– practice, practice, practice

_ Sample outline


 HISTORY: chief complain, history of present illness, past medical history (including medical illness, hospitalizations, surgeries, psych, MEDS, allergies), sexual history, health related behavior, family history, social history, review of systems

MEDS: If they give you a list of medications, make sure you know why they are taking them. If not, ask. It could be a clue…

PHYSICAL EXAM:  will update this soon.

Some links:


If you’re reading this, please share how you prepared for or are preparing for the mini-CPX, and any general advice from your own experience.


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