Clinical Distinction

Your future, by you

About Board Success Track


The Clinical Distinction Board Success Track is a course that was first offered in the 2017-2018 year. Students are not simply given free time to study but rather they are given a framework to create a plan of study that sets them up for success.

To get the most out of the board study time, students are tasked with creating a contract of learning to commit to what they will study, how they will study, and when they will study. This Board Success track contract is followed, at the end of the course, with a Board Success completion form which asks the student to evaluate if they did what they set out to do.

Your Contract is Key to Board Success and Passing Clinical Distinction

Click the link to access the Board Success contract in canvas. Once you complete this form and click submit, it will be sent to your Academic Mentor. Once they approve your plan of study you’ll be immediately notified. If you aren’t notified that your contract was approved, some step in the process didn’t happen – see FAQ below. The contract is due on June 7th so you might want to draft it or meet with your mentor to discuss it during the week after classes end.

Interesting data is being collected on the use of Board Success track and board examination outcomes. Preliminary data indicate:

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Is more time useful?

Published studies about the effect of increased study time on board pass rate and scores have concluded that more time is not likely to improve outcomes:

Students who take the exam beyond eight weeks of study are more likely to fail the examination than students who take the exam within 4 – 8 weeks of study time.


At-risk students who complete a COMLEX-focused Board Success track and go on to fail COMLEX Level 1 are more likely to have used the time to prepare for USMLE Step 1 instead of incorporating all of the COMLEX Level 1 resources such as COMBANK/TrueLearn and COMSAE practice exams. 

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Factors to consider when selecting a Board Success track are:

When tests are scheduled:

Students should not use a Clinical Distinction for board review if it is too far from when they will take the examination.

If the examination will be completed more than one week before the Clinical Distinction block is over, students cannot do a Board Success track. Instead, they should do a specialty track and include time to study for the boards as part of their project.  This option must be approved by the Clinical Distinction faculty sponsor as do all specialty tracks.   

Students can do Board success once during third year if their schedule allows it. Most students who select it do it during block one but it can be used to prepare for any examination during third year.c

Your goal in using this additional time to study: Will it maximize your chance at Residency selection?

The match is designed to help students and programs find a good fit for an intensive training period. Board scores are just one, relatively small factor in the selection.

The intent of Board Success is to help students who are at risk of not passing, rather than to predict or guarantee a higher score beyond what can be obtained through a normal 4-6 week study plan. Discuss with your course director or academic mentor if this is a good use of your time.

How much time is needed:

All students who self select board study, can choose instead to do a specialty project that allows time to study for the boards. If this option is selected, students should use the “design your Specialty Track” section of the website. This option allows a student the benefit of time to study for the boards and at the same time develop distinction that will be featured in their Medical Student Performance Evaluation..

If you need 4 weeks to study, select the Board Success track

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There are 3 Steps to Passing Clinical Distinction Board Track.

1. Get a contract of learning approved

2. Complete your studies

3. Complete the final form and have your academic mentor sign it

Steps 1 and 3 happen through an online form, completion of which automates the process of approval, grading and reporting of your passing grade to the CED. Without completion of this form you can’t pass the course.


  • A rotation request form is required in advance (60 days except block 1).
  • A Learning Contract is due ON OR BEFORE the first day of the course.
  • A completion form is due on the last day of the four week course.
  • Both of these need to be reviewed and approved by your academic mentor.

More Information

As always your course director is the best person to guide you through the process of Clinical Distinction. But there are other people who might help you with a Board success Track

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Your Academic mentor, who has been meeting with you since you arrived may be able to guide you through the choice about to do or not do a Board Success. They will be your sponsor for the course and help you design your contract. Reach out to them early to find out if they have any wisdom to share.

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

FAQ page has a section on boards Check it out.

Wondering if you should be using a Clinical Distinction course for board study? Check out the blogs to learn more.

Were you directed by the Student promotions Committee to use block one for Board Success? This Blog is for you.