Preclerkship Curriculum

Students attend class in the Collaborative Learning Hub

During your preclerkship years, will learn about both the normal and diseased states of organ systems together within the context of patient cases that integrate basic science knowledge, including communication and physical exam skills, social determinants of health, humanism in medicine, personal wellness, medical ethics, health care economics, biostatistics and more.

Preclerkship curriculum design

Early in the first year, you will be immersed in clinical opportunities with patients through the EXPLORE Rush program. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to take elective classes to explore additional areas of interest.

Flipped Classroom

The preclerkship course material is taught using a flipped classroom approach. In the flipped classroom setting, you will prepare for class by reading course notes and watching prepared videos before the scheduled session. During class, you will work in teams to apply this knowledge to problems within patient cases, guided by basic science and clinician faculty. Flipped classrooms focus on a hands-on approach to learning during scheduled class time and eliminate the traditional lecture format. Course material is supplemented by clinical experiences, workshops, labs and simulations.

Simulation in the Preclerkship Years

Students attend an orthopedics workshop in the Sim Center.The best way to learn is by doing. But in medicine, a novice cannot simply jump into a complex case with a real patient. The Rush Center for Clinical Skills and Simulation (Sim Center) bridges that gap by offering students state-of-the art simulators, including mannequin patients that breathe and bleed. Simulation rooms are outfitted with real-world tools including ultrasound equipment, medication dispensing stations and the same clinical communications system found in a hospital.

Sim Center experiences are designed to teach you how to integrate clinical skills including history taking, communication skills, physical exam maneuvers, and patient encounter documentation through interactions with trained standardized patients (i.e., actors).

Bedside Clinical Skills

Bedside Clinical Skills is an opportunity for you to practice bedside clinical skills on real hospitalized patients before your clerkships begin. It is designed to teach you the standard structure and organization for presenting patient information in both oral and written format. You will perform histories and physical exams; develop differential diagnoses, assessments and plans; give oral presentations and write up your notes with feedback. We provide you with an opportunity to learn how to interact with patients in a sensitive and respectful manner and gain experience discussing actual patient cases and receiving feedback from clinical faculty.

Interprofessional Patient Centered Teams


Different perspectives in health care bring unique ideas and talents to the table to help improve patient care. Interprofessionalism works to break down barriers between everyone involved in patient care, allowing for a unique collaboration that results in better learning and the best possible health outcomes. Interprofessional curricular integration begins during your first year of study, building foundational knowledge of team identity concurrent with professional identity. Students from all four colleges will acquire competencies in interprofessional behaviors through experiential learning in interprofessional student teams. The course consists of five workshops running from September to April.

USMLE Step 1 exam

Before progressing to the M3 year, you must take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE, Step 1 exam. Students have required practice exams in the middle and at the end of the M2 year.

Cohort 1st Attempt Year 1st Attempt Pass Rate RMC On Track*/ RMC All

1st Attempt Pass Rate (National)

1st Attempt Mean RMC On Track* (all) / RMC On Track (Pass only)/ RMC All

1st Attempt Mean (National) Mean of Top 5 RMC 1st Attempt Scores
Class of 2017 2015 100% / 99% 95% 230/230/229 229 256
Class of 2018 2016 100% / 99% 95% 233/233/232 228 262
Class of 2019 2917 100% / 98% 96% 235/235/233 229 262
Class of 2020 2018 99% / NA NA 233/234/NA NA 263

* “RMC On Track” excludes a small set of students who deviated from the typical RMC curriculum for their cohort (e.g., repeated an academic year)

NA = Scores are not yet available

Clerkship Curriculum

Learn about the third and fourth years of medical school at Rush.