For a third-year medical student, studying for the family medicine clerkship can be an overwhelming task.

Family medicine is indeed a broad discipline, and the shelf exam covers material from ob/gyn, pediatrics, and internal medicine, as well as preventative care.

Furthermore, there are precious few practice questions available that are family medicine specific.  Even the USMLE World question bank, one of the most widely used study resources for rotations and the USMLE Step 2 exam, does not have a section for family medicine.

Fortunately, the Pretest app for Family Medicine provides a great, comprehensive question set for review.

For the most part, the questions cover testable, high-yield material and give accurate answer explanations.

There are 500 questions total, broken up into four large sections: preventative medicine, doctor-patient issues, acute complaints, and chronic conditions. As in all the other Pretest apps, you can bookmark questions, create quizzes, and track your statistics and progress.

(For more detail on the Pretest interface and features, see the summary article on the Pretest apps or one of the previous Pretest app reviews in psychiatryinternal medicine, or surgery.)

Interestingly, many questions covered subjects that students often omit or forget about in their studies, such as ethical issues and biostatistics. For example, the preventative medicine section asked questions about sensitivity and specificity of screening tests, and the doctor-patient issues section contains 40 questions over issues such as medication compliance, non-English-speaking patients, and communication.

I found these types of questions useful, especially for reminding me that such questions do show up on the shelf exams, and I did not feel that they were overrepresented in the Pretest app.

True to the practice of family medicine, the Pretest app also did a good job of covering patients of all age ranges, from infants to the elderly, and a wide range of pathologies from different organ systems.

Since the section titles were so vague, I do wish there was a search function where I could search for key words of questions that I wanted to revisit. For previous Pretest apps that I’ve reviewed, this hasn’t been an issue since the section topics were more specific and it didn’t take me long to find the questions manually.

However, a search function would be tremendously useful in all of the Pretest apps.

This app was also lacking in obstetrics coverage, which does appear on the shelf exams. While gynecological and women’s health issues were adequately covered, this app could use a few more questions on problems with pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period.  This is especially important for students who take family medicine before their ob/gyn rotation, or who took ob/gyn several months prior to their family medicine rotation (such as myself).

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this app to students preparing for the family medicine shelf exam. This app also has potential to be used for family medicine board review. Though I would not use it as my only reference, the Pretest app can be both a good place to start studying or a review before the exam.

Given the lack of practice questions available for students, Pretest is an essential study tool for the family medicine rotation.


  • $29.99


  • Familiar, friendly user interface
  • Broad coverage of question topics
  • Comprehensive review


  • Lacking in obstetrics material
  • Vague section titles
  • No search function


  • Strong, comprehensive study source
  • Recommended for the family medicine rotation

iTunes Link