How to Pass the Pediatric Shelf Exam

pediatric shelf exam with nurse and baby

The Pediatric Shelf Exam is generally considered to be a bit easier than the rest of the shelf exams you will face. There are great prep resources as well as a lot of available information about the exam. However, your biggest threat here is you’ll typically find yourself on a time crunch for this particular exam. For this shelf exam, in particular, taking timed online exams is your best bet. Most of the questions are straightforward, so go with your gut, pick the best choice and move on.

Pediatric Shelf Exam Resources

NBME Blueprint This is a great place to start looking when you’re going to begin preparing for this shelf exam. The National Board of Medical Examinations posts the breakdown and weight of topics you will find on your exam. This is where you can identify your strengths and weaknesses to make the most of your study time.

PreTest: Pediatrics This book offers more than 500 USMLE-style questions and answers with detailed explanations and rationales for right and wrong answers. (tip: go through it twice)

National Medical Series (tip: focus on Pediatric Topics) This text is ideal for those working on their pediatrics clerkship. It is concise and follows the outline by the most current Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP) curriculum. It is a combination of information and practice question and it will help you identify and learn topics. The text comes with an accompanying website that makes it easy to search and find topics you want to focus on.

BoardVitals Ranks 251 in Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Companies

Pediatric Shelf Question Bank BoardVitals offers more than 1350 challenging Pediatric Shelf Practice Questions. This question bank is a great way to get a feel for the exam. You can set up practice quizzes targeting topics for on the NBME blueprint in timed mode to simulate the text environment. Practice questions in review mode to see the answers and correct your mistakes as you go. Each question comes with detailed explanations for correct and incorrect answers. (tip: take this in timed mode at 60 seconds per question to gauge your speed)

Good Topics to Know

  • Congenital Heart Disease – Know it inside and out, know it cold.
  • Developmental Milestone Questions
  • There are a few trauma questions (but they’re pretty straightforward)
  • APGAR (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, respiration)
  • Neonatal screening
  • Common Pediatric Skin conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Diabetes Insipidus
The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at

Try BoardVitals free for 10 days.

Free Trial. No credit card required.