Neurology Shelf Board Review Questions

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“This Q-bank is awesome. When I used this bank for the first time, I said to myself 'oh wow' because I was missing little bits and pieces which I filled in with BoardVitals. These questions are hard but very similar to questions on NBME exams. I would strongly recommend BoardVitals for everyone who is studying for Step 1, 2, 3 and shelf exams. I used this bank for Step 1, and right now I'm using it for Step 2 and for my upcoming Internal Medicine shelf exam.”

Nadia Badar
Medical Student

gold key Key Board Review Features


Neurology Shelf Exam Board Review Topics Covered:

  • Oncology
  • Sleep
  • Basic Neuroscience
  • Headache
  • Pain
  • Epilepsy, Seizures
  • Congenital
  • Cerebrovascular
  • Neuromuscular
  • Cranial Nerves
  • Movement Disorders
  • Demyelinating Disorders
  • Neuroinfectious Disease
  • Critical Care
  • Trauma
  • Neuro - Ophthalmology
  • Pregnancy
  • Child Neurology
  • Behavioral, Cognitive, Psychiatric
  • Complications of Systemic Disease
  • Neurotoxicity, Nutrition, Metabolic

About the NBME Neurology Shelf Exam (Subject Exam)

As outlined by the NBME, the Subject Exams, or “shelf exams” as they are colloquially referred to, are designed to provide institutions with effective evaluation tools and useful examinee performance data that can be compared with a large representative group of examinees at the same stage of training.

What content is covered on the Clinical Neurology Shelf Exam?

According to the NBME Clinical Science: Clinical Neurology content outline, the following topics are covered on the exam:

General Principles 1%–5%

Organ Systems 95%–99%

  • Mental Disorders 1%–5%
  • Diseases of the Nervous System and Special Senses 70%–90%
    • Disorders of the special senses
    • Structural disorders (trauma, cerebrovascular disease, infections)
    • Toxic, metabolic, and degenerative disorders
    • Paroxysmal and sleep disorders
    • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Other Organ Systems 10%–15%

Physician Tasks

  • Promoting Health and Health Maintenance 5%–10%
  • Understanding Mechanisms of Disease 15%–20%
  • Establishing a Diagnosis 50%–65%
  • Applying Principles of Management 15%–20%

What question formats are on the Clinical Neurology Shelf Exam?

As outlined in the NBME Guide to the Subject Examination Program, the following question formats will be on the exam:

Application of Knowledge

This exam will have an increased emphasis on the application of knowledge instead of the recall of isolated facts.


Questions are framed in the context of clinical vignettes.

Single-best-answer (A-type)

This is the most widely used MCQ format. Each question is comprised of a focused item stem (e.g., a clinical vignette) and a lead-in question, followed by a series of options with one correct answer for each item.

Extended Matching (R-type)

These questions are organized into sets that use one list of options for all items in the set. Examinees must select one best answer.

Neurology Shelf Exam Prep and Readiness

BoardVitals covers all of the primary topics for the Neurology shelf exams. In terms of content to review, we suggest the House Officer Series for Neurology. We’ve also heard that Pretest is good (we haven’t used it ourselves, but we’ve heard pretty positive feedback. The NBME Percentile Requirement for passing is the 11th percentile. Neurology is usually not noted as one of the harder shelf exams, but most people take at least a few weeks to prep.

Use our ‘percent correct’ tool to see how well you’re doing compared to others! This will help you make sure you’re above the pass line before you go into the exam.

If you need any help, feel free to reach out us

View all of our NBME Shelf Exam Prep Offerings here.