The purpose of the CBPS format is to evaluate candidates’ clinical reasoning skills, a type of testing called performance-based testing. The CBPS examines content knowledge and candidates’ ability to solve problems and make clinically relevant decisions. During the CBPS, candidates collect and analyze patient information and apply what they have learned, thus demonstrating their abilities to examine a patient (physical examination) and formulate a treatment plan.
Candidates complete the CBPS by taking into account the relevant aspects of case management (patient history, physical examination, imaging, laboratory tests, diagnostic procedures, diagnosis, and treatment, and, in some cases, follow-up diagnoses and treatments). While collecting patient information, candidates must balance thoroughness with efficiency, as well as quality versus quantity. Because the CBPS is a timed examination, candidates need to pace themselves and not take too much time on any one point or decision. Field-testing has demonstrated that users who have practiced the CBPS have ample time to complete each case. While collecting information regarding the simulated case, candidates should remember that relevancy is paramount to successful resolution of a clinical problem. For example, if candidates are hesitant about whether a procedure is warranted, their decisions should be based on clinical indications. CBPS scoring is based on the relevancy of the processes or actions performed.