The Aquifer Key Features Exam, offered in conjunction with the Aquifer Internal Medicine course, is being renamed the Aquifer Internal Medicine Clinical Decision-Making Exam as of March 1, 2019. The new name highlights the link to the clinical decision-making skills assessed by the exam, with the goal of increasing understanding of this unique assessment tool in the internal medicine community.

There will be no changes to the exam content or administration. The exam will continue to be included with a subscription to Aquifer Internal Medicine, and administered in Aqueduct, our learning management system.

The Aquifer Clinical Decision-Making Exam aligns directly with CDIM’s national curriculum and the Aquifer Internal Medicine course, and it is specifically designed to test clinical decision-making skills at the end of the internal medicine clerkship. Although Key Features Exams (KFE’s) are widely used internationally, Aquifer’s exam is the first designed for use in U.S. medical schools. The key features approach focuses on the critical or challenging decisions in the diagnosis and management of a clinical problem to better target critical decision points. Key features exam structure includes a case vignette, followed by several questions specifically targeting the key clinical decisions.

A validation study on our Key Features Exam (KFE) for Internal Medicine was recently published in Academic Medicine. The article, Validity Evidence for a Brief Online Key Features Examination in the Internal Medicine Clerkship, presents a range of evidence supporting the use of the Key Features Exam as a complementary assessment during the third-year internal medicine clerkship, specifically to test clinical decision-making skills. This publication is the result of a multi-institutional validation study led by Valerie Lang, MD, MHPE, Aquifer Academic Director for Assessment, and a team that included Aquifer Educators Consortium members Dr. Kirk Bronander and Dr. Heather Harrell.

To learn more about the Aquifer Clinical Decision-Making Exam and the key features approach, please visit our Exams and Assessment page.