Academic Support Program for LOA students



In order to help and support students who have been struggling to pass the CBSE, XUSOM, with the approval of the Board, is offering a structured Academic Support Program (ASP). In the summer 2019 semester (May 2019) under the leadership of the Chief Academic Officer Dr. Dubey AK, a new program was set-up for Xavier University School of Medicine’s students who were under Med 6 Leave of Absence (Med 6 LOA) after their basic sciences program.

The Academic Support Program is an integrated organ system-based interdisciplinary courses organized by the XUSOM faculty solely for the purpose of helping our students with challenges on passing the Board exams. It is designed to prepare and enhance the student’s knowledge of the fundamental concepts of the Basic Medical Sciences in order to succeed in the CBSE and /or USMLE Step 1.

We recognize that the amount of material can present difficulties for students, particularly when they finish their MD6 program and go back home for preparation for CBSE and / or Step 1. Therefore the Academic Support Program was carefully designed to provide academic assistance to the students who have fallen behind in their progress and help them prepare for their CBSE and / or USMLE Step 1. The main focus of this program is to provide a through and through support to the students in exam preparation and enable them to clear their CBSE and / or USMLE Step 1.

The preparation of the CBSE and / or USMLE Step 1 requires a student to be rigorous but at the same time be more efficient and use effective strategies. ASP helps the students to adapt their study and personal habits, and work on their test-taking skills to the demands of the CBSE and / or USMLE Step 1.


The ASP is chaired by USMLE tutors, who work closely with the students in small groups, one on one and as class. Where ever deemed appropriate, subject experts are called in for providing USMLE based coaching in particular subject and on a particular topic. This may include teaching the high yield topics, concepts, discussion of the common presentations and clinical scenarios, etc. The students enrolled in ASP will have access to the faculty at all times, faculty mentoring, and in-class tutoring of over 300 hours, daily practice sessions, and intermittent subject and/or system NBMEs. The program will be flexible and individualized to the student’s needs. All the students enrolled into the ASP are required to be present in Aruba and live in Student Housing until the completion of the program. Students are not eligible to take ASP if they do not live in student housing.  

Some of the salient features of the program are:

  1. Duration – The program is designed for a period of 4 months
  2. Individualized academic support and mentoring: The students are offered individualized academic support and mentoring from the USMLE tutors and Subject experts.
  3. Diagnostic IFOM exam in the beginning of the program: A diagnostic IFOM helps our program coordinators assess the needs and deficiencies of the students and enables them to work in an individualized fashion. 
  4. The students will be given subjects based practice NBME’s so that they can work on their weaker areas. This also helps the program coordinators to identify the weaker areas of the students.
  5. Daily discussion on USMLE questions and structured lectures on high yield topics.
  6. Focused guidance on auditing of classes and in-house faculty support.
  7. Step 1 review lectures.
  8. 4 month access to Kaplan Q Bank
  9. Students who score 51% or more on the final Kaplan Simulated exam will be promoted to Med 6 LOA for a period of 4 months in which the student will have 1 free CBSE attempt. Students who score 70% or higher will be deemed as pass and the student will become eligible to take USMLE Step 1.


The Academic Support Program offers support to the students in the following areas:

  1. Learning strategies
    1. Appropriate resources
    2. Effective use of question banks
    3. Active learning strategies
  2. Time management
    1. Creating realistic and individualized study plans
    2. Appropriate time allocation for active learning and review
  3. Test taking skills
    1. Practice exam strategies
    2. Feedback on practice exams
  4. Maintaining wellness:
    1. Management of performance anxiety
    2. Stress management skills
    3. Concentration and motivation strategies
    4. Preventing burnout


  1. Ms. Yvette Aal, Registrar, XUSOM, Aruba: