Skip to main content

Medical students are all too familiar with academic assessments, but what about self-assessment? Self-assessment is probably just as important of an exercise but is often neglected. The practice of self assessment can lead to new insights about yourself that influence, how you act, what you participate in, and what decisions you make during medical school.  While it can be hard for students not to compare themselves to their peers, having a better understanding of one’s values and skills can give students the clarity and confidence to form their own path and identity.

Below are a few assessments that we regularly encourage students to use throughout medical school:

CliftonStrengths Assessement

This assessment measures your “talents” – your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving – and categorizes them into 34 themes. Students receive one pre-purchased code to take the assessment and view their top 5 talent themes.

When to take it: Take before transition to medical school.

How to use the results:

  • Read the Signature Themes Report and Insight Report on your top 5 results.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor at any time to review your results and discuss them.
  • Think about how you can use your dominant themes to improve yourself and your performance.

Medical Specialty Preference Inventory

This assessment suggests specialties you may find interesting that you never knew existed. Explore them!Even if you think you already have it all figured out, medical school introduces you to new experiences and career opportunities that you may not have even thought of! 

When to take it: It’s helpful to take this inventory once a semester - starting with the first semester of medical school, through spring semester of second year. At minimum, take twice with at least a semester or more in between.

How to use the results:

  • Look at the top 3-4 results in the “Specialty Choice Probability” tab. If any are surprising or unfamiliar to you, set up a meeting with a physician in that specialty to learn more about it, or do some shadowing. Try to explore why this result showed up for you.
  • Navigate to the “Medical Interest Scale” tab to see where you scored on specific interest areas. Use the drop down to view the average scores of physicians in certain specialties to see where your scores match up.
  • After each time taking this inventory, look at how the results have or haven’t changed. Is one becoming more dominant? Are results staying the same? Are new ones showing up?

The Physician Values in Practice Scale

This assessment identifies how you prioritize different values. It provides a brief explanation of your “score” of each value and lists what specialties students enter who share a similar score for each value.

When to take it: Take during the first year of medical school.

How to use the results:

  • Use results to help consider things that may be important to you like geographic location, type of work environment, and activities.
  • Review the description of each value result. Can you see any connections or discrepancies between specialty suggestions based on your values and specialty suggestions from the Medical Specialty Preference Inventory?
  • Do you agree with the results? What kinds of things can you involve yourself with that can help demonstrate these values to others around you or to someone looking at your CV?

Physician Skills Inventory

The Physician Skills Inventory identifies your strengths and weaknesses in three major transferrable skills areas that have been found to be critical for all physicians.

When to take it: Take during the first year of medical school.

How to use the results:

  • Consider how well your specialty interests match your skill strengths.
  • Use the “Choose Specialty Group to Compare” feature to see how your scores compare to different specialty groups.