Summer Remediation Program

—Frequently Asked Questions—

outside Simon Cancer Center - Indy

What is the Summer Remedial Program?

If a student fails a single course in the first or second year of medical school, he or she has the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in the subject by passing a comprehensive written examination or other suitable assessment.  In so doing, the course failure is converted to a pass and the student is allowed to progress into the next academic year.  The student’s transcript records an “F/P” for the course.     

The summer remedial is essentially an independent study program in which students are responsible for asking the appropriate course director for guidance in developing an appropriate course of self-study. Although students usually approach their course directors for help, they may solicit assistance from any appropriate faculty member at the nine Indiana University School of Medicine campuses.


What is the rationale behind the remedial program?

The student has already had a full course of instruction in the subject, but has not mastered the material sufficiently to meet minimum standards. It is assumed that the student does not need to repeat the formal educational experiences (e.g., lectures, labs, etc.), but merely needs a period of focused study and review to increase his or her academic performance to acceptable levels.

What courses are remediated in the program?

All of the first-year courses and some of the second-year courses can be remediated in the summer. These include the generic courses that are common to all campuses, as well as a few courses that are unique to particular campuses, e.g., CPS/CHD is taught at Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Terre Haute:

  • Gross Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular & Molecular Biology (CMB)
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine II (ICM II)
  • Medical Genetics
  • Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) or Biostatistics
  • Clinical Problem Solving (CPS) or Concepts of Health & Disease (CHD)
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine I (ICM I)

Note: At the Northwest Campus, some first and second year courses (Steps 2, 6, and 7) are multidisciplinary and cannot be remediated except by retaking the entire course (See below under Courses Not Remediated). However, under some circumstances, a student with a well-defined deficiency in only one discipline, e.g. Gross Anatomy, might be allowed to remediate that specific deficiency rather than repeating the entire course.

The first eleven of the above courses use a subject exam prepared by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Students must pass the exam to pass the remedial. The NBME subject shelf exams are typically 125 to 150 questions in length and require 2.5 to 3.0 hours to complete. These exams are described at Medical Genetics, and EBM/Biostatistics use a faculty-written exam for remediation. CPS/CHD and ICM I are remediated in a different fashion and may use an assessment other than performance on a single exam to demonstrate proficiency.

What courses are NOT remediated in the program?

General and Systemic Pathology and Introduction to Clinical Medicine II (as well as Steps 2, 6, and 7 at the Northwest Campus) as a general rule are not remediated in the summer. These year-long or multidisciplinary courses can be remediated only by retaking the entire course, which in practice means repeating the academic year. Similarly, failure of two or more courses in the first year cannot be remediated in the summer. For example, a first year student who failed Biochemistry in the fall and Physiology in the spring would not be able to remediate both courses before the start of the second year. In this case, the student would be required to repeat the first year or may even be dismissed from school.

Note: An exception to this general policy regarding failures in Pathology and ICM II is as follows. If a student fails either of these year-long courses ONLY because he or she failed the statewide final exam, but is otherwise passing the course to the satisfaction of the course director, the student will receive an F in the course but MAY be given the opportunity to remediate the deficiency in the summer. If the student successfully passes the remedial exam, he or she will be allowed to progress into the 3rd year. A grade of F/P will be recorded on the transcript.

What is the criterion for passing the remedial program?

For all courses, the specific criterion for passing the remedial is set by the responsible department (e.g., the Physiology department establishes the criterion for passing the Physiology remedial). Students should contact the Course Director to determine the minimum passing score for each exam.

For CPS/CHD and ICM I, students should contact the responsible department about the remedial requirements.

What happens if a student fails the remedial program?

The consequences of failing a remedial are severe. A student who fails a remedial will be referred to the Student Promotions Committee for review. The Committee will likely require that the student repeat the academic year in its entirety, including those courses already passed. Depending on circumstances, the Committee may even recommend dismissal from medical school.

What is the student’s responsibility in the remedial program?

Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the course director help in preparing an effective course of self-study. Whereas some students need little guidance, others require more direction. If a student desires assistance from the course director, it is his or her responsibility to initiate contact with the appropriate course director and request help. In most cases, the first contact should be with the student's course director, who already knows the student and can assess areas of strength and weakness. If the course director is unavailable, or the student wishes to seek help from someone else, the student should contact the relevant department chair or campus director, as appropriate, and request assistance in finding a suitable faculty member. Once the course director has agreed to help, the student should work with the course director to devise a mutually-agreeable study plan. For those courses with a more structured remedial program (e.g., CPS/CHD and ICM I), the faculty stipulates the remedial requirements and compliance is not optional.

What is the faculty’s responsibility in the remedial program?

If a student approaches a course director, he or she should offer whatever help is deemed appropriate. The level of help is entirely at the discretion of the course director. In many instances, the course director may simply offer advice on study materials and suggestions for test preparation. In other cases, the course director may prefer a more active role, including frequent meetings with the student. If the course director is unable to offer assistance, he or she should direct the student to the relevant department chair or campus director, as appropriate. The department chairs (in consultation with campus directors) should assist by locating faculty in their disciplines who are willing to help and placing the interested parties in contact.

What unit administers the remedial program?

The Office of Medical Student Affairs (MSA) administers the remedial program. Students are not charged tuition nor are they charged the cost of the NBME exam if one is required. The remedial exams for all courses are administered on the same day in the Medical Science Building on the Indianapolis campus, unless special permission for another testing day or location has been granted.

The testing day is typically the last Thursday in June.

Students are informed of the exact day and time by the assistant dean for academic advising. CPS/CHD and ICM I are remediated separately and students should contact the respective course directors for details. Once MSA receives the scores for the remedial exams (whether NBME or faculty written), the students and/or responsible faculty are alerted via e-mail and told whether or not the student passed according to the criterion set by the department. If the student passes, a new grade sheet is generated by MSA that indicates a “pass” for the course remedial. This is indicated on the student’s official transcript as an “F/P” for the course, indicating that the student failed the course and then passed the remedial. If the student fails the exam, the assistant dean for academic advising is informed for further action.

General Inquiries

General inquiries about the Summer Remedial Program should be directed to:

Kristin Lively, M.Ed.
Learning Specialist
Office of Medical Student Affairs
Indiana University School of Medicine
635 Barnhill Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5120
Phone: 317-274-1578

635 N Barnhill Dr | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Ph: (317) 274-1970 | Fax: (317) 274-4309