Archive Of Standardized Exam Questions: Schizophrenia


This page is dedicated to organizing various examples of standardized exam questions whose answer is schizophrenia. While this may seem a odd practice, it is useful to see multiple examples of how schizophrenia will be characterized on standardized exams (namely the boards and the shelf exams). This page is not meant to be used as a tradition question bank (as all of the answers will be the same), however seeing the classic “test” characterization for a disease is quite valuable.


When it comes to standardized exams, each topic has its own “code” marked by key buzzwords, lab findings, clues, etc. If you are well versed in this code you will be able to more quickly identify the condition that is being discussed, and get the right answer on the exam you are taking. Below is the “code” for schizophrenia

  • Flattened affect is an important clue in the workup

Question # 1

A 45 year old man is brought to the emergency department after police found him hiding under a parked food truck. Place say that the patient claimed that he was in hiding from “demons” who would infect his soul by staring into his eyes. During the past 6 years it seems this patient has been brought to the emergency department 9 times for similar behavior. He has no other notable past medical history, and does not take any medications. He does not use any illicit substances. He lives alone and does not have any close friends or family nearby. His physical exam does not reveal any notable findings. On mental status exam the is fully oriented. He makes poor eye contact and speaks rapidly and with a high volume. He is visibly anxious. Hi thorough process is linear, however during the exam he closes his eyes and counts to 16 before opening his eyes again. When asked why he does this behavior, he explains that it is the only way he can counteract the powers of the “evil demons” that are after his soul. What is the best diagnosis for this patient?

Explanation # 1


Question # 2

A 45 year old woman is brought to the clinic by her friends after attempting to end her life. She tried to drink rubbing alcohol in response to hearing voices in her head that urged her to kill herself. The patient also admits to believing that the television newscaster is sending her secret messages, and that demons are injecting her with poison at night when she is sleeping. The patient first started developing these symptoms at the age of 26. Past medical history is notable for hypertension and obesity. Her physical exam is not remarkable. What is the most likely diagnosis for this patient?

Explanation # 2



Many questions on standardized exams go beyond simply recognizing the underlying topic. Often there are specific testable facts regarding some aspect of the topic’s pathophysiology/management/clinical implications that are commonly asked. Some of these are listed below:


Page Updated: 09.18.2016