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Sim Challenge

Sim Challenge

Join us and participate in AMSA’s Sim Challenge at AMSA’s Annual Convention and Exposition, April 16-19, 2020. Over the course of Convention, teams will compete in a series of simulated clinical scenarios requiring medical knowledge, clinical skills, teamwork, and communication. In each round, teams will be presented with a clinical case. Each team will have ~15 minutes to evaluate, discuss, and present their findings. A panel of judges will determine the winner for each round.

Check out videos from Society in Europe for Simulation Applied Medicine's past simulation competitions:

Frequently Asked Questions

What should students bring?

Students should bring an ID and a pair of scrubs. We will verify the identification of each participant upon each round.

What materials are students allowed to use on the day of the event (reference packets, telephone, Medscape?)  

No reference materials or cell phones are permitted on stage or in team holding areas. 

Do students need to know medication dosages?  

No. We are not requiring that anyone knows drug dosages. However, we do expect that you clearly state the name of the drug and route to be given. For example please give metoprolol PO or IV.

How do students/teams order medications/labs (verbalize, telephone, etc.)?  

In ordering any lab tests, imaging studies, consults or medications you need to clearly verbalize and make sure you have read back confirming the order was heard.

What is the scope of challenges (adults, peds, obstetrics)? Please provide some examples of cases used in the past.  

The scope of the challenges in the past have been mostly adult cases but occasionally a pediatric and obstetric case have been included especially in semi-final and final rounds. The expectation is that the team is able to conduct a focused history and physical including primary and secondary survey; order appropriate tests and provide the appropriate treatment. Judges also evaluate team communication and dynamics.

**Videos of previous competitions and some sample cases are provided below.

Are students/teams able to consult attendings/pharmacists? Will there be a phone to consult?  

Yes. There will be a phone on stage for ordering consults. Prior to each case we review with the team all the available equipment

How will study results be presented to the students/teams (radiology, labs, etc)?  

Labs and imaging studies will be displayed on a screen as they become available. In the event of technical malfunction a hard copy of the labs and imaging will be presented at the appropriate time.

What are OSCE’s?  

OSCE’s are Objective Structure Clinical Exams similar to the CSA exam for the USMLE. Because of the number of teams competing this year we will have “stations” with individual skills like heart/lung sound; EKG interpretation; eye/ear exam. The OSCE can also include a clinical encounter and can be individual or team based. The final list of OSCE’s will be announced a few weeks before the competition.

What type of cases should the students/teams prepare for? 

Our recommendation would be to stay at least on the level of ACLS. The organizers are fully aware that there will be gaps in knowledge and skills. In the past 7 years we have not had a case that was not able to be solved. Having said that there have bene challenging cases and no one has performed 100% on any given case.

Most cases will be about an acute condition but not all cases are trauma or “code cases”. Cases are designed to demonstrate your critical thinking ability and put to use the knowledge and skills you have acquired.

What equipment should each student/team bring and what brand of mannequin is being used?

You need to bring your team and a stethoscope. Everything else will be provided. We review all equipment with all the teams prior to the competition and if there is anything particular to a given scenario we address this with you in the pre-brief.

In the past we have used Sim Man 3G. However, I would not worry about the manikin type as we will review with everyone the manikin and its capabilities prior to the competition. The type of manikin used has never been detrimental to any team including those who have not seen a simulator prior to the competition.

How many teams are you capping at for the preliminary round?  

This year the competition will be capped at 8 teams.

Do the teams include medical students and residents or just medical students?  

Teams can not include residents. However, if you have a team member who is a nursing student or other allied health profession student they are permitted to compete.

What does the preliminary round entail? I know you mentioned a case and two OSCEs…are the OSCEs performed individually or as a team?  

The OSCE format will include both individual and team events.

Rules & Regulations


  1. During the entirety of the competition, the use of any mobile devices (phones, tablets, smart watches, etc.) by team members is strictly prohibited. If these devices are used, the team will be disqualified. 
  2. During the scenario performance, competing teams are not allowed to stay in the room of the competition.
  3. The team may use only the equipment delivered by the organizers, apart from personal stethoscopes.
  4. The facilitators/moderator may stop the scenario and exclude the team from the competition if the team violates safety rules or performs in a way that could lead to damage to the equipment owned by the organizer.


  1. Each team must consist of 4-5 participants.
  2. The participants should be students of medicine, nursing, or allied health programs.
  3. Confirmation of student matriculation must be provided by the student’s school.
  4. Only one team from each school can submit to participate in the national competition at Convention.     
  5. To participate in the competition, teams must apply by the posted deadline.
  6. There is no registration fee for participation in the national Sim Challenge, but all students must register for Convention.


  1. The number of teams allowed to participate in the competition will be determined on a yearly basis. 
  2. A detailed schedule and introduction of facilitators/moderator of Sim Challenge will be presented to the teams at the beginning of the event. 
  3. The competition will consist of one preliminary round, four quarterfinal rounds, two semifinal rounds, and one championship round. 
  4. Each team will have an opportunity to become acquainted with all equipment which may be used during their scenario during the preliminary round.
  5. In every scenario two types of skills will be evaluated: 
    1. technical skills in accordance with current guidelines
    2. non-technical skills which will be evaluated based on a form prepared by the organizers
  6. The teams agree to follow the directions of the facilitators and the scenario moderator.
  7. Every scenario is planned to last for a predetermined amount of time and each team will be informed about the details in a pre-brief prior to the start of the scenario.
  8. The facilitators/moderator will inform each team when the scenario has ended.
  9. Once the scenario has ended, the team has to stop performing any tasks.
  10. The team may expect debriefing from the facilitators/moderator after completing  the final scenario.

Terms & Conditions


  1. Sim Challenge is organized by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and Alliance for Innovation.
  2. The National Sim Challenge will take place during the annual AMSA Convention & Exposition (Convention).
  3. Sim Challenge is a friendly competition among medical student teams that challenges medical knowledge, clinical skills, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork. The scenarios used within Sim Challenge require engagement of the entire team – whose  members are expected to manage acute emergency cases in pre-hospital and hospital environments.
  4. English is the official language of the competition.


  1. Students who participate in the competition do so at their own risk. 
  2. The organizers, facilitators, and moderator of Sim Challenge are not responsible for personal injury and property loss that occur before, during or after the competition.
  3. The team will be responsible for any damage of equipment used during the competition, if the safety rules were violated or the jury and organizers orders were not followed.
  4. Serious violation of safety rules and regulations during the competition will be punished by exclusion of the team from further competition.
  5. The competition will be recorded and photographed by organizers of Sim Challenge for promotional purposes during and after Convention.The participants agree to be recorded, broadcast and published in the press, television or the internet.
  6. The organizer maintains the right to cancel the competition due to the reasons beyond his control.
  7. All participants must comply with and agree to the terms and conditions, the instructions of the organizers, and the laws and rules of good manners.

AMSA Thanks

To support Sim Challenge
Contact Sandy Fridy at sfridy@amsa.org.