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This study examined the potential contribution that access to a database of biomedical information may offer in support of problem-solving exercises when personal knowledge is inadequate. Thirty-six medical students were assessed over four occasions and three domains in the basic sciences: bacteriology, pharmacology, and toxicology. Each assessment consisted of a two-pass protocol in which students were first assessed for their personal knowledge of a domain with a short-answer problem set. Then, for a sample of problems they had missed, they were asked to use a database, INQUIRER, to respond to questions which they had been unable to address with their personal knowledge. Results indicate that for a domain in which the database is well-integrated in course activities, useful retrieval of information which augmented personal knowledge increased over three assessment occasions, even continuing to increase several months after course exposure and experience with the database. For all domains, even at assessments prior to course exposure, students were able to moderately extend their ability to solve problems through access to the INQUIRER database.