We’ve had tens of thousands of physicians take our board prep courses and this is what I learned about the weeks waiting for exam results: there is a weak relationship between how you think you did on the exam and whether you passed. Hundreds of times, exam-takers have emailed me feeling terrible about how “horribly” they did, only to find out that they passed.
It’s normal to leave an exam feeling uncertain or discouraged. This occurs because:
Often the biggest… READ MORE
The majority of the questions on cardiology medical board exams are focused on treatment since the reason patients see a cardiologist is to obtain appropriate treatment. The aspects of treatment tested by the specialty board exams include:
Details of particular treatment options
Treatment interventions by disease variant and in specific patient populations
This post aims to understand how to choose the correct treatment for a specific patient population or disease form. The writer of the board exams tests… READ MORE
Medical board exams include questions in several different areas. A large percentage of these questions are focused on treatment interventions, as an appropriate treatment that a physician is expected to provide to the patients. Three main aspects of treatment are generally tested on the specialty board exams. These include:
Features of specific treatment interventions
Treatments provided to specific patient populations and to patients with specific disease variants
The purpose of this post is to help understand the importance… READ MORE
Family medicine board exams mainly test the clinical knowledge of the test-taker. Therefore, a number of questions in these exams are based on assessing your knowledge regarding various treatment interventions. Three significant aspects of treatment interventions may be tested:
Treatment interventions in specific patient populations and in different variants of the disease
Details of particular treatment interventions
Treatment algorithms are the primary focus of this blog post. A rank ordering of treatment options, starting off with first-line treatment… READ MORE
Below is a transcription of the video (it has been edited for clarity):
Many physicians who do poorly on their boards feel frustrated by underperforming on their exam in relation to their medical knowledge and confused by not knowing how to fix this performance gap. Here I explore the first of five contributors to medical board exam underperformance and provide solutions.
Poor Focus on Exam Question Due to Anxiety
One cause of poor board exam performance is a lack of… READ MORE
The medical boards present multiple-choice questions that are fair and clinically relevant with pride. Simply meaning, they are not trying to trick you. Most of the case vignettes present a patient with a common form of the condition or disease, as these common forms are the ones assessed and treated by most physicians. On the other hand, as clinicians, we should be able to recognize rare disorders. Hence, the question is, how do you figure out if the question is… READ MORE
Board exams assess your knowledge regarding the details of myriads of treatment interventions that are used to treat diverse medical conditions. You are expected to have a knowledge of the details of each of these specific treatment interventions, in addition to knowing the situations in which to give preference to one particular intervention over another. Therefore, it is important to know how much knowledge of the details regarding a particular treatment intervention you should have.
There are certain treatment interventions… READ MORE
When preparing for medical board exams, it is important to remember that they are primarily testing your clinical knowledge. Therefore, expect to find many questions that will assess your knowledge about treatment modalities and which interventions are the most appropriate for each case. You can be tested on the details regarding a specific intervention, the most suitable treatment in particular populations and disease variants, and on treatment algorithms.
This post will be focusing on treatment algorithms. Treatment algorithms refer to… READ MORE
A large percentage of questions on the board exams are based on treatment interventions, as an appropriate treatment is what a patient seeks from a physician. Three major facets of treatment are tested on board exams:
Treatments for specific variants of disease and patients belonging to specific populations
Details regarding particular treatment interventions
This post focuses on selecting the appropriate treatment intervention based on a patient’s specific variant of the disease or the patient’s specific population. Board exams… READ MORE
The board exams pride themselves on not presenting questions that may trick you. In other words, the questions are fair and clinically relevant. This means that the majority of the questions will be related to a common form of a medical disorder. After all, these are the conditions that most of the physicians spend their days assessing and treating. However, it is also important for the clinician to identify the rare disorder. Hence, the question is, how to differentiate whether… READ MORE
I’m here to talk about a difficult topic with you today. What do you do if you fail your board exam?
Below is a transcript of the video:
Well, the first thing you should do is to take some time to come to terms with what has happened. When you first open up that envelope and you see that you failed the exam, it will hit you like a ton of bricks. You don’t need to do anything. You… READ MORE
One way I’ve found categorizing board exam questions helpful is to view them in a hierarchy of three levels, each one building on the previous one and requiring a more use of one’s clinical judgment. My three levels are:
Know It → Recognize It → Decide It
Now let me explain and I promise this will be practically helpful and, I believe, comforting even.
This lowest level of question relies almost exclusively on recalling some specific piece of… READ MORE
There is a high percentage of questions based on treatment in medical board exams because the reason patients see physicians is to seek appropriate treatment. Three aspects of treatment are tested by specialty board exams:
Details of specific treatment modalities
Treatments by disease variant and in particular patient population
The focus of this post is on choosing the appropriate treatment for a particular population that the patient belongs to, or the disease variant. The writers of the board… READ MORE
Every multiple-choice exam question is presented to you on the exam only after being vetted to be clinically relevant and fair. (Note that there are a certain percentage – maybe 10-15% – of MCQs included in exams that are under assessment and not counted in results until they pass muster. This does lead exam candidates to sometimes scratch their heads when reading poorly written questions. These questions will likely be revised or retired.)
Simply put, the boards are not trying… READ MORE
The knowledge of the test-taker regarding the details of numerous treatment interventions gets tested on the board exams. It is important to know the situations in which to select a specific treatment intervention. In addition to this, you should also have knowledge of the details of particular treatment interventions. Therefore, the question is: “how much knowledge should one have regarding the details of various treatment interventions for the purposes of board exams?”
There are certain treatment interventions that are delivered… READ MORE
Clinical knowledge is primarily tested in medical board exams. Commonly asked questions assess the knowledge regarding treatment interventions. The following three different aspects of treatment can be tested:
Specific treatment intervention details
Treatments by disease variants and in specific populations
This post is focused on treatment algorithms. Treatment algorithms are described as an ordering of treatment interventions in ranks starting with first-line treatments followed by second-line, third-line, and fourth-line treatment interventions, eventually ending at the last-line treatment intervention.… READ MORE
I received a request from a colleague preparing for their board exam. Today I tackle this fairly common problem by explaining procrastination, its formation and treatment.
Procrastination is a type of avoidance, and avoidance is a common strategy used by many to cope with unpleasant life situations and also is part of several psychiatric conditions. Any disorder with “phobia” in its name is a type of avoidance. The problem with avoidance is that often it is counter-productive and makes the… READ MORE
I’m about to tell you something so obvious you may want to throw something at me. Despite the apparent obviousness, many exam candidates still will make the mistake I’m about to describe and do so for entirely understandable reasons. Let me explain.
On the day (or several days) prior to your exam, your anxiety level likely will increase. You may realize you are not as prepared as you would like to be and regret not devoting more time to preparing.… READ MORE
Welcome. It’s Dr. Jack and I have 5 tips for you on how to minimize procrastination when it comes to studying for your board exam.
Tip 1: De-Emotionalize the Job You Have to Do
My first tip is based on a thought experiment. I’d like you to take a minute to imagine that you have a clone of yourself, and your clone is identical to you. They have the same bright smile and winning personality that you do. There… READ MORE
Fear can make us behave in counterproductive ways, including how we respond to an upcoming medical board exam. We have set ways of responding to fear – fight, flight or freeze. Classically, fear is defined as an emotion triggered by imminent danger, as we would experience if we saw an aggressive person running toward us or if we heard breaking glass in our house as we were lying in bed. Anxiety is defined as an emotion triggered by non-imminent dangers… READ MORE