I think you should pump iron for your board exam – both literally and figuratively.
A board exam is unlike almost anything else we encounter in our daily work. It requires several hours of extended, high-performance to interface with the material presented, interpret it, and come up with the answers they are looking for.
To succeed in an environment like this, I suggest it is highly relevant to practice up to this level of intensity of performance. The figurative part… 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
It’s easy to get derailed and have your study session go into a tailspin. When you are not having fun, every diversion can turn into a time trap. One thing you can do is invest your passion into learning new material or being totally up-to-date on your areas of interest. Here are five more hacks you can use to keep your studying in the “power zone”.
Paradoxically, the best study plans involve time away from study. That’s because things that… 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
It’s hard to dive into things that are big, amorphous, and not necessarily fun. Studying for a board exam can fit all of these criteria and be something that is easy to put off again and again.
When I took my NBME part one exam, I hated Anatomy. I spent most of the year studying Pharmacology and Physiology because I love them. Studying Pharmacology and Physiology for me is like eating chocolate; great. But studying anatomy just wasn’t doing it… READ MORE
There are countless ways to study, and you may already know what works best for you. But if you find that you study materials and then do not really remember them when you need them, you might want to try this program.
The first priority is to have accurate targeting of the material you want to learn. When I work with individuals, I look at their board scores and I help them to decide which areas they need to focus… 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
Whether preparing for an exam related to maintenance of certification, a primary exam of certification, or some other type of important exam, you undoubtedly have many reading materials at your disposal. In these scenarios, our effort is likely devoted to reading and re-reading material again and again. Unfortunately, though, scientific literature actually indicates that this sort of process of learning is not optimal, and may actually take a fair bit more time than a much simpler process—trying to recall the… 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
So, you’ve spent the hours reviewing all of the important details for your exam. You’ve done your best to target the weak areas, spending extra time focusing on topics that you didn’t quite master the first time through. And, perhaps most importantly, you’ve spent a considerable amount of time and effort doing practice questions and exams—all written by different authors—completed with time constraints in a variety of environments. By all measures, you are ready for this exam.
Once in the… READ MORE
Medical exam boards take pride in clinically relevant and fair multiple choice questions. This simply means the board is not trying to trick you. Most of the case vignettes describe a patient that has a common form of the disease. After all, we as physicians spend the majority of our time assessing and treating such cases. On the other hand, as clinicians, we should be able to recognize a rare condition as well. Hence, the vital question is: How do… READ MORE
For the most part, clinical knowledge is tested by the medical board exams. Assessment of knowledge about treatment interventions are common questions. Primarily, three different treatment aspects can be tested:
Details about specific treatment interventions
Treatments of disease variants and in particular populations
This post focuses on treatment algorithms. Treatment algorithms are the ordering of treatment interventions, ranking them from the first-line treatments followed by second-, third-, and fourth-line treatments, eventually ending at the last-line treatments at a… READ MORE
Studying for the General Surgery Boards is similar to studying for USMLE Step 1; you have already been taught everything that you need to know for the exam, but at the same time you have no idea what to expect or how to study. The ABSITE is a good way to test your knowledge throughout residency, but no matter how well (or poorly) you perform, it does not prepare you enough to pass the boards.
I am writing this post… READ MORE
There is a high percentage of questions focused on the treatment in medical board exams, as one of the reasons patients see the physician is for appropriate treatment. There are three treatment aspects tested in the specialty board exams:
Specific treatment intervention details
Treatment of disease variants and specific patient populations
This blog post focuses on deciding on the appropriate treatment for a patient with regards to the particular population the patient belongs to or a specific form… READ MORE