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
No, I’m not talking about the “dark web” or anything controversial. I’m talking about something that is much more subtle and potentially devastating to your board review strategies – the allure of more interesting things you will encounter while looking up answers you need.
I treat looking up a fact I need while studying for the boards like going into a dark alley. I increase my alertness, look around for what I came for, grab it, and get out quick.… 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
Stress can you ruin your board scores. It sounds like a cliché but actually it is true! Stress leads to fight, flight, or freeze scenarios. When our autonomic nervous systems are out of balance, we can go into overdrive or we can freeze up completely depending upon whether the adrenergic nervous system or the parasympathetic nervous system is over-activated. Neither one of these is helpful for a good outcome in your test scores.
Acute stress and chronic stress can both… 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
It turns out, there are several different types of “sweet spots” you should know about when you are picking what to study for your board exams. Some of them have to do with the types of material that the board focuses on, and some that the board avoids. Others have to do with the timeliness of the material, both in terms out how recent it is and how relevant it is to current practice.
Brand new material tends to be… 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
Sleep is important for a lot of reasons. One critical function of sleep is memory incorporation. This is when memories go from short-term storage into long-term incorporation. Obviously, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to study all day and then lose everything that you put in your brain because your sleep is inefficient or disrupted. Here are some things that can help your sleep to be more complete, deeper, and more effective.
Number 1: Know your sleep number –… 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
Studying for a board exam can seem like a daunting task; the amount of knowledge required can be overwhelming. Finding time to fit studying into our busy lives is a struggle. Our natural inclination may be to just power through all of the topics as best as we can. How do you start the process and where do you focus?
Taking the time to assess our knowledge gaps and approach to questions is a critical first step. It prioritizes our… READ MORE
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