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
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
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
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
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
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
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
This blog post is written for physicians who are getting ready to take either their initial certification or recertification exam in internal medicine. I know it is a time of stress and apprehension for you as you prepare to take the test, which is why I will provide you with some practical strategies that will help you position yourself in the best possible way to pass. I have taken one certification and one recertification exam, and I used these strategies… READ MORE
It is not a secret that the board exams test your knowledge regarding the details of numerous treatment interventions. Besides having the knowledge of the circumstances in which you have to choose a specific treatment intervention over another, it is also important to know the details regarding each particular intervention. Thus, the question arises “just how much detail regarding treatment interventions does the exam-taker need to know?”
In every field of medicine, there are certain treatment interventions that are administered… READ MORE
The boards do not attempt to trick you. In other words, they present multiple-choice questions that are fair and clinically relevant. This means that most of the clinical vignettes on the board exams will involve patients who have a commonly occurring form of a disorder. After all, the assessment and treatment of these common cases make up a major part of the clinical practice of a physician. However, the clinician must still be able to identify the rare condition. Hence… READ MORE
The primary purpose of internal medicine board exams is to test clinical knowledge. Questions that evaluate the knowledge of treatment options are therefore commonly seen on these exams. The following aspects of treatment may be tested:
Treatment options in specific populations
Variation of treatments according to disease variants
Details about particular treatment interventions
This post focuses on treatment algorithms. Treatment algorithms can be defined as a rank order of treatment options that begin with first-line treatments and end… READ MORE