As a physician, you have a lot on your plate—a full clinic, a pile of dictations, an office meeting you are leading, followed by overnight call and a paper that you have been meaning to write for a few months. Whew! Where are you to find time to study for boards? Well, medicine is a balancing act, and you will need to recreate that harmony to fit board studying into your busy physician’s life.
We all have twenty-four hours in each day, so we might as well maximize them. Your morning commute does not have to be spent counting stop lights. Instead, listen to board review audio lectures while driving to work, complete an MCQ or two while you wait in line at the grocery store, and skim the year’s most influential systemic reviews while waiting for your pager to beep. Re-purposing rote activities to incorporate board studying will help maximize board review without crowding out the essentials of your day.
Schedule Time For Studying
The best laid plans do not always unfold the way we would like. Board studying is not just going to happen by wishing it so; you need to make it a priority in your busy physician life. Wake up a half an hour earlier to devote that time to board studying, and let your family know that your study time is a priority for the immediate future. Try to schedule daily board study time that will not easily be eclipsed by other activities. Study behind a locked door at home, or stop by a coffee shop for a half an hour on the way home. Routine and repetition reinforce and integrate the material you are learning so that, on test day, your brain will not struggle to make the necessary connections to choose the correct answers.
Giving yourself a least three months of consistent time to study for boards is a good starting point on the road to board certification. This length of time allows you to review the wealth of information in your specialty and take several full-length practice exams to simulate the real board experience. Time waits for no person, so act now to avoid last-minute cramming for the boards. Board studying is a marathon—not a sprint— and carving out time to study now will allow you to start early and finish strong.
Streamline Your Goals
The goal of board studying is board certification or recertification. You are not trying to refine your medical practice or become current with the newest technological advances in your field. Instead, your focus should be on reviewing time-honored medical diagnostic testing and treatment steeped in evidence-based knowledge and standards of care. Board examiners and questions writers shy away from cutting edge research or practices that are fodder for controversy. Make sure you focus on high-yield facts so you make the most of your board study time.
Don’t Re-invent the Wheel
Year after year, busy physicians study for the boards and re-emerge board certified. The tried-and-true techniques that have worked in the past can work for you; there are no new strategies or tricks to “beat the system” required. Dedicated time listening or reading review lectures and completing a few full-length exams will test your skills and give you the knowledge and confidence to succeed. Using a Pass Machine board review course to meet CME requirements, and the triple trust guarantee, is merely icing on the cake.
Board studying is not as challenging as residency. As a busy physician, you have gone through more challenging situations, and board studying does not have to be one of them. Use some of these tips to fit board studying into your busy physician life, and in no time you will be proudly hanging your board certification placard on your office wall.
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