It’s crunch time for the ABIM Internal Medicine Boards, and “High Yield” is key. You don’t want to waste your time, and you want to be as efficient as possible. Well, I recently gave a lecture entitled, “Dr. Rezaie’s 5 Pearls to Passing the Boards.” This is a general post, and can be used for any standardized test in your last few weeks of preparation.
Pearl #1: Always read the question first, look over the answers, then go back and read the question stem
- You waste your time reading the passage and looking at the labs first
- What do you focus on?
- How many times do you go back and forth between passage and answers?
- This process wastes precious time
- Instead read the question and answers first and then go back and read the passage.
- Some questions can even be answered without reading the passage
Pearl #2: Know the breakdown of the test
- Specifically for the ABIM board exam “THE BIG 5” are:
- General Internal Medicine
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Infectious Disease
- Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care
- These 5 sections alone compromise approximately 50 – 60% of the exam
- If time is short, focus on these five sections
- Ideally, you have left yourself enough time to go over all sections, but if time is short, reading over things like dermatology are not high yield
Pearl #3: Know the big 4 of medical decision-making
- If you can answer 4 questions about every disease process, you will be prepared for over 80% of the questions on the test:
- What is the BEST initial test?
- What is the MOST ACCURATE test?
- What is the BEST initial therapy/treatment?
- What is the NEXT BEST STEP in management?
- These four questions are known as “The Fischer Method”
Pearl #4: Pick a single book and question bank and stick with it
- There are so many options, and all are good.
- Personally, I think Med Study reads the easiest and is the most high yield followed by MKSAP
- Ultimately pick one resource and stick with it. Buying five different resources is not realistic to complete and you will not get through all the information
- Also pick one question bank and stick with it.
- Whether it be Knowmedge, MKSAP, MedStudy, or Kaplan, you will be able to pass if you learn the material
- Personally, I have used the Knowmedge and MKSAP question banks and felt like both were very comparable to the ABIM Board Exam
Pearl #5: Focus on most commons
- I would know the top 3 conditions of each area cold
- i.e. Top 3 infectious disease killers in the world are HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
- i.e. 3 of the top 5 killers in the world are Cardiovascular diseases, Infectious diseases, and chronic lung disease (No wonder Cardiovascular, pulmonary/critical care, and infectious diseases are 3 of “THE BIG 5”)
In addition to these 5 High Yield Pearls also consider another FREE resource such as Twitter (My personal recommendations for daily board review questions and pearls include: @awesomereview, @IMmemorandum, @uthscsapearls and @srrezaie). Let me wish all of you the best of luck on your studies, ABIM Internal Medicine board exam and future endeavors.