Ashish Goyal, M.D.

Author Archives: Ashish Goyal, M.D.

Ultimate Guide to the MOCA-Peds Assessment

The MOCA-Peds Assessment is an alternative to the American Board of Pediatrics’ traditional 4-hour pediatric MOC exam. Standing for “Maintenance of Certification Assessment – Pediatrics,” MOCA-Peds is an option that many practicing pediatricians find preferable to the standard Maintenance of Certification exam. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but we believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. PBR can prepare you to take the MOCA-Peds test in an easy and painless way by providing you with guidance on how to navigate the MOCA-Peds experience and by giving you one-page summaries of the exact topics you will be tested on.

But first of all, what is the MOCA-Peds, and why is it preferable to the MOC?

What’s the Difference Between the MOC Exam and the MOCA-Peds Assessment?

MOC Exam

The Maintenance of Certification Exam is a 4-hour examination offered by the American Board of Pediatrics to board-certified pediatricians once every five years to help maintain board certification. It is a standardized, proctored test that lasts for five hours and is similar to the Initial Certification board exam for pediatrics. It can be on any topic related to pediatrics.

If you’re good at standardized tests and have been at low risk for failing (meaning you usually pass these types of tests with flying colors) then it might be a good option for you. The benefits are that it’s only once every five years, so you don’t have to worry about it the rest of the time. Because of this alone, we estimate that approximately 10-20% of pediatricians prefer to take the MOC Exam.

A related reason why some pediatricians might prefer the MOC exam has to do with subspecialties. For subspecialists who decide to maintain their subspeciality board certification and their general pediatric board certification, it’s preferable to only focus on their specialty most of the time and then shift their attention to general pediatrics only once every five years as they prepare for the MOC exam. 

MOCA-Peds Assessment

The MOCA-Peds exams are much shorter and the time commitment can be tailored to suit your needs. These mini-exams have many advantages over the MOC exam. In the MOCA-Peds exams you:

  • Answer 20 questions per quarter, every quarter, for four years. If you pass within your first 3 years, you get the fourth and fifth years off.
  • Answer one question at a time and get an instant result (answer and explanation).
  • Have five minutes per question.
  • Take the test at home, in the office, or any place with internet access without a proctor.
  • Take the test as an open-book, open-computer exam with the freedom to access the MOCA-PBR Study Guide & Test Companion, UpToDate, Peds in Review, or any other online resource.
  • Can fail up to four quarters in the five-year cycle and still maintain your certification.
  • Study only a limited number of topics to prepare for the exams. Instead of studying everything in the world of pediatrics, you only have to study the 40 Learning Objectives and 4 Featured Readings laid out at the beginning of each year by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). The 80 questions per year come from those topics and a new MOCA-PBR Study Guide & Test Companion is created every year to cover the new Learning Objectives and Featured Readings.

What are Learning Objectives and Featured Readings?

The American Board of Pediatrics provides 40 Learning Objectives which are somewhat vague. But, even 40 vague topics are much better than having to study every little thing that might show up on a pediatric board exam. The Learning Objectives and Featured ReadingsLearning Objectives are typically released on the ABP website one to two months prior to the new year. Some recent examples of MOCA-Peds Learning Objectives include:

  • Counsel parents regarding circumcision
  • Differentiate between normal and abnormal variations in head growth and manage appropriately
  • Evaluate and manage a child with an inguinal mass

The Featured Readings are articles published in medical journals. Some examples of recent featured Readings include:

  • Management of Infants at Risk for Group B Streptococcal Disease. Pediatrics. 2019.
  • Acute Treatment of Migraine in Children and Adolescents: Report of the Guideline Development, Dissemination, and Implementation Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. Neurology. 2019.

What Happens if You Fail the MOC or Fail the MOCA-Peds?

If you fail the MOC, it is a complete fail and you have to take the entire exam again. The exam is administered four times per year. 

If you fail a MOCA-Peds quarterly assessment, nothing happens at that time. You only have to pass twelve quarterly assessments within the first four years of your five-year cycle to maintain certification. If you do not pass at least twelve quarters by the end of your fourth year, then you must pass the proctored MOC exam by the end of the five-year cycle.

MOCA-Peds is built into your recurring ABP dues. You must pay extra to take the MOC exam. Failure to meet your recertification requirements will result in additional fees and can result in the loss of your job (many hospitals and clinics will only employ board-certified pediatricians).

You can see why it is so important that you do well on the ABP MOCA-Peds assessments or the MOC exam.

How Do You Prepare For MOCA-Peds?

The good news with the MOCA-Peds is that the ABP gives you the 40 Learning Objectives and Learning Objectives4 Featured Readings in advance. This gives you a great place to start your studies. Therefore, your options when taking the MOCA-Peds exam are:

  1. Wing it! Use Google, UpToDate, Peds in Review, and other online resources to hopefully find the answers within the five-minute window that is allowed per question. This is not recommended since it can result in anxiety and failure. 
  2. Find resources on your own that allow you to prepare for the topics and subtopics related to the 40 Learning Objectives and Featured ReadingsFeatured Readings. This is doable but requires a lot of work and research on your part–and most of all, a lot of time.
  3. Get the MOCA-PBR Study Guide & Test Companion in an online format and/or hardcopy format. Every year, we do the hard work for you. When the ABP publishes the Learning Objectives and Featured ReadingsLearning ObjectivesFeatured Readings, we do a deep dive into those topics and create concise study guides to capture the common, and uncommon, information that may be covered on the exam. Use Study Guide and Test Companion as your open-book and open-computer tool. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, our online resource makes it easy to search, efficiently answer questions and PASS your MOCA-Peds exams.

 

Are you ready to take on MOCA-Peds?

Get Started Now

How to Prepare For the Pediatric Boards

Getting to the pediatric boards is a major step in your career. Congratulations!

You’ve, no doubt, thought of exam preparation and winced. Think of it this way: the exam is the performance (or the game) and the exam prep is the rehearsal or scrimmage – authentic practice.

Pediatrics Board Review is here to make sure you are prepared and confident in your abilities to pass the boards.

The Three Pillars of Passing the Pediatric Boards

Passing the pediatric boards is hard. We know that. We’re not just an exam prep company. Pediatrics Board Review was created by a pediatrician who failed the pediatric boards and then did so well that the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) asked him to write questions for them. So, we know what it’s like to go through these exams. We have the knowledge base and continuing education to help you pass.

There are three pillars for passing the pediatric board exams. They are content, technique, and commitment. Strength in each of these three key areas is crucial for success.

Content

Content is the fund of pediatric knowledge you develop as you prepare for the pediatric boards. You may think that this is a time when you need to gather all the resources, read countless books, and spend agonizing hours flipping from one cross-reference to another. But the truth is, when taking this exam, less is more. Turning to other textbooks, medical journals, and notes can be disastrous. What you need is a single source that is comprehensive, focused on board-relevant information, and allows for repetition in order to guarantee reinforcement of the concepts.

Using PBR's proven content will get you across the finish line. The reason is congruency. Our digital resources mirror our hardcopy resources precisely. Audio, video, online, and hardcopy resources in congruency allow for an easy preparation process as you weave in and out of different resources. This allows for greater repetition and greater repetition results in greater reinforcement. By using the tried and tested Pediatrics Board Review initial certification exam resources, you’re guaranteed a pass.

“Content is king.” Whether you are coming to PBR as a first-timer, or have failed previously, getting the right content in hand is the single most important aspect of passing.

Technique

Technique refers to how you process both individual board-style questions and how you approach the entire exam. Board-style questions are vastly different than living and breathing people. These questions are NOT miniature patients. The medical board exam is a standardized, artificial environment complete with its own set of rules and strategies to navigate.

The thing is, there are rules to the “board game.” Think of each question as a silent puzzle and there are strategic rules in place to help you solve it. This has to do with understanding the various styles of pediatric board exam questions, how to navigate those different styles of questions, and how to process the answer choices in a way that leaves only the answer that the question writers want. Once you are able to do this well, you can start to answer certain questions even without remembering all of the clinical medicine that you studied!

Also, PBR has noticed something significantly different with our members who are International Medical Graduates. Standardized tests, such as the board exam, are different from the board exams with oral and essay questions that they may have been used to in other countries.

A good example of this is the time expectation. 75 seconds is the recommended length of time per question. What do you do when the time remaining on a block of questions is only two or three minutes and you’re still not done? Do you continue to process the questions in order? If you cannot pace yourself at approximately 75 seconds per question, that could prevent you from completing your exam block. What if you knew the answers to those last five questions, but time ran out? So if you are an International Medical Graduate who has struggled with American standardized exams, know that you are not alone, and we can help.

Helping you understand how to decipher what the question writers are asking of you, how to systematically process answer choices and how to manage your time on the exam, are just a few of the many strategies we teach in PBR’s Test Taking Strategies and Coaching courses.

Commitment

Commitment is a huge reason why pediatricians fail the board exams. It takes a lot of effort and time to prepare yourself for the test. We recommend that low-risk, first-time test takers should study a minimum of 300 hours. For moderate and high-risk test takers, that number increases to 500. Regardless of which study plan you will need to follow, the commitment needed to take on 300-500 hours of board preparation is an absolute must for success.

PBR takes a deep dive into what is required to develop the study habits that you’ll need to get to where you want to be. This is done in our Live Test-Taking Strategies & Deep Study Course. PBR’s lectures around the concept of “Deep Study” are so impactful in multiple areas of life that they are often described as life-changing. There is no easy path toward passing your pediatric boards. But we will help you achieve this career milestone. It may mean studying every day, sacrificing time with your family, less time at your job, and maybe even passing up short-term opportunities in pursuit of the long-term goal. If you set these expectations for yourself you’ll be ahead of the game.

You can do it. We can help you.

Studying for the pediatric boards

High Risk vs Low Risk for Failing Your Pediatric Boards

What is your risk level for failing the pediatric boards? It’s a worthwhile question, right? Even though everyone needs to study and get ready for the exams, a high-risk candidate will need to put in additional effort. We can help you get there, and we can even help you identify whether you’re high-risk or low-risk.

Who is High-Risk?

A high-risk physician or resident may include someone who:

  • Struggled to pass (or failed) ANY board exam
  • Self-identifies as having difficulty with standardized board exams
  • Is an International Medical Graduate
  • Was classified “at-risk” of failing the boards based on In-Training Exam scores
  • Comes from an “at-risk” residency program with a pass rate of less than 90% – click here to see where your residency program stands
  • Has taken a year off from studying for the exam
  • Scored less than 222 on the USMLE Step 1

Who is Low-Risk?

A low-risk physician or resident may include someone who:

  • Has never failed any medical board exams
  • Typically scores near, or above, the national average
  • Self-identifies as someone who is a good test-taker and generally does well on standardized board exams
  • Graduated from a US medical school
  • Was never classified “at-risk” of failing the boards based on residency In-Training Exam scores
  • Comes from a residency program with a pass rate of greater than 90% (click here and check your residency's pass rate)
  • Will take the boards in the same calendar year as their graduation from residency
  • Scored at least 222 on the USMLE Step 1

Use Our Risk Calculator To Find Out Where You Are

Are the Study Plans Different Based on Risk Level?

Yes. As we mentioned in the commitment pillar, a minimum of 300 hours is recommended for low-risk pediatricians and 500 hours of board preparation is recommended for moderate to high-risk pediatricians. Your risk profile should also help you select the right resources to maximize your chances of passing the pediatric boards.

For low-risk test-takers, the minimum set of resources we recommend would be included in the All Access Pass. This includes 100% of our Initial Certification exam educational resources. The All Access Pass primarily focuses on providing concise, board-relevant content presented to you through multiple modalities. This bundle gives you everything you need to take on the Content pillar we discussed above.

But, the most common bundle for test takers of the Initial Certification exam is the No Brainer Bundle. It includes resources to support all 3 of the key pillars needed to pass the pediatric boards. It includes PBR’s:

  • All Access Pass
  • Full Online Test-Taking Strategies Course
  • Three 90-Day Personalized Study Schedules created by Team PBR

PBR’s No Brainer bundle is the best pediatric study package on the market, and it costs less than the price of a traditional video board review course.

We’ve helped thousands of pediatricians get through the initial certification exam, including those who have failed many times before. PBR offers focused, easy-to-use resources that will get you across that finish line. In fact, we back it up with a Money-Back First-Time Pass Guarantee. And of the thousands who have utilized our resources, less than 0.5% of pediatricians have asked for their money back.

We’ve helped them, and we can help you.

Are you ready to take on the pediatric board exams?

Click Here to Learn More

Pediatric Board Exam Time Per Question, Number of Blocks & More

The Ins & Outs of TEST DAY!

As the pediatric board exam nears, I'm often asked the following questions:

  • Pediatric board exam time per question and pacing is something I struggle with. Can you help?
  • How many questions are on the pediatrics board exam?
  • What is the number of sections for the American Board of Pediatrics INITIAL board certification exam?

The information on the American Board of pediatrics website is a little confusing, so I've tried to clarify some things below. I try to address some of the more key information you will need on test day. In this article I'll talk specifically about the INITIAL pediatric board certification exam. You'll learn:

  • How many sections are administered for the initial certification exam
  • How many questions are on the peds exam
  • How many questions you can expect to see in each section
  • How much time per question to allot

The break up for the ABP Click Here And Continue Reading…

Creating Memorable Pediatric Mnemonics

Pediatric Mnemonics that Stick

Overwhelmed by informationCreating pediatric mnemonics can be a lifesaver for the boards. Did you know that most memory champions in the world do NOT have a photographic memory? They actually TRAIN their brains to remember lists, names and other random facts. So trust me when I say that you can too!

As doctors, most of us were in the top 10% of our class until we hit medical school, but that doesn't mean it’s easy for us to retain the vast amounts of knowledge necessary to pass the pediatric boards. I remember the overwhelming feeling of being crushed by all of the information I was being bombarded with during my studies.

It wasn't until I learned how to create pediatric mnemonics and memory aids that I was finally able to feel comfortable with the idea of housing all of that information in my brain. The mnemonics I created were essential in helping me retain information and pass the USMLE Step exams as well as the pediatric initial certification exam.

So, unless you’ve got a photographic memory, I’d highly recommend spending some time learning memory techniques.

The [PBR] mnemonics were stellar, if not a little goofy , but that just added to their utility. I will likely remember some the mnemonics for the rest of my life, especially the autosomal dominant diseases. – Dr. Kristen Macleod” – Read Kristen's full testimonial by clicking HERE.

WHAT ARE MNEMONICS?

Use ROY G BIV as an example of how to start thinking about creating pediatric mnemonicsIn a nutshell, mnemonics are memory aid devices that can help you to remember difficult to absorb information.

Does the name ROY G BIV sound familiar? Click Here And Continue Reading…

2020 Pediatric Board Review Sneak Peek

Your 2020 Pediatric Board Review PREVIEW (and Discounted PREORDER Code) Is Here!

Published in 10/2019

Pediatric Study Guides, Laptop, SmartphoneUnlike other board review courses, the PBR's Core Study Guide gets corrected and updated EVERY year. Many of the corrections and clarifications of the are made available to the PBR community (below) prior to the pediatric initial certification exam. This allows members to have a more secure pediatric board review experience, and more secure board exam experience. This is one of the many reasons why members recognize PBR as the best pediatric board review course in the industry.

For non-members who are trying to figure out how they will approach the board exam, or for anyone preparing for the MOC (or for MOCA-Peds), this is a great opportunity to essentially have a sneak peak into the 2020 edition.

In this article, you will:

  • Get a preview of the most EFFICIENT 2020 pediatric board review course available
  • Get a great review of several excellent and high-yield topics
  • Get a FREE MP3 Audio Chapter from PBR
  • Get 50 FREE High-Yield Images from PBR
  • Get a FREE Test-Taking Strategies Video Training Session
  • Get the opportunity to PREORDER the 2020 edition books for 50% off of the value of the Ultimate Bundle Pack or 85% OFF of the LIFETIME package called “PBR FOR LIFE!” Please note that the PBR FOR LIFE package is NOT typically available through the PBR catalog, so this is a SPECIAL opportunity!

A FEW WORDS OF THANKS TO THE PBR COMMUNITY

Every year I like to go through all PBR error submission and send corrections to PBR members before the initial certification exam. It’s an EXTREMELY time consuming task (takes weeks), but it’s worth it.

Although the information in this guide SHOULD NOT make or break your test-experience if you have followed, THE PBR EFFICIENCY BLUEPRINT, several test-takers have previously said that these corrections and clarifications have helped them correctly answer questions that came up on the exam.

Click Here And Continue Reading…

Your 2018 Pediatric Board Review Books – A Sneak Peek

Your 2018 Pediatric Board Review PREVIEW (and Discounted PREORDER Code) Is Here!

2018 Pediatric Board Review Sneak Peek

Pediatric Board Review Ultimate Study GuideUnlike other pediatric board review courses, the PBR's Core Study Guide gets corrected and updated EVERY year. Many of the corrections and clarifications of the are made available to the PBR community (below) prior to the initial certification exam. This allows members to have a more secure pediatric board review experience.

For non-members who are trying to figure out how they will approach the board exam for next year, or for anyone preparing for the MOC, this is a great opportunity to essentially have a sneak peak into the 2018 edition.

In this article, you will:

  • Get a preview of the most EFFICIENT 2018 pediatric board review course available
  • Get a great review of several excellent and high-yield topics
  • Get a FREE MP3 Audio Chapter from PBR
  • Get 50 FREE High-Yield Images from PBR
  • Get a FREE Test-Taking Strategies Video Training Session
  • Get the opportunity to PREORDER the 2018 edition books for 50% off of the value of the Ultimate Bundle Pack or 85% OFF of the LIFETIME package called “PBR FOR LIFE!” Please note that the PBR FOR LIFE package is NOT typically available through the PBR catalog, so this is a SPECIAL opportunity!

A FEW WORDS OF THANKS TO THE PBR COMMUNITY

Every year I like to go through all PBR error submission and send corrections to PBR members before the initial certification exam. It’s an EXTREMELY time consuming task (takes several full days), but I believe it’s worth it.

If you have been following THE PBR EFFICIENCY BLUEPRINTthe information in this guide WILL NOT make or break your test-experience. Having said that, several test-takers have previously said that they enjoyed reading the clarifications, and that the review of the guide even helped them correctly answer several questions that came up on the exam.

Click Here And Continue Reading…

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