I have found that the biggest differentiating factor between failing and passing the boards is having a schedule that takes a more strategic approach to studying and keeps you accountable.
Almost 50% of the pediatricians who buy our study guides have failed the pediatric boards before. With the right plan in place, though, you can pass. We know this because we have helped multiple people pass after as many as SEVEN failed attempts.
My goal in writing this article is to outline a detailed schedule that will help you pass the boards, even if you’ve had a failed attempt. Specifically, how to do so with materials that will HELP you (not fail you) during your next pediatric board exam.
Some housekeeping items before jumping into the schedule:
Your failure(s) on the boards may have been due to a lack of knowledge or because you have a poor handle on test-taking. For most people reading this article, failure is the result of a combination of both of those factors. Following this 16-week schedule will give you the pediatric knowledge that you need to pass the boards. For help with test-taking strategy, poor attention to detail, falling for traps, pacing, and you must also start to explore solutions through the PBR article on test-taking strategy.
Throughout this study schedule, you’ll find references to the AAP PREP® questions you should be practicing with. Please keep in mind that PREP® questions should NOT be used to study. PREP® questions, along with other question bank queries, should be used to help you master your test-taking strategy. You can learn much more about why we recommend this and how to best use the AAP questions here.
If you are a first-time test taker, and you:
Consider yourself a decent test-taker,
Have done well on past board exams, or,
Come from a residency program with a high passing rate,
As you go through this schedule, try this great highlighter trick that I teach my PBR members as a focused studying tool. If you can master this, you will have a more efficient board preparation experience.
For each reading of the material, you highlight (or underline) only the areas you are interested in reviewing again. If you know something well enough to recall it on the day of the exam, don’t highlight it.
Passing the the pediatric boards is challenging, but it's far from magic. In this article I'm going to introduce you to the 3 main areas you must focus on to pass the boards. If you don't, then even as a good pediatrician you will be at high risk for failing the boards.
By the end, you will have a much better handle on the general framework within which you will need to focus your energy. I predict that it's going to be quite liberating for you!
Let's start with a few stories…
Each year after the pediatric board results are released, I ask PBR members for feedback. “How was it for you?” The replies vary considerably, but there are specific overwhelming emotions which come through time and time again;
“a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel lighter and free.”
– “Dr. Wiseman”
“My family and I celebrated all day long. We cried tears of happiness knowing the endless hours of studying are over AND payed off!”
When it comes to passing the pediatric board exam, all logic and reason can get thrown out the window during “crunch time.”
In this article, I want to share some resources and tips to help you calm the nerves, help you focus on maximizing your chances at passing the pediatric boards and most of all… ensure that at the end of the test-taking process you have absolutely NO REGRETS!
In summary, the idea behind using ANY sort of board questions should be for PRACTICE. It is NOT to learn board-relevant content. For that, you should be focusing on a single, primary study resource (called the PBR).
This means that you don’t aim to learn new content from those questions. Your aim should be to practice your test-taking SKILLS. When I refer to “test taking skills,” I mean…
Are you falling for traps?
Are you reading the English within the actual question carefully?
Are you extracting the appropriate information from the clinical vignette?
Are you keeping a steady pace, and able to LET GO of a question when it is one that is…
Taking you forever to think through?
About a topic that you KNOW you are weak in?
Is SUPER long?
Passing the board exam requires a blend of strong board-relevant clinical knowledge, plus test-taking skills. Many physicians do not realize this and they continue to fail over and over again. They assume that board questions are like miniature patients, but they are not!Click Here And Continue Reading…
I can’t believe the pediatric board exam results for 2014 are already here, and so early this year! Based on the emails I'm getting, it was a GREAT year to take the exam. Since I failed the first time I took the boards, I’m especially happy to hear that PBR made the difference for SO many repeat exam takers who previously failed the pediatric boards. It wasn’t all good news, though, and my heart really goes out to those who didn’t make the mark.
Passing the pediatric boards didn’t come easy to me. I’ve taken the pediatric boards 5 times. Most of us see the boards as just another step on the route to becoming a pediatrician. However, when you sit back and think about it, it’s amazing to realize how long that journey really is. You graduate medical school, finish your pediatric residency, and if you’re lucky you might even find the time to get married. Then you go into private practice or fellowship, and you take the boards. It’s such an established route that many of us consider the boards to be a simple inconvenience. We take it for granted that we will pass. Most of us do, but Click Here And Continue Reading…
Being the author of the PBR and interacting with so many pediatricians is really a blessing, but it also comes some heartache. I tend to have much more interaction with pediatricians that have failed the initial certification exam prior to finding PBR. Responding to all of those emails can be tiring, and often it’s just downright depressing. People share their struggles with me openly, and it’s impossible not to get emotional and involved. I continue to do it for PBR members, though, because based on the results people have had, I know I can help.
BUT, along with the feelings of sadness associated with being PBR’s author, there are also those amazing and often surprising moments that make it all worth it. For example, after failing the peds initial board certification exam FOUR TIMES, Dr. Vincenzo decided to use PBR to study for the 2012 boards. On 12/11/2012 he heard some wonderful news, and when he shared it with me… It literally gave me goose bumps because it represents everything I want for pediatricians seeking board certification. “Efficiency In Studying So You Can Live Your Life.”