I often get asked questions along the lines of…
“Can you give me a general pediatric board study schedule?”
“I'm in practice and very busy. Can you provide me with a pediatric board study plan that's going to work for me?”
“Can you provide a pediatric board study schedule for those of us with an erratic schedule because we're in fellowship?”
The answer to all of these questions is "yes." But, when you’re preparing for your pediatric board exam, the most essential first step is to map out a dedicated amount of time for your studying based on your personal availability and the recommendations in this article. If you are a first-time test taker, and you:
Then this is the schedule for you! I would recommend that you find a MINIMUM of 300 hours to block out in your schedule, with plans to go through your Pediatrics Board Review material at least THREE times.
Please remember, though, a schedule is only as valuable as your DETERMINATION to follow it. In this article, I break down those 300 hours into a manageable, concrete schedule that you can use to guide your studies and PASS the pediatric boards.
Since it’s impossible for me to know exactly what your commitments are, what I’ve tried to do below is map out 14 weeks of study time based on the goal of studying approximately 300 hours.
Even if you do not agree with everything I recommend, keep reading to get some ideas. I also share some pearls of wisdom towards the end to help you manage your study time!
If you feel you don’t meet the above criteria, don’t worry! I've created a 16-week study schedule to help you succeed on the boards! The recommendations in the other article are tailored towards graduates who were told that they were "at risk" of failing the boards based on their in-training exam scores, and those who have already failed the boards at least once.
Test-taking strategy is often overlooked when you are preparing for your board exams, yet it can be the difference between passing or failing. Since there is no question that physicians are extremely bright, why is it that even great physicians often fail their board exams?
Answer: A good clinician is not the same thing as a good test-taker.
When I failed the boards the first time, I was confused. I felt like I had a good handle on the material, but I quickly realized that how you treat a board style question is very different than how you should treat a patient. But it was too late. I had the “standard” top to bottom approach to answering board-style questions, and I ultimately failed the board exam.
I simply did not know how to approach the questions on the test effectively.
And this isn’t uncommon.
However, during my 2nd attempt at the pediatric board exam, I had a strong focus on pacing and a strategic approach to questions. That led to me not only passing my boards, but I increased my score by 160 points! I scored above the national average, and after failing the previous year, the American Board of Pediatrics asked me to write questions for them.
The skill set needed to be a master clinician is completely different than the skill set needed to be a master test-taker and win this “board-game”. Developing this strategy requires training and education like any other skill that you have had to practice. But with practice, you can have dramatic increases in your score like this member of our test-taking strategy course.
While having a strong knowledge base is important to pass the boards, it will mean nothing if you are unable to apply what you know to the test.
If you consider yourself to be a test-taker with average (or below average) scores on standardized tests, then learning test-taking strategies can QUICKLY give you an advantage to increase your score, and pass the boards.
Plus, unlike studying for a single chapter that may be applicable to 5% of your exam, test-taking skills can be leveraged throughout 100% of this exam (and every future board exam that you ever take).
Study a ton, remember none. Sound familiar?
If you've previously done well on standardized exams, just follow the PBR “Roadmap to Success” and you will do great.
BUT, if you:
… then improving your test-taking technique is just as, if not MORE, important for you to study than the actual material.
Below you’ll find some of my top strategies I teach our PBR students to sharpen their test-taking skills before the board exam.
A failed pediatric boards attempt is devastating and having failed once myself I can only imagine what is going through your head.
But before you throw yourself back into the depths of studying, here are two things I want you to understand:
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:
Go check out my 14-week study schedule for first-time test takers. That schedule is similar to the one below but less rigorous!
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.
First, start with your lightest color. Then, with each read through thereafter, use a slightly Click Here And Continue Reading...
Unlike 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 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:
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 BLUEPRINT, the 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.
Are you aware of the various American Board of Pediatrics accommodations that are available? These test accommodations are designed for pediatricians who have specific needs, and they can result in you getting twice the amount of time to take the test.
Do you have specific needs when it comes to taking tests? Do you suffer from a condition covered by the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act and subsequent ADAAA guidelines? Perhaps a condition which is going to leave you struggling for time on the boards?
If so, you might qualify for some amazing special accommodations, such as:
This article will give you the steps you need to pursue to get the special accommodations. We’ll cover important details about why the ABP offers test accommodations, which accommodations are available to you, how to apply, and most importantly – when you must apply to receive test accommodations for your board exam.
Like many standardized board exams, the American Board of Pediatrics exam must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) for people who have documented disabilities or a need for test accommodations.
Many people suffer from some sort of medical or neuropsychological condition which creates a hindrance to test taking. Test accommodations are intended to give everyone an equal chance at passing the board exams.
If you believe that you may qualify for a test accommodation, Click Here And Continue Reading…
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!
Well, let’s answer all the following questions:
I answer this question in detail in a Pediatrics Board Review article titled, “How Many AAP PREP Questions Should I Do?”
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…
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…