What Passing The Pediatric Boards Has Meant To Dr. Vincenzo
If Once You Don’t Succeed, Try 4 More Times?
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 there is a small group that fails each year, and if we fail, we find that our lives have been turned upside down.
Friends and family struggle to believe that you haven’t passed, and ask questions that only emphasize how disappointed you feel, “You failed your boards? How is that possible? Are you sure?” or “Well, don't worry, you'll pass it the next time around. You're a doctor for God’s sake!”
That’s where it all starts. The feelings of inadequacy and incompetence, from which a lack of self-confidence emerges. The overwhelming panic about how you are going to study while working and balancing family life creeps in. After all that you’ve achieved, life has just thrown you a curve ball.
You see, I failed the boards… four times. I experienced all of these emotions, but when I settled down to study for my fifth attempt, I determined that this time it would be different. I researched the different study materials on offer, and visited several websites, trying to find one that worked for me.
It wasn’t until I came across the PBR site that I truly found study guides which worked for me. If you’ve looked around the Pediatrics Board Review website, you may have even seen my name mentioned in the article called, “Dr. Vincenzo Finally Passed the Pediatric Boards!”
It may surprise you, but by using ONLY the PBR materials, I finally passed the boards on my fifth attempt in 2012. It was amazing. Passing the pediatrics boards is possible! I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I was. Actually, I think you can see for yourself by reading the testimonial I wrote HERE.
Now, almost 12 months later I sit at my desk thinking of the pediatricians who will take the boards this year. The time commitment and dedication required to pass is immense, but I can assure you, it will all be worth it in the end.
The thing that stood out for me on the PBR website was Ashish’s attitude. Here was someone, who like me, had failed the boards. Ashish understood how that felt, and not only had he put the effort in to nail the boards on the second attempt, he was sharing the benefit of his experience in the PBR course materials.
The very first article I read detailed how you should study one source, and study it well, even if it wasn't the PBR. I found that to be a very unselfish and powerful statement. In previous years, I had bought almost every review book out there, but in truth, I don’t think I finished even one of them. So, for 2012, I bought PBR and I studied it VERY well! It may sound incredible, but that really is all you need to do to pass. It wasn’t easy for me to do, but in retrospect, I am so thankful for that key piece of advice.
I had chosen PBR because it was easy to read and I knew that I would be able to go through it many times. Each day I made a point of going over what I had studied previously. Then I started on something new. This helped to firmly cement what I had already reviewed. Studying at every opportunity was a priority for me: on the bus, during lunch, even in between patients. I found the iPad format particularly useful, because it meant I was immediately able to access images that related to the topic I was reading. I used every moment of free time available to me and results speak for themselves.
One thing I didn’t do was study any American Academy of Pediatrics PREP questions. I found them too tedious, and the explanations were too long and time consuming. I think Ashish talks more about why AAP Prep questions are NOT the best study questions in one of his PBR articles.
I also didn't join the pediatric Facebook group that Ashish started at the time, but with hindsight I wish I had. Nobody has time to study, but having a community that understands what you’re going through is key and helps to motivate you to carry on. I would recommend that anyone taking the boards this year takes advantage of PBR’s online community.
Since passing the pediatric boards, I have taken several long overdue vacations. I can’t begin to explain to you how much easier it is to relax when you know you don’t have to study. This couldn’t have been achieved without the excellent PBR materials and support.
To those of you reading this article, thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you, and I hope the telling of my story helps you in some way. Also, if you would like to leave a comment below, I’ll be sure to followup.
And to Ashish, I am forever grateful to you and your incredible PBR! Continued success to you and all the pediatricians you help!
Dr. M. Vincenzo
American Board of Pediatrics Board Certified Pediatrician
Some notes from Ashish:
Thank you so much Dr. Vincenzo for sharing with me your story of what passing the pediatric boards has meant to you… and most of all for asking to share your story with others. This exam can wreak havoc on your life, but stories like this inspire and motivate.
To everyone else reading this article, if you know someone that’s taking the boards this year after failing before, please send them this article. I’m sure they’ll thank you for it. Also, it would be great if you would click the Facebook LIKE button on this page.
And if you’re not a PBR member yet, what are you waiting for?!? With board certification becoming an increasing necessity, just click HERE and make sure that you pass this time. And if you already have the PBR and need a detailed study schedule, click here, I guarantee it will help.
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THANKS for publishing Dr. Vincenzo’s inspiring words (it made me cry, thinking that finally I’ll be FAAP!) I’m a little “nervous” about taking the Boards this time. What techniques does Dr. Vincenzo or yourself recommend? Dr. Vincenzo, you didn’t do PREP questions???, just PBR material? If that’s so, it’s a big relief for me!!!!!! Please have Dr. Vincenzo reply to my comment, THANKS!!!! In success road and counting on God, Dr. Valcárcel