Need A Pediatric Board Study Plan?
A question I find myself being asked quite frequently is…
“Can you give us some sort of a pediatric board study plan?”
Having taken the boards twice, I know from experience what it takes to achieve a PASSING score. When I took the boards the passing score was a 410. I scored a 370 on my first attempt and a 540 on the second. Point being, I worked VERY hard to pass the second time and I've put all of my study techniques and insights into PBR. There's nothing like it on the market. The data that I've gathered thus far shows that the pass rate with PBR is > 90% for first-time test takers of the initial certification exam, and the PBR has a 100% pass rate for the ABP Maintenance of Certification (MOC or recertification) exam for several years in a row.
STUDY PLAN BY 4 GENERAL CATEGORIES
In order to mirror that type of success, though, you MUST know how much time you need to allocate to your study process. Then, you MUST find a way to schedule that many hours into your overall pediatric board study plan. It's fair to say that during the months leading up to your exam, you’ll need to set aside a LOT of time in order to pass the exam, and much of this will depend on how long ago you graduated from residency, how many times you’ve taken the boards, and your work situation.
Are you taking the boards for the first-time?
Statistics show that first-timers have the highest percentage chance of passing the pediatric boards. If you're just coming out of residency, you have the BEST shot of passing the boards. Try not to work a full-time schedule until after you’ve taken the boards. Initially, if you can find a part-time position to make some money, that would be ideal.
If you’ve decided to pursue a fellowship, consider requesting an easier rotation schedule for the first summer. In either case, your pediatric board study plan should allot for 200-300+ hours of studying. This includes going through your cores study material, plus doing lots of practice questions. More details to follow…
Are you already in private practice?
I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to TAKE TIME OFF! When I passed, I scheduled a significant amount of time off and I recommend taking 4-6 weeks off over the last two months. If you're taking the exam for the first time, your study plan should allot for 200-300+ hours of studying. This includes going through your cores study material, plus doing lots of practice questions. More details to follow…
Have you ever failed the pediatric boards?
Since this happened to me the first time I took the boards, I know how disappointing it is to fail. It’s definitely not a feeling I would want to repeat. My recommendation would be to TAKE TIME OFF!… TAKE TIME OFF!… PLEASE TAKE TIME OFF!
In the PBR article titled, “Could Your State REQUIRE Pediatric Board Certification To Practice?” I discuss how detrimental it could be to your career if you never achieve board certification. So, start NOW by taking 1-2 days off per week, then take at least 4 out of the last 6 weeks off. You should aim to study for a MINIMUM of 300 hours. This includes a study plan in which you go through your core study material, plus do lots of practice questions. I probably studied for over 400 hours when I did so well on the boards.
Most of the PBR coaching students have failed some type of board exam at least once in their lives. So, I would recommend the general plan mentioned above, but I would also add an additional 50 hours of pure question-answering practice. Use the techniques taught in the coaching course. Your best bet is to get through the core PBR material about 5x. You MUST know the Pediatrics Board Review content inside and out, and then spend the last month focusing on question-answering technique as well as a general review of the PBR. Again, PLEASE TAKE TIME OFF!
When trying to map out your pediatric board study schedule, most of you will try and divide your time between a variety of resources. DON'T. You're far more likely to succeed if you FOCUS your studying on ONE TRUSTED RESOURCE. Honestly, this is probably the biggest mistake I made when I failed the boards, and it’s the most common mistake I see others make when they fail the boards over and over again. More information doesn’t mean a higher pass rate. It just means more overwhelm.
If you’re an average pediatrician, with an average brain and you don’t have a ton of spare time to study, please put ALL of the other study aids on the shelf. Use one (I’d recommend the PBR study guides) and know it inside and out. I guarantee that it has more information than you could possibly need to pass the pediatric boards.
Once you have memorized EVERY insane little detail of the PBR core study guide and Q&A book, feel free to go through as many other resources as you want. Until then, FOCUS!
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