Please recommend study techniques for written boards

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01 Jan 2018

I have had difficulty  with  standardized  tests all of my  life. I did well in other aspects of my studies. The written boards have been a  challenge for me. I have read the basic  science series, taken  review  courses, used provision series, used mass eye and ear  board  review-  yet  have  not been successful. I have recently found ophthoquestions.com. Can you please recommend study strategies to pass the  written  boards? Responses would be greatly appreciated. 
#1 28 May 2018 at 07:14 PM
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Obviously, we are very biased to the questions on OphthoQuestions.  These questions have been repeatedly modified, augmented, and critiqued for the past 7 years.  There is a wealth of information in our question bank along with years worth of comments by other users.  These two components make it an invaluable resource.  There is a reason that >90% of residents and fellows use our website to prepare for their board exams.

When I studied for my WQE, I did not re-read the BCSC series.  I found them very dry and boring and hard to integrate information.  I don't receive financial incentives from anyone, but when I was studying for the WQE, the best review books were:

- "Review of Ophthalmology" (Neil Friedman)  This is a great outline with all of the bullet points for all the high-yield topics on board exams.

- "Last Minute Optics" (Connie West)  This is basically all you need to understand the essential Optics problems that are on the boards.  Trust me, I'm terrible at Optics and somehow did stellar just using this book.

I would strongly discourage you from having too many textbooks from which to study.  Doing so will overwhelm and lower your morale.  Just do the questions here, read "Review of Ophthalmology", and work through the problems in "Last Minute Optics."  I think that's the highest yield approach to passing your boards.
#2 28 May 2018 at 08:40 PM
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4
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29 Nov 2013

Florida
If someone agrees with the following ideas please share your comments and ideas on how to make it happen.

1- Can the WQE be offered twice a year? 
This will facilitate people to get over this pain faster fresh out from residency (if 1st attempt) or if someone fails, they can retry in 6 months and avoid waiting another year.

2- Can the examination results be available in less than 2 weeks?
The current waiting period of  EIGHT weeks is too long. TWO MONTHS of agony waiting. If you fail, then you have wasted 2 months of preparation for next attempt.

3- Can the period of 5-years to pass the boards start after one is done with fellowship?
If you do a 2-year fellowship and decide to take the WQE in the second year but you fail, then you have 3 years to complete the boards. If the test is offered once a year then you take the test in the 3rd year and if you pass wait to take the orals by the 4rth year. At this point you can not fail otherwise you loose your career...

Let me know your thoughts and ideas on how to propose this. I know ABO could come up with explanations for keeping this process like as it is. CHANGE will require effort and I am wondering how can we make the ABO know that there should be changes. Anyways. That is my opinion. Let me know yours.

#3 29 May 2018 at 12:45 PM
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Wizard of OQ
Obviously, we are very biased to the questions on OphthoQuestions.  These questions have been repeatedly modified, augmented, and critiqued for the past 7 years.  There is a wealth of information in our question bank along with years worth of comments by other users.  These two components make it an invaluable resource.  There is a reason that >90% of residents and fellows use our website to prepare for their board exams.

When I studied for my WQE, I did not re-read the BCSC series.  I found them very dry and boring and hard to integrate information.  I don't receive financial incentives from anyone, but when I was studying for the WQE, the best review books were:

- "Review of Ophthalmology" (Neil Friedman)  This is a great outline with all of the bullet points for all the high-yield topics on board exams.

- "Last Minute Optics" (Connie West)  This is basically all you need to understand the essential Optics problems that are on the boards.  Trust me, I'm terrible at Optics and somehow did stellar just using this book.

I would strongly discourage you from having too many textbooks from which to study.  Doing so will overwhelm and lower your morale.  Just do the questions here, read "Review of Ophthalmology", and work through the problems in "Last Minute Optics."  I think that's the highest yield approach to passing your boards.
Thank you for  your advice. I am  in the office/OR 4 days a week. So  my approach this  time was  to  study 8 hrs a day the 3 days that I am  not working. I was going to use 3/4 or the time on ophthoquestions and  1/4 doing book  review as  you  mentioned above on those  segments that i  identify as  weak  points from ophthoquestions. I have both  books you  mentioned so  i  will use  those per  your  recommendation- if  something  is unclear i will seek out the information  in other sources. Does that seem  like a winning strategy? Any additional recommendations would be appreciated.

Also  i have to  do the MOC submission of practice improvement to  be able to  take the  test again - any recommendations in that would be appreciated as well. 
#4 29 May 2018 at 12:47 PM
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Florida
Sorry I added the Board certification process improvements comment. I realized was better to start a new thread (and I did). Regardless of that I do think some of my points apply to you. Obviously, you work hard and study hard but despite that you have failed the WQE. Its OK to fail but wouldn't you think the process could be better for all of us keeping the same standards? What I am proposing doesn't affect the knowledge tested but just the bureaucratic aspect of board certification.
#5 29 May 2018 at 02:19 PM
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S.B.49
Thank you for  your advice. I am  in the office/OR 4 days a week. So  my approach this  time was  to  study 8 hrs a day the 3 days that I am  not working. I was going to use 3/4 or the time on ophthoquestions and  1/4 doing book  review as  you  mentioned above on those  segments that i  identify as  weak  points from ophthoquestions. I have both  books you  mentioned so  i  will use  those per  your  recommendation- if  something  is unclear i will seek out the information  in other sources. Does that seem  like a winning strategy? Any additional recommendations would be appreciated.

Also  i have to  do the MOC submission of practice improvement to  be able to  take the  test again - any recommendations in that would be appreciated as well. 
Can't you just do the "Quarterly Questions" for the MOC portion?  That's what I'm doing.  The MOC quarterly question are very clinical and easy.
#6 29 May 2018 at 11:42 PM
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Wizard of OQ
Can't you just do the "Quarterly Questions" for the MOC portion?  That's what I'm doing.  The MOC quarterly question are very clinical and easy.
No. when you  run out of time to  take the  boards - they  have a new rule now. You  need  3  letters of  recommendation, 25  cme (  i have way  more) , and  you  have to  do a  3  month  practice  improvement  project with a  data analysis. No problem i will do all that.  
How  about the  first  part  of   my  question  regarding 3/4 time  spent on ophtho  questions and  1/4  time  spent  on  books like  the ones you mentioned. I  feel  my  problem  with these  tests is that  i  am a  poor  standardized  test  taker rather than a  knowledge issue. do you  know of  any  people or  agencies  that  help  in this  regard? kind of like   evaluation and tutoring in the  testing  arena? advice is  quite appreciated.
#7 01 Jun 2018 at 12:15 PM
Wizard of OQ
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S.B.49
No. when you  run out of time to  take the  boards - they  have a new rule now. You  need  3  letters of  recommendation, 25  cme (  i have way  more) , and  you  have to  do a  3  month  practice  improvement  project with a  data analysis. No problem i will do all that.  
How  about the  first  part  of   my  question  regarding 3/4 time  spent on ophtho  questions and  1/4  time  spent  on  books like  the ones you mentioned. I  feel  my  problem  with these  tests is that  i  am a  poor  standardized  test  taker rather than a  knowledge issue. do you  know of  any  people or  agencies  that  help  in this  regard? kind of like   evaluation and tutoring in the  testing  arena? advice is  quite appreciated.
I think 2/3 time on OphthoQuestions and 1/3 of time on Friedman is a good approach.  The same topics and question-types get tested over-and-over again.  Many questions come in the form of "second order level of thinking."  For example, they will show you a photograph.  But instead of just asking you "What is the diagnosis?"...they will ask a 2nd-level-of-thinking question like "What is the preferred management of the entity depicted above?"

I don't know of any agencies that offer the type of personalized tutoring that you are seeking.  Like I mentioned before, if you get to the stage where you need help passing the oral boards, then I may offer you my services if you want.  I say "may" because it does take a lot of time!
#8 02 Jun 2018 at 06:38 PM
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Wizard of OQ
I think 2/3 time on OphthoQuestions and 1/3 of time on Friedman is a good approach.  The same topics and question-types get tested over-and-over again.  Many questions come in the form of "second order level of thinking."  For example, they will show you a photograph.  But instead of just asking you "What is the diagnosis?"...they will ask a 2nd-level-of-thinking question like "What is the preferred management of the entity depicted above?"

I don't know of any agencies that offer the type of personalized tutoring that you are seeking.  Like I mentioned before, if you get to the stage where you need help passing the oral boards, then I may offer you my services if you want.  I say "may" because it does take a lot of time!
thank  you for your  advice. i  will work with  diligence in the mentioned technique. i have now added  quizlet as a add  on to make  flash cards  off  of the ophthoquestion answers  that are pure memorization like which gene codes for juvenile glaucoma, etc. hopefully this will  pan out. putting in 18 hrs  per  week of  study  time- just  because of  work/family  constraints.  
#9 10 Jun 2018 at 01:18 PM
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Wizard of OQ
I think 2/3 time on OphthoQuestions and 1/3 of time on Friedman is a good approach.  The same topics and question-types get tested over-and-over again.  Many questions come in the form of "second order level of thinking."  For example, they will show you a photograph.  But instead of just asking you "What is the diagnosis?"...they will ask a 2nd-level-of-thinking question like "What is the preferred management of the entity depicted above?"

I don't know of any agencies that offer the type of personalized tutoring that you are seeking.  Like I mentioned before, if you get to the stage where you need help passing the oral boards, then I may offer you my services if you want.  I say "may" because it does take a lot of time!
do  you think  if  i use  primarily  ophtho questions and  quizlet  and last minute  optics  it will get  me the pass?- how important is  friedman?
#10 16 Jun 2018 at 07:15 PM
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S.B.49
do  you think  if  i use  primarily  ophtho questions and  quizlet  and last minute  optics  it will get  me the pass?- how important is  friedman?
Again no financial interest, but I do think Friedman is a nice outline of everything you need to know to pass the WQE.  That's what I used 8 years ago, and it continues to be a popular option.
#11 17 Jun 2018 at 12:33 AM
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