June 2014 ABC Advisor

Rachel Masch, MD, MPH,  FACOG

Dr. Masch obtained her BA in International Relations and her MD degree from Brown University. She then completed her OB/GYN residency at Reading Hospital in Reading, PA and subsequently obtained her Master of Public Health at Columbia University.  Her public health interests have taken her around the world, doing work in both family planning and cervical cancer prevention. She is currently the Associate Director of the Division of Family Planning at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, NY. She has numerous publications in both clinical and basic science research and has been awarded a number of grants and multiple teaching awards. She lectures with passion and compassion and clearly wants you to pass your exam.

ABOG 2014 WRITTEN Exam Candidates

 June is here!!! Where did the time go? Fortunately the exam is not until the end of the month - on the 30th.

Now’s the time to quickly unload some ballast. We recommend you limit your studying to a review and solidify your strengths. Don’t study those topics whose questions you totally nailed, nor those about which you have no clue. Instead, review those subjects whose answers you narrowed down to two. Strive for 70% correct, as this will assure a pass.

You must practice with WRITTEN questions at the end of each study topic. Our Written Exam Webinar is designed to perfectly complement your content review. The webinar has already started, but continues  to the week of your exam. You complete 20 questions privately, followed by our faculty leading an interactive discussion of the answers, while incorporating our signature test taking skills strategies. You can access previous sessions in our archives to help you catch up. We will blast you with 350+ written exam questions based on those high yield subjects.

Still want even more written questions? Our Written Question Manuals provide an additional 900+ questions, plus a narrative explanation for each answer, along with references.  Finally, our Written Question Navigator beelines right to the subject-specific question and will save you oodles of precious time in that rapidly ticking clock.

Since your exam is computerized, you must practice with tests of this same format. Processing questions on a computer screen is quite different than with the comforting familiar paper format.  ABC, in collaboration with Jolley Test Prep Services, offers computerized diagnostic tests containing 600+ written exam questions. Each question has a narrative explanation and reference, so it’s a great learning resource as well. Not only will you get your score, but the computer will also analyze why you missed the questions. Better yet, it will search for error patterns and make recommendations for corrective action.

You’re coming down the homestretch. You CAN do it. Kick in and sprint to the finish line and cross as the winner … and the prize?  Now you get to start collecting your case list!

Test Taking Technique

Your exam will be held at a Pearson-Vue testing center. Call 1-888-235-7650 or go online to www.pearsonvue.com/abog to locate your testing center. We recommend you take a leisurely drive now to make sure you know where to go on June 30. They will let you see the waiting room, but that’s it.

For an inside peek, you can take an online tour of a Pearson Professional Center at www.pearsonvue.com/abog. We strongly recommend you familiarize yourself with the conduct of the exam by taking the “computer based testing tutorial”. For most, the hardest part of a computer-based test is not being able to use your pencil. However, you will receive a dry-erase board and marker. The tutorial also shows you how to mark your answers, and especially how to electronically highlight, underline, etc. In addition to navigation instructions, you can also take a demo test.

Just a head’s up for the day of the test.... you are not allowed a watch, but they have a clock on the screen. Unfortunately, you can’t minimize it. Don’t let this constant reminder of the time ticking down annoy and distract you.  There is no penalty for guessing, so answer ALL of the questions. If you have to wager a wild guess, then chose the SAME letter answer, as you statistically will get more correct.

Finally, DON’T CHANGE your FIRST answer … never.  GOOD LUCK!

Now for some sample questions from our Written Questions Manual.  The answers will be in next month’s ABC Advisor.

What risk factor confers the highest risk for an ectopic pregnancy?

  1. History of PID
  2. Previous tubal reanastomosis
  3. Previous ectopic pregnancy
  4. Smoking
  5. Previous tubal ligation

A 68 year old complains of vulvar pruritis. Colposcopy reveals 3 multifocal <1cm lesions. Biopsy reveals vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) 3. The best treatment is:

  1. Skinning vulvectomy
  2. Laser vaporization
  3. 5-FU                                                       
  4. Radical vulvectomy
  5. Wide local excision

What is the most likely pregnancy outcome for a patient who contracts Parvovirus B19 causing erythema infectiosum (Fifth Disease) in the first trimester?

  1. Congenital anomalies
  2. Spontaneous abortion
  3. No adverse outcome
  4. Childhood developmental delays
  5. Severe fetal anemia

Answers to LAST month’s written questions:

OB- Multifetal Pregnancy - Answer: D -  Monochroionic/Diammniotic

Genomics – Answer: C - Endometrial

Primary Care, GI (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) -  Answer: C - Pain relief with laxatives


ABOG Maintennance of Certification (MOC) Candidates

Part II, Lifelong Learning

            ABOG just published the 2nd quarter articles. Are you still working on the first quarter articles? Summer fun is just around the corner, so get as many articles done now to minimize guilt in participating in family frolic. 

Part III, Secure Written Exam

 Those of you in MOC Year 6, you must pass a written exam by December 15. We have a number of products to help you prepare for and pass your written exam. For those of you who have always tapped into a review course in preparing for your board certifying exams, you’ll no doubt benefit greatly by attending one of our five day review courses being held September 20-24 and November 16-20. This is not the same type of review course as in the past. Just as you evolve and practice evidence-based medicine, our course is designed for the adult learner, is exam-focused, and all lectures follow the national ACOG guidelines. Heck, you’ll walk away with loads of everyday practice tips, too.

Our Annual MOC Manuals summarize each of the articles AND have written questions since 2009. Think of them as Cliff notes, as they will save you oodles of time. You are also accountable for Safety and Professionalism. Remember, you completed the Safety course in your third year, but you could not print out the articles. Fortunately, ABC had the foresight to create a Safety Course Manual as well.

            ABOG confirmed that emphasis will be placed on both the Compendium and the articles. So don’t you think the highest yield will be those MOC articles that overlap with the Compendium? Lucky for you, we have a one day MOC Written Exam Workshop June 28, September 19, and November 15 that provides the perfect review of those overlapping MOC articles AND written questions. Although we know you’ll get the most out of it by attending, if you just can’t, the next best thing is purchasing the MOC Written Exam Workshop binder.

            Are you a bit rusty on written exams? Our Question of the Day Calendar conveniently sits right on your desk to assure you do something daily for your exam prep and also gives you another 365 questions.

Do your test taking skills need a little 10-W-30? Our Written Exam Webinar  has already started, but goes until the end of June. You complete 20 questions privately, followed by our faculty leading an interactive discussion of the answers while incorporating our signature test taking skills strategies. You can access previous sessions in our archives to help you catch up. We will blast you with 350+ written exam questions based on those high yield subjects.

Still looking for more questions? Our Written Question Manuals provide an additional 900+ questions, plus a narrative explanation for each answer along with references. 

            We must be doing something right, as so far 100% of those attending either the MOC Workshop and/or the course have passed since ABOG started this mandatory process!                           

Oh, just in case you think you’re coasting after you pass your written exam, think again. You still have to read the 2014 articles. No rest for the weary!


Test Taking Tip

The written exam is only 100 questions and you answer two books of fifty questions each. Generalists get to choose their books or “selectives” for each exam. Subspecialists must take the first book based upon their designated subspecialty. They then have to choose a second book from the generalist’s selectives.


Generalists: Selective Exam A & B (50 questions)

 Subspecialists: Selective Exam A (50 questions)

 We’re getting lots of questions on how to choose your selectives. The Board gives an itemization of the exam topics. Believe or not, it is the same list for the primary written exam and the oral exam case list categories, although fortunately the focus is much more clinical. It is well worth going to the Basic Bulletin at abog.org to look through the specific list. The focus for each of the General selectives is as follows:

  1. Obstetrics – Antepartum, Intrapartum, Postpartum.
  2. Gynecology only- Inpatient & Outpatient GYN focus, including REI, Urogyn and Oncology
  3. Office Practice and Women’s Health only - primary care, office GYN, office surgery & family planning focus

Each Selective can include “Cross Content Areas” such as

  1. Safety
  2. Anatomy & Physiology, Basic Sciences
  3. Genetics
  4. Ethics & Professionalism


Challenge yourself with the above written exam questions and show those young whipper snappers that you’re still scapel sharp.


 ABOG 2014 ORAL Exam Candidates

 Your examination fee of $975 and case list are both due by August 1, 2014. You will be assessed a late fee of $345 from August 2nd to August 15th. Unfortunately, the examination fee is in addition to the $840 application fee that you already forked over.

Case list collections end June 30. Won’t it be nice to have that monkey off your back? However, you still have the 800-pound gorilla in the closet to contend with. TOP priority is to enter your data. You cannot afford to get behind, as the first draft is never satisfactory. Send whatever you have NOW to your following local/regional consultants or colleagues for recommendations in CONSTRUCTING your case list:

            Case list component                                        Reviewer

                        OB                                                      MFM, generalist

                        GYN                                                   GYN ONC, Urogyn, generalist

                        Office                                                  Generalist, REI

            The ABC faculty can provide a Comprehensive Case List Review as well, but it is a first-come first-served basis and we get overrun beginning about mid June.

S-o-o-o much is riding on your case list. A well constructed case list makes all the difference in defending it later. Take the time to do it right. For a complete step-by-step guide, order the 4th edition of  Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das.

I know you can’t see past August 1st, but you need to register for your review course. We suggest our September 20-24 course. If you discover later that you have a December or January exam, we’ll let you switch over to our November 16-20 course. We’re not just a review course, but a BOARD review course, providing an exam focused review. Ideally, complement the content covered at the review course with an Oral Exam Workshop devoted to defending your case list. However, don’t worry about studying at all this month. Your priority is to finish that case list. “Git R Done!”

For you go-getters or nervous nellies, we will have our signature Structured Cases Webinar starting in September. I know it’s hard to see past the case list right now, but the other half of your exam is structured cases. The webinar format will eerily simulate this portion of the exam. Experience this first, so that during the exam it will just be a douj ja vu experience.

Case list Construction Tip 

Check your list, and check it twice. Don’t trust the computer on calculating the final numbers on your summary sheet. Hand tally to make sure it’s correct. Remember for Obstetrics & Gynecology you need a minimum of 20 applied cases and exactly 40 total cases in Office Practice. For all three sections, you cannot apply more than two per category.  Chances are you’ve seen only your case list, but we’ve seen bunches. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Let us help by streamlining the process and to kick out a sure-pass case list with a Comprehensive Case List Review.

Chief Residents Planning A Subspecialty Fellowship

Subspecialty fellows are permitted to select 20 patients from their Chief resident year for their off specialty case list. In other words, GYN Oncologists, REI and Urogynecologists will need an OB list and MFMs need a GYN list. Thus, make sure to hold onto that residency log!

 Refer to the ABOG Bulletin on how those 20 patients are selected. To be on the safe side, we recommend you collect at least 30, so you can strategically select the final 20 later. For those patients, keep a file of the following: for the GYN patients, collect the H&Ps, operative notes, pathology reports, and discharge summaries; for the OB patients, keep a file of the prenatal form, delivery notes, discharge summaries, and postpartum notes. Don’t worry about the office patients at all, as you may compile this only during your fellowship.

A word of caution – right now you are at your peak for general OB/GYN knowledge. Believe it or not, two years from now, your knowledge base will regress to that of an intern. Yes it’s true - if you don’t use it, you lose it. So those really cool, esoteric, bizarre, once-in-a career cases now will be a nightmare to defend later. Your greatest allies are your junior residents. If you can’t easily defend a case, cease and subsist and “go fish” for another.


Test Taking Tip

DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR CASE LOG! As you gleefully skip out the door at the end of the month, take that case log with you. Otherwise you get to make a special trip back in two year to visit all your good friends in medical records. Don’t expect them to wave their wand and magically make your chief resident log appear out of thin air. You don’t have to frame the darn thing, just stuff it away for safekeeping for later use.


Subspecialty Fellows Planning for their 2014 ABOG General Oral Board Exam

If you are retrospectively collecting cases, go with your comfort zone. Dang, how could you have forgotten so much in such a short time? Unfortunately it’s true - if you don’t use it, you lose it. Go with the bread-and-butter cases. Remember, this is your general boards. We recommend you chose those cases that reflect high-yield topics.  Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das will be an excellent step-by-step guide.

Speaking of which, a well constructed case list makes all the difference in defending it later. S-o-o-o much is riding on your case list. Take the time to do it right. The ABC faculty can provide a Comprehensive Case List Review as well. Send whatever you have NOW, as it is a first-come first-served basis and we get overrun starting about mid June.

I know you can’t see past August 1st, but you need to register for your review course. The subspecialists LOVE our course, because it’s a no-nonsense, stream-lined, exam-focused review. We have one right out of the gate from September 20-24 and then again from November 16-20.

Case List Construction Tip

 If you have not already done so, absolutely prioritize entering your off-specialty and office list. These will require more thought since they are out of your comfort zone. Don’t go nuts on your specialty
case list – remember you’re sitting for your
general boards. Also, don’t think your specialty will be obvious and somehow cut you some slack. The examiners receive only their section. So for example, if you’re a GYN ONC, your OB examiners receive only your OB case list, so your list won’t be flashing neon lights announcing that you’re an oncologist. Assume nothing and prepare for everything.


AOBOG 2014 ORAL Exam Candidates

The examination fee of $2500 for the October 17th and 18th exam is due by July 7th (or by July 14th if you want to pay a late fee).  Although there are only ten core topics, you will quickly appreciate that in order to adequately cover them, you really need to cover about 50 topics. Plus, some core topics, such as “gynecologic neoplasia” are a bit vague to say the least. Our September  16-20 Review Course is ideal for a comprehensive review - not just for those core topics, but also the highest yield topics, are covered in just five days. It is highly unlikely the “Surprise Topic” will be a surprise at all. While you’re there, get some face time with one-on-one Mock Oral Exams.

You’ll then have a chance to put it all together with our Structured Cases Webinar. This live, interactive session is timed strategically the month before your exam. It’s not a coincidence that every one of the ten core topics will be a case.

If you can’t make it to the review course, your best insurance policy is to go through the archives or sign up for our signature Oral Exam Webinar, which was designed by a DO for DOs.  This three month webinar reviews each of the ten core topics in great detail. If you’re preparing for your spring 2015 exam, this will be offered live in early 2015. The interactive format of the webinar gives you an opportunity to jump on the hot seat or just sit back and listen until you’re ready. We’re delighted to report that 99% who have participated in her webinar since 2011 have passed their exam!

Test Taking Tips

You need to complete your extensive review of EACH core topic by the end of September. Given there are four months remaining, cover three core topics in June and July, then two core topics in August and September. Do NOT procrastinate.


 AOBOG  2015 WRITTEN Exam Candidates

The exam is May 2nd, almost a year away. What’s the hurry? Time to kick back and soak in the summer rays, right? Right, as long as you’ve consistently scored > 200 on your CREOG in-service-training exam. However, in order to avoid slipping into the clutches of lazy days of summer, keep the saw sharp by doing at least one question a day. Our Question of the Day Calendar conveniently sits right on your desk to assure you do something daily for your exam prep and also gives you another 365 questions.

If at any time during your residency you scored < 200 on your CREOG in-service-training exam or you failed your board exam, you need to take some time off to recharge your batteries. However, you need to start strategizing on a study plan. Wouldn’t it make the most sense to cover those high yield exam topics? Our course syllabus covers 90% of exam topics. If you attend the September 20-24 or November 16-20 Review Course, you will walk away with the priceless list. Additionally schedule a free private consult to help you identify error patterns and how to fix them! There is also an opportunity to attend our education specialists, Jane and Martin Jolleys’ Test Taking Skills Workshop to learn evidence-based techniques.


Test Taking Technique

The only resource to predict your performance on your board exam is the CREOG in-service-training exam. Dig out your past scores. If your standardized scores were > 200, especially during your chief year, you have an excellent chance of passing your board exam ASSUMING that you continue to progress your learning at the same pace that you have these last several years. If you score was < 200, you must devise a plan to improve both your content and test taking skills. So to put it quite blatantly, you must approach your CREOG in-service-training exam like it’s your board exam. What’s that adage? Trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me.


AOBOG Osteopathic Continuous Certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology (OCC)

            Unlike the past recertification exam, the OCC written exam is offered April 14th at the spring ACOOG clinical meeting. Although the examination can be taken during the last two years of the OCC cycle, you must pass the written exam by the end of your six-year cycle. Come to one of our fall courses -  either September 20-24 or November 16-20 to jump start your studying.

            In addition, you need to complete five Practice Performance Assessments (PPA) in a six year OCC cycle. More importantly, you must complete 3 PPA modules before you can take your written exam. Since these modules take some time to complete, we strongly recommend you begin a module in your first year of your OCC cycle and complete one module every year.


Test Taking Technique

 AOBOG acknowledges that the content for the exam questions is based upon the Compendium. All of our review course lectures are based upon the Compendium. However, until then, order your 2014 Compendium at acog.org. The exam is written months ahead, so don’t worry about the 2015 Compendium.

You can do it….we can help


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