June 2016 Tip of the Month

Michelle Tucker, MD, FACOG
ABC's Case List Reviewer

Dr. Tucker completed her BS in Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. She then went to medical school at University of North Carolina, where she received an award for highest CREOG scores, as well as for outstanding student teacher. She completed her OB/GYN residency at Greenville Hospital Systems and is board certified in OB/GYN. She is a Clinical Associate Professor for the Columbia School of Medicine. She’s the author of our Frequently Asked Medications guide that’s a must whether you’re taking a written or oral exam.

For ABOG 2016 Qualifying Computer Based Exam (WRITTEN Exam) Candidates

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

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 or 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 Question Manuals, unlike many sources, is indeed categorized by subject so you can immediately test your acumen on a specific topic.  They are comprised of 1000+ questions, plus a narrative explanation for each answer along with references. Since most other sources aren’t so tidily organized, 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.

Just as an actor wouldn’t give a performance without a dress rehearsal or an athlete warming up before the race, you also need a dress rehearsal. Our Practice Test, just like your exam, is 250 multiple choice questions, timed at 4 hours with a 15 minute break. You get one shot at it.

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!

You can do it, we can help.

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 27. 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.
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.


Now for some sample questions from our Written Questions Manual. The answers will be in next month’s 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 Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Candidates

Part I: 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 I: Secure Written Exam

Those of you in MOC Year 6, you must pass a written exam by December 15th. 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 14-18 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, available for years 2011 to 2015, summarize each of the articles AND have written questions. 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 has 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?

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.

Still looking for more questions? Our Written Question Manuals provide an additional 1000+ questions, plus a narrative explanation for each answer along with references. 

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

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

Oh, just in case you think you’re coasting after you pass your written exam, think again. You still have to read the 2016 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)
  1. Obstetrics and Gynecology and Office Practice & Women’s Health
  2. Obstetrics only
  3. Gynecology only (tends to have more Surgical GYN focus)
  4. Office Practice and Women’s Health only (primary care, office GYN & family planning focus)
Subspecialists: Selective Exam A (50 questions)
  1. Gynecologic Oncology
  2. Maternal Fetal Medicine
  3. Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
  4. Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery (starting 2019)
We’re getting lots of questions on how to choose your selectives. View our YouTube snippets to understand your best strategy.


For ABOG 2016 Certifying Exam (ORAL Exam) Candidates

Your examination fee of $975 and case list are both due (abog.org) by August 1st, 2016. 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 30th. Won’t it be nice to have that monkey off your back? However, you still have to contend with the 800-pound gorilla in the closet. 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



MFM, generalist


GYN ONC, Urogyn, generalist


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 5th 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 14-18 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!”

You can do it, we can help.

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 own case list, but we’ve seen bunches. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Let us help by streamlining the process and helping you to kick out a sure-pass case list with a Comprehensive Case List Review.

With you every step…


For AOBOG 2016 ORAL Exam Candidates

The application & examination fee of $3275 for the fall exam is due by July 7th (or by July 14th if you want to pay a late fee). The early bird did get the worm, as AOBOG’s cap of only 45 candidates for the September 30th and October 1st exam has been met. It’s a first-come, first-served basis so don’t dilly-dally if you want the spring of 2017. Speaking of which, applications for the spring, 2017 exam are available June 15th

After many years, AOBOG changed the traditional ten core topics in 2015, but also the exam administration. Some of the core topics now are very broad so it’s critical to conduct a thorough review.  Timed perfectly before your big day is our September 14-18 Review Course for a comprehensive review in just five days. While you’re there, get some face time with one-on-one Mock Oral Exams.

For those of you planning for the Spring, 2017 exam, I hope it’s obvious that it is not to your advantage to procrastinate. Come out running by starting your review with either our September 14-18 or November 16-20 Review Course. Rest assured that we will be having our signature Oral Exam Webinar, which was designed by a DO for DOs.  This three month webinar, starting in February, 2017, reviews each of the core topics in great detail. 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!

You can do it, we can help.

Test Taking Tips:
Refer to aobog.org for the topics and conduct for the oral exam. The exam is still four hours, but the candidate will rotate hourly through four stations. Three stations will use scenarios developed from the topic list. The fourth station will include “visual slides, ultrasounds, video clips or monitor strips to introduce the essay type scoring.” You must obtain a minimum of 75 out of 100 possible points to pass a scenario and pass 9 of the 12 scenarios to pass the exam.
With you every step…


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.

You can do it, we can help.

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 years 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 2016 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 provides 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 14-18 and then again from November 16-20.

You can do it, we can help.

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.


For AOBOG  2017 WRITTEN Exam Candidates

The exam is almost a year away or April 30th, 2017What’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 14-18 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 in November 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 bluntly, you must approach your CREOG in-service-training exam like it’s your board exam. What’s that old adage? “Trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me.”
You can do it….we can help


AOBOG Osteopathic Continuous Certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology (OCC)

Unlike the past recertification exam, the OCC written exam is offered only once annually at the spring ACOOG clinical meeting; the next being offered during ACOOG Annual Conference in March, 28, 2017 in Palm Springs, CA. 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 14-18 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:
Thought you were never going to see those oral exam core topics again? WRONG! They are a likely and fair game for your OCC exam. Take the easy way out by joining in on our Oral & OCC Exam Webinar. This three month webinar, starting in January, 2017, reviews each of the core topics in great detail. 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.
You can do it….we can help


CREOG In-service training exam participants

Well, the exam is not for another eight months. If you scored > 200, regardless of your PGY year, then you’re in pretty good shape. It’s going to get hectic with the end of the residency year coming up and everyone preparing to move up in rank.

If you scored < 200, that means you’re below the mean. Although CREOG will not reveal statistics, we have found that your performance level, regardless of your year, will continue. In other words, you PGY3s cannot use the excuse of being post call or on the Oncology service as the reason for poor performance. You need to be proactive to improve your score during your chief year. If you have scored < 200, or worse yet < 190, all three years, you need to take corrective measures to improve your test taking skills. To simply study more is probably not the solution. We can connect you with our Education Specialists, Martin and Jane Jolley, for a one-on-one evaluation. Just give us a call.

ABOG no longer reports the score for the written board exam. Unfortunately, now the only predictor of your performance is your CREOG score. Therefore, you must take it very seriously. Our November 16-20 Course is the perfect time to prepare your assault, and nail the exam in January.

You can do it, we can help.

Test Taking Tips:
Don’t discard your CREOG in-service training exam performance report! You now know your strong and weak topics. Come up with a plan to fill in those weak topics. Don’t let these upcoming months of opportunity slip away.
With you every step…
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