July Tip of the Month

Zena Homan, ABC Workshop Facilitator and Case List Reviewer

Dr. Homan graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Dakota with a perfect 4.0 GPA, earning a BS in Food and Nutrition. She worked as a Registered Dietician for ten years. Feeling she could make more of a difference as a physician, she matriculated to medical school at the University of North Dakota, after which she completed her OB/GYN residency at the University of Illinois. Dr. Homan is board certified in OB/GYN and is a busy private practitioner in West Fargo, ND.  

For ABOG  2015 ORAL Exam Candidates

The case list and your examination fee of $975 are both due 8/1/15. Check your home page as ABOG typically assigns your exam month in July. I know that you haven’t even turned in your case list yet. But remember, he who giveth can taketh away, so just because they assign you your exam month, doesn’t obligate them to approve your case list.

Your ONLY priority is to finish your case list. Raise your right hand and repeat after me, “I promise I will not study at all, until I FINISH my case list”.  Ideally, try to revise the list at least twice, as the first draft is never satisfactory. Dr. Das’ book, Pass Your Oral OB/GYN Board Exam is a great step-by-step guide.

The construction of your case list is like the practice of medicine; there is more than one way to do the same thing. Stand back and examine your list as if you were the examiner and not as the candidate. What kind of questions would you ask?

Do you want that line of questioning? If not, then strategically revise the wording until it begs the questions you want. We realize you haven’t seen many case lists. In fact, often times yours is the only one. Make sure you let others review it before you turn it in. We are happy to offer a Comprehensive Case List Review. ABC is the only company in the nation where you receive a call from your reviewer to point out the highlights and give you an opportunity to ask questions.

Remember your above scout’s pledge to not study? Well, you will need to explode out of the gate once you get that 800# gorilla list off your back. So, begin teeing up your review course options now.

If your exam is in November, you definitely need our review course in September. We’re the first out of the gate and our course is September 16-20, 2015. However, if your exam is not until December or January, come to our November 18-22, 2015 course.

Ideally, complement the content covered at the review course with a workshop devoted to the strategy in taking an oral exam. We offer an Oral Exam Workshop, as well as a Structured Cases Workshop. Our faculty will help you polish your articulation with mock oral exams, as well as our signature Structured Cases CDs.

Case List Construction Tip
The 80:20 rule applies to your case list, too. The examiner has only 30 minutes to examine you on your case list. He typically can get through only 10-15 cases. Thus, for 80% of your case list, you want it to be crystal clear as to why you did what you did. The remaining 20% are strategically worded to beg the line of questioning that you desire.
The most common mistake on constructing your OFFICE case list is column confusion. The Results column is intended to be for the results of your treatment, NOT for the results of your diagnostic procedures. Put the results of your procedures in parenthesis in the Diagnostic Procedures column.
 Problem   Diagnostic Procedures  Results Treatment   Results
Painful vulvar lesions   H&P (ulcerations on vulva) STD counseling Resolution of symptoms
Culture (Herpes) Acylovir   

Subspecialty Fellows Planning for their 2016 ABOG General Oral Board Exam

Your cases for your specialty must come from your fellowship. Your office case list also can only be collected from your fellowship. You can use your chief resident cases for your off-specialty list, either the GYN or the OB.

Refer also to the above tips since you are taking your general oral board exam.
Dr. Das’ book, Pass Your Oral OB/GYN Board Exam is a great step-by-step guide. Additionally, there is an appendix just for fellows.

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 16-20 and then  another course from November 18-22.

Case List Construction Tip:
Don’t feel like you need to have exactly 20 patients on your off specialty list. You are required to have a minimum of 20. However, it is much to your advantage to have more. The more topics in your off specialty, the better prepared you will be. Plus, this gives you, rather than the examiner, more control. If you have sparse topics, the examiner has free rein to go in any old direction he pleases. Just say WHOA! Rein him in and unhand him by having a nice depth and breadth of topics.

For AOBOG 2015 ORAL Exam Candidates

The examination fee of $2500 for the October 9th  and 10th exam is due by July 7th or with a late fee by July 14th. Applications for the fall exam are CLOSED as they have already reached their cap of 45 applicants. Applications for the April, 2016 exam are available this month.

After many years, AOBOG has decided to change not only the traditional ten core topics, 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 16-20 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.

You’ll also 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 core topics will be a representative case.

For those of you planning for the Spring, 2016 exam, I hope it’s obvious that it is not to your advantage to procrastinate. 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, 2016, 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!

Test Taking Tips
Refer to aobog.org for the topics and conduct for the new oral exam beginning the fall 2015. 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.


For ABOG  2016 ORAL Exam Candidates

The written exam was June 29. Whew, glad that’s over. The hard part is now waiting for the results. The ABOG Bulletin states you will receive your results no later than August 1. Traditionally, it does take that long, so why cry over spilled milk? Try to enjoy the summer and catch up with friends and family that you have neglected the last couple of months.

If you elect the fast track for the 2015 oral exam, you will begin collecting your cases JULY 1 – nope, that’s not a typo. No rest for the weary. Yet you cannot apply for the exam until February 2016. However, if you wait this long to start collecting your cases, you’re already SEVEN months behind – BIG MISTAKE! Call or e-mail ABOG now to at least get the case list software from 2015. Historically, the forms remain the same. Even if they do change them, it will be a piece of cake to transfer the data.

Don’t fret about details of how to enter the data. You’ll change your mind at least a half dozen times before it’s all said and done. For all GYN patients, start a habit of collecting H&Ps, operative notes, pathology reports, and discharge summaries. For all OB patients, keep a file of the prenatal forms, delivery notes, discharge summaries, and postpartum notes. Don’t worry about the office patients yet. Take a stab at entering the data on the case list forms . . . just use your common sense.

Test Taking Technique:
Looking for a good book to read while you’re enjoying those lazy, hazy days of summer? Why not start your Oral Exam prep out on the right foot? As with any monumental task, begin with the end in mind. Dr. Das’ book, Pass Your Oral OB/GYN Board Exam will guide you through every step.

For ABOG  2016 WRITTEN Exam Candidates

The exam is a year away. Start saving your pennies. Brace yourself – the privilege to sit for this exam will cost about $1500. The application and exam fee will be due mid November

If this is your first time to take the exam and you have historically performed at least average on your CREOG in-service-training exam, then enjoy the summer. For most of you, it’s a hectic time anyway, with everyone moving up in rank.

If this is at least your second attempt, spend July minding your mind. Why did you fail? If you passed your USMLE on your first attempt and did OK on CREOG in-service training exams, then you probably need better focus of exam topics. We can easily help you with that with our Test Topics Manual.

However, if you have now failed the exam twice or more, maybe it’s time to get an expert opinion? Our education experts, Martin & Jane Jolley, have shown that for most, it’s a processing problem. Some even have a learning disability that they have well compensated for until now. To just study more is NOT the solution. Give us a call and we can arrange for an evaluation.

Test Taking Technique:
The exam is a year away. What’s the hurry? Time to kick back and soak in the summer rays, right? Right. 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. Do the math; you’ll end up with, violas, 365 questions!

For AOBOG  2016 WRITTEN Exam Candidates

The exam is almost a year away or April, 2016. 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 that 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 16-20 or November 18-22 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.


ABOG Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

Part II: Lifelong Learning

You should be half way through with your 2nd quarter articles by now. Of course, you can extend or drag out all the articles all the way up until the December deadline, but WHY? 

            For those of you in your third year, you should have started the Safety Course. You cannot enter it until you have completed 60 questions from the 1st or 2nd quarter articles. The Safety Course is accessed only on-line, so if you’re one who likes to print out the articles and questions, you’re out of luck.

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 16-20 and November 18-22. 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 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? Lucky for you, we have a one day MOC Written Exam Workshop  September 15, and November 17 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.

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 2015 articles. No rest for the weary!

Test Taking Tip:
The written exam is only 100 questions and you answer two books of fifty questions. 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. The strategy is in matching the exam selective to your mode of practice. Call Dr. Das today at 877-222-6249 and she will personally guide you through this confusing but critical step.

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 as to how to choose your selectives. VIEW our snippets here.  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 
    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 April 11, 2016. 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 16-20 or November 18-22 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 Tip:
    To access the PPAs, go the aobog.org and then access each module through the O-CAT website. Each module requires you to log 10 consecutive patients in that module topic area. Your results will be measured against national standards. If you fall below the acceptable threshold, there will be a required educational activity followed by a reassessment in the same module with 10 new consecutive cases. Oh, and by the way, your logged cases are subject to audit.
    Since these modules take some time to complete, it is recommended you begin a module in the first or second year of the OCC 6 year cycle.


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