September Tip of the Month

Matt McDonald, MD, FACOG
ABC course lecturer and faculty for ABC's Structured Cases Webinar series

McDonald graduated cum laude with a BS, then his MD from Wake Forest University. He completed his OB/GYN residency at the Carolinas Medical Center and his GYN Oncology fellowship at the University of Kentucky. His tenure in general OB/GYN before pursuing his subspecialty allows him the unique ability to present oncology from a generalist’s perspective.  

For ABOG 2015 ORAL Exam Candidates

     The November exam is in nine weeksYIKES! If you have not already done so, send your case list NOW to your local/regional consultants or colleagues for recommendations in DEFENDING your case list:

Case list component  



MFM, generalist


GYN ONC, Urogyn, Generalist


Generalist, REI, FP, IM                                                                 

     Make sure you give them a strict deadline - say two weeks; and set a date now to discuss their recommendations. Also consider utilizing the Comprehensive Case List Review offered by the ABC faculty. We’ll help you defend those nightmare cases or just as important, point out the usual exam focus for all of your cases.

     The other half of the exam is the Structured Cases. Our Structured Cases Webinar starts mid September. Each weekly one hour session will cover four case-of-the-days. Sign up for one, two, or all three months, and walk away with 72 cases. Unique to the webinar format is the opportunity to jump right in and practice, or if you choose, sit back and observe. All sessions are archived for later review.

     If your exam is in December or January, ABCs November 18-22 BOARD Review Course is the perfect time for you. Our faculty is exceptionally knowledgeable about the oral exam and provides services, such as Mock Oral Exams, Case List Reviews and Structured Cases. Ideally, complement the content covered at the review course with our Oral Exam Workshop, which is devoted to the strategy in taking an oral exam. The earlier you take these services, the better off you’ll be, as your studying will take far more time than you budgeted, so it is better to identify as early as possible the topics you need to prioritize.

     Regardless of the month of your exam, you MUST know your case list COLD! For every patient, make a copy of the case from your case list, draft a clinical summary, identify the patient management issues, compile the compendium references on the issues, and your clinically oriented review. Viola! Now you know her stone cold. If that was a fly by, duh, which way did he go? moment, then refer to Dr. Das’ book, Pass Your Oral OB/GYN Board Exam for details for this clever and efficient way to base your studying from your case list.

Study Tip
            Another sure fire way to learn your cases, as well as have some fun coloring, is to get out your four favorite colored highlighters. Use the same color for ALL the cases with the following commonalities: labs, imaging, medications, and surgeries. For example, everything highlighted in blue are medications. Each area has characteristic features. In this example, for each medication identify the generic/brand name, mechanism of action, indications, etc. Enter the data on a flashcard or in your phone and quiz yourself in between cases or awaiting a delivery.


Subspecialty Fellows Planning for their 2015 ABOG General Oral Board Exam

     Now that your case list has been turned in, you recognize how much you forgot in your off-specialty subjects. That’s where they get the expression, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Our review course is IDEAL for fellows, as we tell you just what you need to know; then you can joyfully repress it again after your test. Even if your exam is not until January, there is A LOT to relearn….OK, for some of you, to learn.

     We strongly recommend you come to either our September or November course to gather all the material you will need for 95% of your test. For those of you whose exam is not until December or January, we’ll even let you come back to the November course for a day or two just to take mock oral exams. Heck, bring back your syllabus and we’ll let you sit through the lectures for free while you are waiting for your next mock oral exam.

     We also encourage you to tap into our Do or Die in Dallas which provides an opportunity for last minute polishing or cramming.

Study Strategy
            Time is short. Remember you are sitting for your general boards, NOT your subspecialty boards. Starting now, don’t study anything in your subspecialty; focus entirely on your off subjects. You do not need to study to the exhaustive, minutiae detail that you are used to for your subspecialty. It will not score you any more points and is a waste of precious study time. Our Test Topics Manual provides a template for an exam-focused review.

For ABOG 2016 ORAL Exam Candidates

     Congratulations for passing Go (or your Written Exam) and collect your $200. No rest for the weary. If you took the exam as a resident, you may apply for the Accelerated Process. This is fancy talk; the simple translation is that this applies to you if you finished your residency in June 2015 and want to sit for your oral exam in 2016. The deadline for the application is September 15, 2015.

     For the majority of you taking the conventional route (in other words, you’ve been in practice at least a year), you cannot apply for the 2016 oral exam until February 1, 2016. However, if you wait this long to enter cases you’re already EIGHT months behind – BIG MISTAKE!

     For ANYONE taking their 2016 oral exams, go to now to get your case list software.  Remember the collections started, as in past tense, JULY 1, 2015.

Case List Construction Tip
Don’t fret about details of how to enter the cases. 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 note, pathology report, and discharge summary. For all OB patients, keep a file of the prenatal form, delivery note, discharge summary, and postpartum note. 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.
Rest assured, we have Case List Construction Workshops scheduled for as early as April 2016. You might ask, “Why not offer a workshop before you start collecting cases?” Well, because it’s too early and advanced. It’s like trying to teach surgical tips for a vaginal hysterectomy and the student hasn’t even seen or read about hysterectomy. The ABOG Bulletin is self explanatory and will get you started. After you’ve worked with your list for several months, our workshop will make so much more sense.
For those who are OCD, order your copy of Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das for a complete step-by-step guide. Start today in creating a good habit of collecting and entering cases.

For AOBOG ORAL Exam Candidates

     The October 9 and 10, 2015 exams are NEXT month! Applications for the May 2016 exam are now available. The application fee of $750 and examination fee of $3250 are both due by December 1, 2015.

    September should be a comprehensive, exhaustive review for each core topic. Our September 16-20 course is the perfect time to pull it all together. We have to brag a bit, as 99% of course attendees for the past three years have passed their oral exam!

     Series 1 of our Structured Cases Webinar, which starts this month, is formatted after the DO exam and targets the new core topics. Hop on the hot seat and fine tune your skills just before your exam. Can’t attend? Don’t worry, each session is archived. If you can’t attend, the next best thing is our Structured Cases CD. We’ve received rave feedback that they closely simulate the exam. Each CD is subject-based, including Urogynecology, Oncology, OB, GYN, and REI, as well as specific for each core topic.

     We just concluded our three month long Oral Exam Webinar that addresses each core topic. Lucky for your that each session was archived!

     For those preparing for their spring exams, if you really want to get a head start, come to our November course. Did you know that our syllabus even highlights EACH core topic? We also have an evening session that puts each core topic under the microscope and painstakingly goes through potential exam topics.

Test Taking Technique
Practice makes perfect. This is an oral exam. You can study more, but if you can’t persuasively articulate then all that work is for naught. Our Structured Cases Webinar starts mid September. Each weekly one hour session covers four cases. In just one month, we’ll cover each of the core topics! Unique to the webinar format is the opportunity to jump right in and practice or sit back and observe. All sessions are archived for later review. Also reach out and touch, as in the phone. The number of private mock orals is limited only by your stamina.


For ABOG and AOBOG 2016 WRITTEN Exam Candidates

     The exam is nine months away - how coincidental. The ABOG application is now available on-line at Don’t shoot the messenger, but in case you need to budget, the $1470 application and examination fee are both due by October 18. For those of you taking your AOBOG exam, applications are not available until January 1, 2016.

     If this is your first time to take the exam and you have historically performed at above average on your CREOG in-service-training exam, then kick back and chill. Just to keep your fingers nimble, our Question of the Day Calendar is based upon the ACOG Compendium. You can keep it on your desk to assure you do one question daily, and it includes a narrative explanation of the answer. Start a little friendly competition with your partners and wager a bet every month. Go big and at year end, have the loser pick up an extra call!

     If this will be at least your second attempt or you have performed at or below average on your CREOG in-service-training exam, you need to decide if you can, and will, truly commit to adequately preparing for this exam. If your answer is anything but an emphatic yes, you are setting yourself up for another disappointment.

     We strongly advise you to come to our November 18-22 course. Not only will we provide you with the study materials that cover 90% of your exam, but we’ll help you develop a study plan to come out running at the six month mark.

     Fall is also the ideal time to consider an evaluation by our education experts, Martin and Jane Jolley. Statistically, the chances of failing the exam again after two attempts are dismally high. However, the program established by ABC and the Jolleys has completely defied those odds. To say that we’ve blown them off the charts is an understatement. Call us and let us individualize a custom plan for you.

 Study Tip
     The CREOG in-service training exam is in January 2016. Since ABOG stopped reporting the actual score for the written board exam, our only benchmark is the CREOG score. You must score > 200 to comfortably pass your board exam. So don’t just blow it off this year.
      Although publicly fellowship directors will tell you that your score on CREOGs doesn’t affect your fellowship application; this is about as credible as medical schools saying MCATs don’t mean much … yeah, right. So maybe your scores don’t hurt you, but they sure could help you …a lot!
     The exam is in three months, of which two are holiday months. Time will slip away quickly. If your residency does not have a regimented CREOG prep course, you need to develop a study schedule now. Kill two birds with one stone by using the ABOG written board learning objectives as your guide. Simply go to the General OB/GYN Bulletin on your home page.
     Anyone can take the exam, even non-residents, so we strongly recommend them if you had failed your written board exam.  Just contact Darya Valantsevich at You must register by November, 2015.


ABOG Maintenance of Certification

Part II Lifelong Learning

     ALL 45 articles are due December 15.   I know a rare few of you haven’t even done any. If you’re desperate, you need to pass 80% of 120 questions, so that’s only 30 of the 45 articles; however you only get 25, rather than 35 Category I CME credits.
     Remember also that you must have enrolled in at least one practice module each year. If you have not, that can also be grounds to yank your certification - YIKES!
     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 must pass a written exam by December 15, 2015. ABC has three 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 take great comfort in 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’ve evolved 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 every day practice tips, too.
     Our Annual MOC Manuals summarize each of the articles AND have written questions since 2010. 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 an 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 to be held on September 15 and November 17. This workshop provides a 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.
     We must be doing something right, as so far 100% of those attending 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 2015 articles. No rest for the weary!

Test Taking Tip
The written exam is on the computer. Many of you have never taken an exam on the computer. It’s not the same as a beloved written book. Your old friend, the pencil, is obsolete. Do not wait until the day of the exam to discover this.  Go to for a tutorial ahead of time to familiarize yourself with how to take an exam on the computer.
          If you’re still not one to be ill-prepared, try out our computerized questions. Go to > written exam > test question bank. Many of the questions were based upon the MOC articles and are formatted like your ABOG board exam. The best part is each has a narrative explanation of the answer for instant gratification. Unlike most computer banks that require a year-long subscription, the ABC bank is a pay as you go. You may simply need only one bank of 105 questions to feel comfortable. It’s no coincidence that your exam is only 100 questions, too!


AOBOG Osteopathic Continuous Certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology (OCC)

     The OCC Written exam is now offered only once a year at the Spring AOBOG meeting. Applications for the April, 2016 exam will be available in November.
     This exam is usually a walk in the park for generalists practicing both obstetrics & gynecology. The breakdown of the OCC exam is as follows:

General Obstetrics     


Maternal Fetal Medicine


Gynecology (office and surgery)


Reproductive Endocrinology


Gynecologic Oncology





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