March 2023 Tip of the Month

For ABOG & AOBOG 2023 Written Exam Candidates

For those of you taking the AOBOG exam, the final deadline to apply and pay your fees (with an additional late fee) is March 24th. Make sure you take advantage of March and April to crank out the rest of the topics on your study plan. For ABOG folk, the final application deadline is March 3rd with a late fee. Make sure to reserve a seat at Pearson VUE before the final deadline of April 26th. We strongly advise taking a board prep course, as a weekend workshop or evening webinar simply cannot provide the content. No matter how many practice questions you experience, you simply can’t answer them well if you lack the foundation. We recognize that there is precious little time to wade through the volumes of material. That’s why we provide an exam-focused review per the latest ACOG clinical guidelines. We will review high-yield topics in 42 hours over five days at our Virtual Board Prep Course to be held April 19-23. Historically, our course covers 90% of exam topics! Each day is filled with focused didactic sessions on OB, REI, Primary Care, ONC, GYN/Office, Peri Op & FPM. You will then test your retention with topic-specific questions, learn to analyze your performance, practice written test-taking strategy, and participate in a facilitated review of the answers. You must be candid as to what you can/cannot accomplish within your study plan. Have you finished the MUST-KNOW topics? Our Test Topics Manual is a great resource, as it lists high-yield topics and the expected test questions. We suggest you shift to topics we don’t have time to cover in the course. These include ethics, genetics, safety, statistics, practice, and liability management. Don’t forget, you must practice with written questions at the end of each study topic. Our Written Questions Manuals provide 1300+ questions. Since the test is computerized, ideally you should practice with tests in this same format. Our Written Questions are all available online by subscription. For those who have traditionally struggled with written exams, failed the written board exam, or did not score at least 200 on your CREOG in-service exam, you cannot continue your modus operandi. We have found that knowledge is rarely the problem. You couldn’t have made it this far if that were the case. It’s typically a processing problem. Our Online Test-Taking Skills Course will give you an evidence-based proven methodology. Adopting this technique improves CREOG scores on average by 1 standard deviation! This may be just what you need to boost you over to a pass for your board exam. Finally, like any big performance, a dress rehearsal is a must. Our Practice Test simulates your exam. It has 250 questions timed for 4 hours.

Test-Taking Technique:
This month, you received your CREOG results. This report has two pieces of helpful information. One is your raw score. In the past, there was little incentive to correlate board and CREOG performance, so there are only a few studies. However, we now know that a score of 205 or more predicts passing your boards. If you didn’t score this minimum of 200, you must get crackin’. Secondly, the report gives a fantastic itemization of your strengths and weaknesses per topic. What’s that old saying? “Trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me”. So TODAY you must start focusing on your weaknesses! Practice makes perfect. You are taking a written exam, after all, so you must follow each topic review with written questions.

For ABOG 2023 Certifying Exam Candidates

The application period for the 2023 certifying exams starts on March 1st. Make sure to apply before the first deadline of April 12th to avoid a hefty late fee. Don’t overlook this menial, but necessary, administrative task. We strongly recommend our Virtual April 18-23 Board Review Course, There are five months left to complete your collection of cases. No case lists will be accepted after August 16th. Ideally, once a week, these cases should be entered online. At this point, you should have at least 25% of your office patients selected. Plan to complete all 40 categories by the end of May. Remember - you can include only one or two patients per category. You should now have three binders – one for each of the three sections: OB, GYN, and Office. For each GYN patient, compile their case list sheet, H&P, 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. For the Office patients, file the case list sheet, appropriate copies of the office visit(s) and supporting labs, imaging studies, etc. A well-constructed case list makes all the difference in its defense. This is especially important since you must enter your cases online. Although the entry of cases has changed, the strategy has not. This is the ideal time, as you will be all consumed with finishing your case list from June to August. You must assume that your exam could be the first round in October, which only gives you less than two months to prepare after you turn in your case list. Taking a review course in the spring puts you in a proactive mode, whereas, if you procrastinate until the fall, you’ll be in a reactive tailspin. We provide an exam-focused review of the ABOG-published exam topics following the latest ACOG clinical guidelines. Together we’ll construct cases for your case list and then run them by the faculty examiner. If he/she takes a line of questioning that you don’t want, then we’ll put them in the corner and reconstruct it. Keeping in mind that this is an oral exam, although months away, we’ll then finish up each session with mock oral exams on structured cases. The faculty will then coach you on verbalizing the correct answers. Not sure what you need to prepare for your exam? Our Ultimate Oral Exam package has it all! It includes our April workshop & review course, a set of 85 structured cases, a return in the fall for the Oral Exam Workshop, and 3 telephone mock orals with our faculty.
You still must have a well-constructed list and their guidelines are still woefully sparse. Don’t fret – come to our one-day Case List Construction Workshop being offered on April 18th, the day before the review course. We’ll show you how to raise your case list head and shoulders above the other candidates.

Case List Construction Tip:
You still have time to collect GYN patients for hysterectomy, and bilateral salpingectomy. Also, instead of just a PPTL, how about a postpartum salpingectomy? Or instead of a Laparoscopic tubal ligation, a laparoscopic salpingectomy or fimbriectomy? You could also demonstrate this on the OB list with a Cesarean delivery, and bilateral fimbriectomy, but I doubt the MFM OB examiner is going to be as up-to-date. It might catch his/her eye as being odd and if he/she inquires, you’ll look cool- if you do it politely. Typically, it’s not advisable to try to one-up the examiner.

For AOBOG 2023 Primary Oral Exam Candidates

Applications for the October 20-21 2023 exam, along with the exam fee, are due by June 20th without a late fee. However, don’t procrastinate, since AOBOG implemented an exam cap. The cap has been reached within a couple of months. For those preparing for their April 21-22 exam, check out our Home Study Packages which include over 44 hours of course lectures and strategy videos created just for the AOBOG oral exam candidate. We also included mock orals and other AOBOG products. Pick a package that suits your needs. This is an oral exam. You must practice out loud. Pull it all together with our Structured Cases, based just on the core topics. Finally, let our faculty challenge you with private Virtual Mock Oral Exams. Get all the exam willies out of the way, so you can explode out of the starting block on your big day.

Test-taking tip:
The questions will come at you in rapid fire. Often the examiner will push you until you finally don’t know the answer. Don’t misinterpret this as failing the question. On the contrary, you probably passed it long before, but the examiner may simply want to explore the depth of your knowledge or at least reassure himself that you will acknowledge your limitations. Let the last question go and focus on the question at hand. Do not let worrying about whether you got the last question correct distract you and thereby compromise the opportunity to get a sure pass question correct.

Fill in the blanks NOW for each core topic:
Definition (if applicable) Incidence Pathogenesis & Etiology. Differential diagnosis Diagnostic criteria Work up Laboratory evaluation Radiologic studies Treatment Medical Surgical Outcome Follow up

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. Therefore, make sure to hold onto that residency log! Refer to the ABOG Bulletin as to 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 OB patients, keep a file of the prenatal forms, delivery notes, discharge summaries, and postpartum notes. Don’t worry at all about the office patients, as you may compile these 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 cool, esoteric, bizarre, once-in-a-career cases now will be a nightmare to defend later. Your greatest allies are your junior residents…if they can’t easily defend that case, cease, and subsist and “go fish” for another.

Case List Construction Tip:
Print out the Bulletin for the “Oral Exam for Basic Certification” from Go to Publications > Bulletin and peruse the categories. Most generalists don’t have any Oncology and Urogyn cases since they appropriately refer them. But you have the luxury to pick and choose. You want to appear well-rounded and balanced. Make sure to include some bread-and-butter Oncology cases (uterine, ovarian, cervical cancer), Urogyn (prolapse, slings), and for heaven’s sake – at least 3 vaginal hysterectomies!  Also choose some cases on topics that you’ll forget about PID, endometriosis, infertility, and fibroids. Finally, include some with complications – wound, GU, and/or GI injury and some perioperative challenges (Thromboembolism, DM, cardiac, etc.)
For many candidates, female pelvic medicine is a love/hate relationship. Commonly, many don’t have any FPM cases on their GYN case list since many generalists refer the patient to the urologist or urogynecologist. Nonetheless, you will be held accountable for female pelvic medicine on your oral exam. Given you’re in your chief year, FPM is practically second nature for you, so make sure to choose some cases for your case list if you will be using your chief log for your GYN case list. Just go with the bread-and-butter cases, such as stress urinary incontinence and prolapse. You can sneak in some office management, such as pessaries or OAB meds, by stating the patient failed these in your preoperative diagnosis. Don’t mention complex urodynamics in the workup, as the generalist only needs to know simple cystometrics. You’ll be glad you did, as it will be easier to retain or relearn these topics two or more years from now.

Subspecialty Fellows Planning for their 2023 ABOG General Certifying Board Exam

You can sit for your general oral boards anytime during your fellowship. You will be shocked at how quickly you lose recall of your off-specialty subjects. Hence, I advise you to take your general oral boards as early as possible. If you neglected to collect cases in your off-specialty from your chief year, you must get back to your residency institution to gather those cases AND enter them into your software. GYN Oncologists, REI, and Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgeons will need an OB list and MFMs need a GYN list. If you currently must take calls for these off-services, you can use those cases. 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 board. We strongly recommend our Virtual April 18-23 Board Review Course, which covers 90% of exam topics! Although it’s precocious, just an FYI, we offer preparation for your subspecialty boards. We have FPMRS, MFM, and REI webinars specific to the oral exam. Additionally, we have an MFM & FPMRS 3-day interactive review course in November and REI Virtual 3-day review course in December.

ABOG Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Candidates

Articles within ABOG’s Part II Lifelong learning and self-assessment are typically released in sets of 50 in January, May, and August of this year. ABOG does state on its website that some articles may appear at other times of the year. Each article has eight questions to complete. Diplomates will read only 15 articles instead of 30, but you will still have to answer 120 questions. The first quarter is over. Are you finished with your first quarter articles? Didn’t you make a New Year’s resolution that you weren’t going to procrastinate this year? Promise yourself to get those finished before the second quarter list comes out. For those of you in If you’ve never cut corners before, then our five-day Board Review Courses, April 19-23 and August 16-20 are perfect for you. This is not the same type of review course as in the past. Just as you’ve evolved and practiced evidence-based medicine, our course is designed for the adult learner, is exam-focused, and all lectures follow the national ACOG guidelinesHeck, you’ll walk away with loads of everyday practice tips, too. If you’re feeling a bit rusty or you had to repeat your primary written exam, sign up for our Test Taking Skills Course now offered online.

Test Taking Tip:
IF you have to take the written exam it 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 on their designated subspecialty. They then must choose a second book from the generalists’ selectives.Generalist 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 in 2019)
Generalist – OB&GYN Option 1, 2, 3, or 4 Option 1, 2, 3, or 4
Generalist – GYN Only Option 3 Option 3 or 4
Generalist – Family Planning Option 4 Option 4
Generalist – Laborist Option 2 Option 2
Administrator Option 3 or 4 Option 3 or 4
MFM MFM Option 2
GYN Oncologist Gynecologic Oncology Option 3
REI REI Option 3 or 4
FPM Option 3 Option 3


AOBOG Recertification Written Exam, Osteopathic Continuous Certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology (OCC)

The recertification exam has been replaced with the (ARC) aka Advanced Real-time Certification. The good news is that it is an online assessment system allowing you to fulfill your OCC Component 3 requirements. Each year you are to complete 24 assessments. Go to the AOBOG website for additional details. 

ABC Tip:
Consider attending our 5-day review course on April 19-23 2023. 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 and all lectures follow the national ACOG guidelines. Even better, you’ll walk away with Category I CME hours and with loads of clinical pearls, too.

Royal Canadian College 2023 Exam Candidates

For written folks, you have a week left and might start feeling out of breath. You need a few days of rest to attack the exam efficiently. Having your mind and body rested will only benefit you in the grand scheme of things. At this point, you might start feeling that the topic you studied back in early fall is well behind. You could start reviewing some of that theory and do practice questions. We cannot say it enough, practice questions! Learning to answer questions efficiently is an important skill to have. At this point, following practice oral and MCQ, you must have a good idea of your area of weakness. Focus on increasing your strength around those areas, you still have time. Furthermore, it would be a good idea to start practicing oral examinations. Don’t wait until after the written, the lapse of time is too short. Both exams are complimentary and learning the SOGC guidelines will help you with those two parts.
This year’s applied oral examination is on May 9th at your local Centre. Therefore, do not wait until after the written examination to start practicing for the oral exam! Helpful Hints for Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  • If you don’t know, take a guess… no penalty.
  • Manage your time wisely, you have about 1 minute per question.
  • If you change your answer, erase the answer, as the sheet is read by an optical scanner.
  • Frequently go back to ensure that the question number and the circle you are filling in are the same. You don’t want to be off by one question, all your answers will be wrong.
Test-Taking Tips For the MCQ portion of your exam, the ABC Written Question Manuals are a great resource. Available in print or online. They cover OB, REI, Oncology, FPM, GYN, and Office Practice. Also, make sure to check out other available products to help you better prepare for the upcoming exams.
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