May 2019 Tip of the Month

For ABOG 2018 WRITTEN Exam Candidates

The exam is NEXT month – EEE GADS! For those of you finishing your residency, the end-of-year projects and deadlines will really compete with your remaining study time. You MUST be organized to be able to keep all those balls in the air. It is your responsibility to schedule a seat with the Pearson VUE testing center. Seats were released after March 25 but may not be after June 3. Seats are limited and are assigned on a “first come, first served” basis. You need to do some soul searching and accept the fact that you simply will not be able to cover all the topics on 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. Revise your study plan weekly and begin to discard those low yield topics. Plan to FINISH your ENTIRE review in MAY, as June will focus on strengthening your strengths. You must practice with WRITTEN questions at the end of each study topic. Our Written Question Manuals( WQMS) are designed for exactly this. They are organized by topic so you can beeline right to the questions to cross-check your subject review. For example, if you just reviewed Ovarian cancer, then you need questions on ovarian cancer. Our WQMs are the only ones in the industry that allow you to search at this level. None of the current computer banks, nor even the PROLOGs allow searching to this degree. Included are 1700+ questions, plus a narrative explanation for each answer, along with references. They are in both printed or online versions. We also have a Computer Q Bank with random topics. These are helpful when you have completed your review and are just looking for volume and variety. Finally, like any big performance, a dress rehearsal is a must. Our Practice Test simulates your exam. It has 250 questions timed for 3 hours and 45 minutes with 2 breaks.

You can do it, we can help.

Test Taking Technique:
You probably intuitively knew this, but studies confirm that students usually miss the questions they spent the most time on. Compare this to the lead runner. Turning to look back to see where the other runners are will just slow him down. Thus, we recommend you proceed methodically, deliberately and purposefully answering FIRST those questions for which you clearly know the answer.
For questions that you cannot determine the answer readily (e.g. within 30 seconds), develop a system of priority for returning back to those questions AFTER you finish those for which you easily know the answers. Don’t compromise sure-pass questions by getting bogged down with the tougher questions that you will most likely get wrong anyway.
The computer will let you flag the questions, but not by priority. As you go back through, start with those questions that you are fairly certain you can figure out but will need a little bit of time to think through.
Next, tackle those questions that you have to put more work into. They’re not impossible, but you’re going to have to spend considerable time.
Finally, for those questions that you haven’t any idea (where do they find these?!), use the SAME LETTER for all your WILD GUESSES. Keep on truckin’ and don’t look back. We are not aware of any evidence-based recommendation for which letter to use, but since all questions have at least four options, but some with five, we advise against using the letter “E”. Therefore, chose either “A, B, C or D” for your wild guesses, but use the SAME letter for all, as you statistically will have a better chance of getting some correct.

For ABOG 2019 ORAL Exam Candidates

Applications for the exam are due May 15th, 2019. Your examination fee of $1025 and case list is due by August 1st, 2019. Unfortunately, the examination fee is in addition to the application fee that you already forked over.  Simply go online to to complete this nuisance, but necessary, task. Only ONE MONTH LEFT to complete your collection of cases. At this point, you must be up-to-date with all of your past OB and GYN entries. The clock is ticking. You must now enter cases no less than EVERY WEEK. At this point you should have three fourths, if not all, of your office patients selected. Plan to complete all 40 categories by the end of May and try to use as many categories as possible. A well-constructed list makes all the difference in its defense. Order your copy of the 5th edition of Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das for a complete step-by-step guide. Since so much is riding on your case list, consider getting the expert’s stamp of approval.  The ABC faculty can provide a Comprehensive Case List Review and give construction tips on every single case. Unique only to ABC, the reviewer will then give you a call to review construction highlights and give you a chance to ask questions. Send whatever you have NOW, as it is a first-come-first-served basis and we get over-run starting in mid-June. Your goal is to review and incorporate your reviewer’s recommendations by June 30th. Before you are all consumed with finishing your case list, be proactive and register for your fall review course in Charlotte now.  We suggest our course on September 17-22, 2019.   If you discover later that you have a December or January exam, we’ll let you switch over to our November 19-24, 2019 course. We’re not just a review course, but a BOARD review course, to provide an exam focused review. Ideally, complement the content covered at the review course with an Oral Exam Workshop devoted to defending your case list. Don’t worry about studying at all this month. Your priority is to finish that case list. “Git R Done!”

Case List Construction Tip: 
Formatting is the most powerful tool to raise your case list head and shoulders above the others -especially in strategically pulling the examiner to cases YOU want to talk about. The mandatory entry online has presented some new challenges with formatting, but we’ve got it figured out. If you need some help or just simply a boost of confidence, then let us review your list prior to submission. We get overrun and it’s a first come first served, so send us your list by end of May or early June. The examiner gets your list before they meet you, so your #1 construction goal is to create a list that’s a pass walking IN to the exam.

For Subspecialist Candidates for the 2019 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. Our Test Topics Manual and Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das are excellent step-by-step guides. Dr. Das even has a section in her book just for subspecialists. Since so much is riding on your case list, consider getting the expert’s stamp of approval.  The ABC faculty can provide a Comprehensive Case List Review and give construction tips on every single case. Unique only to ABC, the reviewer will then give you a call to review construction highlights and give you a chance to ask questions Send whatever you have NOW, as it is a first-come, first served basis and we get over-run starting in mid-June.

Case List Construction Tip:
Remember you are sitting for your general boards. The least important case list is your specialty. In your “off subject,” you must list 20 applied patients from your chief resident cases. You want these cases to reflect a depth and breadth of care. Chose bread & butter cases and try and use as many categories as possible. I challenge you to use 20 categories!

Chief Residents Planning an ABOG 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 case 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 40, 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 forms, 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 they can’t easily defend that case, cease and desist and “go fish” for another.

Test Taking Technique:
I know you can’t wait to move on to your subspecialty training. However, you’re at your peak in your general OB/GYN knowledge. By the time you take your oral exam, you will have forgotten so much. So, collect those “bread and butter” common cases now. Yeah, those boring ones you turn over to the interns. You will be ever so grateful later.
Prior to 2014, a fellow could not sit for the general oral boards until the second year of fellowship.  However, now fellows can apply for the accelerated track. I know you’re busy and excited to matriculate into your subspecialty, but truly, if you don’t use it, you lose it! Plan to apply for the fast track just as soon as you get your congratulatory letter notifying you that you passed your written boards. Next, order the new 5th edition of Pass Your Oral Ob/Gyn Board Exam by Dr. Das. It’s a quick read while you’re sitting on the beach during that well-deserved vacation between residency and fellowship. It walks you through the entire process from application to awaiting exam results. If you begin with the end in mind, then there will be no surprises, as forewarned is forearmed.

For AOBOG 2019 & 2020 ORAL Exam Candidates

Applications submitted June 17, 2019, require the standard fee of $3275, which must be included with the application. The 2019 Fall exam has been scheduled for September 20-21.  After many years, the AOBOG oral exam underwent a major overhaul in 2015. They’ve changed the core topics from the traditional 10. Although they’ve kept some of the original, they’ve added some, and generalized others to much broader categories. Here are the new categories:

  • Office Based
  • Hospital Based
  • Maternity Based
  • Gynecologic Oncology:
  • Neoplasms of the Vulva, Vagina, Cervix, Uterus, Fallopian tubes, Ovaries and those associated with Pregnancy
  • Female Medicine and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery
  • Urinary Stress Incontinence/Genital Prolapse
  • Sexual Dysfunction/Pain Syndromes
  • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  • Contraception Management
  • Ultrasonography of the Female Pelvis
  • Workup and Treatment of the Infertile Couple
  • Maternal Fetal Medicine:
  • Evaluation of the High-Risk Pregnancy
  • Early Screening Tests and Diagnosis
  • Interventions Available during Pregnancy

Osteopathic Philosophy and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine will be assessed regarding treatment modalities for both the obstetric and the gynecologic patient. Our OMM for the OB/GYN, as well as our one hour video on Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is a great way to get an exam -focused review on OMM. Also the conduct has been changed. Although it’s still 4 hours, the candidate now rotates hourly to each of four stations. Three exam stations will use three scenarios developed from the topic list. A fourth exam station will include: visual slides, ultrasounds, video clips or monitor strips to introduce the essay type scoring. Our Fourth Station product is a great way to ready yourself for this new and unique portion of the test. Obviously, we’re a bit biased, as we feel we have the ideal course; however, you should look for certain features. We recommend a BOARD review course, not just a review course, for an exam focused review.  The 5 days will be a mixture of high yield lectures followed by structured cases, mock orals, 4th station in the afternoon.  There is precious little time to wade through the volumes of material to figure out what to prioritize. Did you know our syllabus is highlighted with the core topics?  Then for those of you preparing for your spring, 2020 exam, launch your studying by attending either our September 19-23 or November 14-18 course. Since 2011, we’re batting 99% rate for those who have attended our review course and/or our oral exam webinar!

You can do it, we can help.

Test Taking Tips:
Given several of the core topics are so broad now, it’s critical to follow your comprehensive review with our September 18-22 course, as we will cover lots of spin off topics that you didn’t see coming. Also, this will be a sweet time to experience mock orals as a culmination to all those months of studying.
Our signature Oral Exam Webinar was redesigned to the new core topics. For those of you with a fall exam, consider reviewing the webinar archives. For those of you with a spring 2020 exam, jump in live for the webinar in the winter of 2020. Since 2011, we are batting a 99% pass rate for those who have attended our review course and/or our oral exam webinar! We’ve even topped that, as 100% of course/webinar attendees for the debut exam passed!

ABOG Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Candidates

Part II: Lifelong Learning Your taxes are done or did you file an extension? Unfortunately, ABOG is not as generous as the IRS and just published the 2nd quarter articles. Of course, you can extend or drag out those first quarter articles all the way up until the December 16th deadline, but WHY?   You need to finish up those first quarter articles and start working on the 2nd quarter ones. 

Part III: Secure Written Exam For those of you in MOC Year 6, you must pass a written exam by December 16th, 2019. We have 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, September 18-22 and November 20-24.  This is not the same type of review course from 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 everyday practice tips, too. Oh, just in case you think you’re coasting after you pass your written exam, think again. You still have to read the 2019 articles. No rest for the weary!

You can do it, we can help.

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
Obstetrics only
Gynecology only (tends to have more Surgical GYN focus)
Office Practice and Women’s Health only (primary care, office GYN & family planning focus)

    Subspecialists: Selective Exam A (50 questions)

    1.Gynecologic Oncology
    Maternal Fetal Medicine
    Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
    Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery (starting 2019)

      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 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)

        The OCC written exam is now computerized and offered this September 23-28 at all Pearson VUE centers. However, the examination can be taken during the last two years of the OCC cycle, but you must pass the written exam by the end of your six-year cycle. Come to one of our fall courses – either September 18-22 or November 20-24 to jump-start your studying.  Our September course is perfect timing for the fall OCC exam. Additionally, you need to complete 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 the first year of your OCC cycle and complete one module every year.

        Test Taking Tip:
        The written exam is for true generalists. Heck, within one year, let alone five or more years, we mold our practice to our style. You would be surprised with how boutique your practice has become. Come to one of our fall courses for a reality check. No worries, we’ll bring you right up to date.

        CREOG In-service training exam participants

        Well, the exam is not for another eight months. If you scored > 200, regardless of your PGY year, 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, you are 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. Don’t keep kicking the can down the road. You can begin to undo those life long bad habits of test taking by enrolling in our Test Taking Skills Course online now. Better yet, you get free access to Dr. Das for personalized mentoring. 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 20-24 Course is the perfect time to prepare your assault and nail the exam in January.

        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.

        Royal Canadian College 2019 Exam Candidates

        This year the written examination is April 30th – May 1st at your local Centre.  Followed by the oral examination on May 30th. Therefore, do not wait for the written examination to be done before you start practicing for your oral exam! As you head into your MCQs remember to manage your time wisely, you have about 1 minute per question and if you don’t know, take a guess, there is no penalty.  Erase the answer COMPLETELY if you change your answer, the sheet is read by an optical scanner.  Lastly, frequently go back to ensure that the question number goes with where you are filling the circle. You don’t want to be off by one question, as all your answers will be wrong…

        Test Taking Tips for the OSCE Exam:
        Each station you will be assessed on a unique global rating scale (GRS).  Your examiner is responsible for monitoring time and moving candidates along to ensure all material and questions are covered. Also, they won’t give any feedback (positive or negative).  The assessment focuses on, a) your ability to work through a case, b) demonstrate a focused and efficient approach to problems, c) data gathering (relevant history taking), d) your communication and organizational skill.

        MFM 2020 ORAL Exam Candidates

        It’s still early in the process, but you’re smart to start thinking about this now. Next April will be here before you know it. What should you be working on right now? If you haven’t done so already, this is a great time to just get organized. You should have a clear idea about which project you’re submitting as your thesis. Do you have your thesis affidavit signed by your program director? You’ll need a copy of that, and PD’s are busy folks, so it might be a good idea to try and snag that signature now. It’s also a good time to download the ABOG bulletin so you know exactly how to format your thesis, and your case lists. Remember to de-identify your institution. The thesis can be formatted like the green or gray journal. If it has been published, then most journal’s formats are also acceptable. The case list format is set by ABOG. Spreadsheets and other software cannot be used.  You should also be looking around for interesting cases to compile – it never hurts to have too many cases, you can always comb through the list and choose the best ones later. The more you prepare now, the easier it will be when the deadlines approach!

        FPMRS 2020 ORAL Exam Candidates

        Now is a great time to start thinking about strategy for exam taking. The subspecialty exam is similar to the general oral exam in many ways, except now it is something that you are much more familiar with.  Start by gathering cases, flagging office cases that add to the variety of your list.  Additionally, contacting the medical records personnel at your institution to familiarize yourself with the process of pulling surgical records will make your life easier when the time comes to compose your list.  Regarding your thesis, if you have not published yet, it might be a good time to fine-tune the manuscript. Have your advisor or colleague look over your thesis if it is one that is already completed or published. Ensure that it is in the format required by the boards and remove institution identifying information on the manuscript. ABC offers Thesis review services, so this is the time to contact us for information on this and arrange a thesis review if you have any doubts about your thesis.  You have plenty of time so form a study plan now and contact study buddies so that when the time comes, you have all ducks in a row.
        November 22-24, 2019 is our planned Live FPMRS board review course in Charlotte, NC. Time to start adjusting your call, clinic and OR schedule to make plans to join us for three days of high yield FPMRS lectures and interactive sessions to prepare you for the FPMRS board exams. 

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