5 High Yield Pearls for Success on the ABIM Internal Medicine Boards

It's crunch time for the ABIM Internal Medicine Boards , and "High Yield" is key. You don't want to waste your time, and you want to be as efficient as possible. Well, I recently gave a lecture entitled, "Dr. Rezaie's 5 Pearls to Passing the Boards." This is a general post, and can be used for any standardized test in your last few weeks of preparation.

Pearl # 1: Always read the question first, look over the answers, then go back and read the question stem

  • You waste your time reading the passage and looking at the labs first
  • What do you focus on?
  • How many times do you go back and forth between passage and answers?
  • This process wastes precious time
  • Instead read the question and answers first and then go back and read the passage.
  • Some questions can even be answered without reading the passage

Pearl # 2: Know the breakdown of the test

  • Specifically for the ABIM board exam "THE BIG 5" are:
  1. General Internal Medicine
  2. Cardiovascular Disease
  3. Gastroenterology
  4. Infectious Disease
  5. Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care
  • These 5 sections alone compromise approximately 50 – 60% of the exam
  • If time is short, focus on these five sections
  • Ideally, you have left yourself enough time to go over all sections, but if time is short, reading over things like dermatology are not high yield

Pearl # 3: Know the big 4 of medical decision-making

  • If you can answer 4 questions about every disease process, you will be prepared for over 80% of the questions on the test:
  1. What is the BEST initial test?
  2. What is the MOST ACCURATE test?
  3. What is the BEST initial therapy / treatment?
  4. What is the NEXT BEST STEP in management?
  • These four questions are known as "The Fischer Method"

Pearl # 4: Pick a single book and question bank and stick with it

  • There are so many options, and all are good.
  • Personally, I think Med Study reads the easiest and is the most high yield followed by MKSAP
  • Ultimately pick one resource and stick with it. Buying five different resources is not realistic to complete and you will not get through all the information
  • Also pick one question bank and stick with it.
  • Whether it be Knowmedge, MKSAP, MedStudy, or Kaplan, you will be able to pass if you learn the material
  • Personally, I have used the Knowmedge and MKSAP question banks and felt like both were very comparable to the ABIM Board Exam

Pearl # 5: Focus on most commons

  • I would know the top 3 conditions of each area cold
  • ie Top 3 infectious disease killers in the world are HIV / AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
  • ie 3 of the top 5 killers in the world are Cardiovascular diseases, Infectious diseases, and chronic lung disease (No wonder Cardiovascular, pulmonary / critical care, and infectious diseases are 3 of "THE BIG 5")

In addition to these 5 High Yield Pearls also consider another FREE resource such as Twitter (My personal recommendations …

Your Fitness Success – Just a Phone Call Away

Did you jump out of bed this morning, ready to exercise? Or was it another morning where the snooze button won over your best intentions? Do you have a crazy morning business schedule, but promise yourself you will work out at the end of the day? How many times have you actually followed through with that promise?

Most people know they should exercise, and many know how to do it, but simply can't get motivated. Many busy people have found their answer in a growing trend in fitness known as phone coaching.

You probably have heard of coaches for different facets of life personal, business, financial, etc. Fitness coaching by phone appeals to the busy person who is trying to balance work, family and personal care, and often finds their care at the bottom of the list. With our crazy schedules, it is hard to find the time to exercise, let alone make two to three appointments a week with a personal trainer at the health club. Fitness coaching by phone saves you time, frustration and money. With a phone coach you have a 20 to 30 minutes weekly phone session to determine your goals and exercise schedule for the week. You exercise on your own, whenever and wherever it is convenient.

Tara, a phone coaching client in California liked the convenience and the motivation her coaching program provided: A friend of mine at work suggested phone coaching. I said, why not? I did not have to go anywhere. I could call my coach from work and exercise by just walking out the front door of my office. Pretty soon, I found on my walks that my feet were wanting to fly over the pavement, so I started walking and running, then built up to where I would run the 30 minutes. It became addictive – I was actually looking forward to it!

Fitness coaching by phone is most valuable as a means of keeping people accountable. Too many people, for example, join a health club with expectations of attending regularly and getting fit. Its not too difficult to keep this commitment at first, but inevitably it becomes easier to find excuses to not go, especially when no one is checking up on you. Accountability is essential!

Researchers at Stanford University have been studying phone-based exercise counseling for over 20 years. They have found astounding results – after six months of phone coaching, up to 90% of the subjects were still exercising on their own. Those people who had a coach to guide them and to hold them accountable were more successful and exercised independently, working with their coach by phone.

One of the most important goals of phone coaching is to teach the participant how to become his or her own independent coach and motivator. By learning how to exercise on your own, you will be able to create a lifelong habit.

Fitness coaching by phone is a concept whose time has come. You can find fitness coaches all …