Last week, Ryan Schultz, Winnie Lo and Randi Drees wrote about how they approached studying for the board exam. This week, in part II of the interview, they talk about their favorite resources, and top tips for preparing for the exam. Although these articles are about the ACVR exam, the ECVDI exam is very similar in content and format. There should be plenty of helpful advice that’s applicable to everyone!
AZ:What were some of your favorite resources (books, websites, etc)?
By far the best were real good cases with a known follow-up and then going over other differentials for what it could have been.
I really like my paper summary collection, that is a great resource.
I found that â€œThe Handbook of Small Animal Radiological Differential Diagnosisâ€ by Dennis et al to be a useful summary of differentials.Â Thrall was also a useful overview.
AZ:What are your top 3 tips for studying for the oral exam?
- Practice making oral reports on real cases with known diagnoses.
- Practice the structure of your report: Findings (+ summary of the pertinent ones if there are a lot), Radiographic diagnosis, Differential Diagnoses, Plan
- Stay broad in your differential diagnoses (i.e. neoplasia or infectious and then narrow it down rather than say adenocarcinoma or abscess), learn the differentials you may not have seen in your residency and have memorized lists of differential diagnoses ready to spit out whenever you see something common (lung pattern).
- Make a clear list of differentials in your head to fall back on for all the sections. I liked to have that written, that I would have to have something to flip through between the sessions.
- Make a clear system for yourself on how you are going to read the films and stick to it.
- Practice oral exam sessions (mock boards).
- See lots of cases on clinics.
- Have a set of differential diagnoses for certain radiographic findings
- Remember to correlate findings to history/presenting complaint.
AZ:What was the difference between studying for writtens and orals?
The good news is that it took A LOT less time to study for orals and there is much less memorization! Just PRACTICE and go over a lot of cases.
Well, the list to study is not as well defined for the orals as for the written. And it is much more fun to study for the orals.
More reviewing cases rather than sit-down studying.
AZ: Do you have any other advice for next yearâ€™s residents?
Just read cases in the boards as you see them. A lot of cases were a lot easier than I was expecting. So donâ€™t overread them.
Find yourself something to do to clear your head inbetween the exam sessions. I had up to 5-6hrs between sessions and you can’t really study in that time. I flipped through my differential lists, went running for 2hrs, something like that.
Try to be relaxed and READ THE FILMS, READ THE FILMS, and dont forget to READ THE FILMS in the sessions. The problem is that you won’t get any feedback during all the days of the exam, as you may be used to on the clinic floor or from mock boards. So just believe you are right (you may have to be a bit sarcastic about this now and then 😉 and don’t worry about your screw-ups, that keeps the spirits up over the 3 days. These days are exhausting enough, so you don’t need to worry on top of things about the mistakes that you for sure will make, or not if you are truly brilliant.