Prepping for the ABIM Exam: An Internist’s Candid Perspective (Part III)

I’ve always questioned who in reality writes the questions that end up on the ABIM exam. In my thoughts, I picture a Voldemort-like person main a collection of similarly dark souls, cackling every time they come up with a specifically complex question certain to journey up some poor take a look at-taking sap. More likely-and this is additionally natural hypothesis-there’s a group of senior educational internal medication physicians, fellows or even masters of the ACP (you realize, FACPs and the vaunted MACPs which might be listed on CVs) who are attempting to devise a manner of objectively compare destiny colleagues. But I nonetheless just like the Voldemort characterization better. Watch Game of Thrones Season 7 Online

On that fateful August day, test day, I felt like Harry Potter approximately to warfare the forces of evil. After the alarm sounded on my iPhone at 6 am, I leapt off the bed, the adrenaline coursing thru my veins.

The night time before, I grudgingly put the books and questions away. Instead, I watched Game of Thrones clips on YouTube. In between clips, I got the whole lot geared up that, on a normal work day, would’ve been accomplished in a mad-dash scramble within the morning. I packed my backpack with pens, a notepad, an eye fixed, a hooded sweatshirt, and snacks along with potato chips aI’ve continually wondered who without a doubt writes the questions that become at the ABIM examination. In my mind, I picture a Voldemort-like character main a collection of in addition darkish souls, cackling each time they arrive up with a mainly intricate query positive to ride up some negative check-taking sap. More probably-and this is additionally pure speculation-there is a collection of senior instructional inner medication physicians, fellows or maybe masters of the ACP (you understand, FACPs and the vaunted MACPs which might be indexed on CVs) who are trying to devise a manner of objectively compare destiny colleagues. But I still like the Voldemort characterization higher.

On that fateful August day, test day, I felt like Harry Potter about to struggle the forces of evil. After the alarm sounded on my iPhone at 6 am, I leapt away from bed, the adrenaline coursing through my veins.

The night before, I grudgingly put the books and questions away. Instead, I watched Game of Thrones clips on YouTube. In among clips, I got everything geared up that, on a ordinary paintings day, would’ve been carried out in a mad-sprint scramble inside the morning. I packed my backpack with pens, a notepad, an eye fixed, a hooded sweatshirt, and snacks inclusive of potato chips and chocolate chip cookies. My mom notion I turned into again in high school.

Lunch, which I also packed the night earlier than, was one ham and cheese sandwich, one salami sandwich with mayo, crackers, a can of orange soda, and bottles of water. Certainly I am a hypocrite, given that I generally endorse a low-sodium, low-sugar food regimen. But these days, I wanted, and deserved, all my consolation ingredients.

On the manner to the trying out website online, I blasted my motivational playlist: Eminem, Jay-Z, and Rocky film subject song. I sooner or later arrived at the site at 7:30 am. The employees had been inside, but would not allow us to in. The handiest human beings waiting outside were, by using the seems on their faces and the books they had been flipping via, additionally ABIM exam takers. I requested a lady with MKSAP cardiology, “You geared up for the check?” She did not respond. She need to’ve notion I changed into hitting on her. Whatever. She wasn’t that cute besides.

After loitering outdoor for half of-an-hour greater, the personnel let us through the door. I changed into fingerprinted and had my photo taken, and I positioned my backpack in a garage locker. An employee stated we might be videotaped at all times. I felt like I become getting registered for jail, however as I recognize it, that is essential to ensure the integrity of the check. Later on, a few non-ABIM take a look at-takers rolled in past due. They complained that their 3-hour tests had been draining. I had no sympathy for them.

When I sat down in my cubicle, there has been a black felt-tip marker and a plastic-laminated purple sheet wherein I ought to scrawl a few notes. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones hung off the brink of the cubicle.

I clicked on “start” and started out going through the questions.

Unlike previous exams we’ve got taken, the ABIM check consists of “only” 240 questions. They are divided into four blocks of 60 questions every, with hours for every phase. This offers a total trying out time of 8 hours, which include one hour for breaks that you could use at your discretion. For each question, I read the query stem and the answers before I could move returned and examine the paragraph(s) of text. This helped me put each question in context.

I had the greatest difficulties with the primary block of questions. I became pressed for time, and had marked as a minimum 10 questions with little purple flags, because although I could slim the proper answer down to 2 choices, I regularly couldn’t determine between the two. Worse nevertheless, I let my ego get within the way, and spent ten mins agonizing over a question approximately eosinophilic esophagitis.

If you do the mathematics, you have minutes to answer each query. Given that each one of the questions are similarly weighted, and there’s no penalty for a wrong answer, the right issue to do whilst caught is to make an knowledgeable bet and flow on. You have to cross returned to the question handiest if you have greater time on the give up.

Fortunately the opposite three sections have been far greater conceivable. The questions various from a couple of paragraphs to 1 sentence in length. If I knew the answer to a short query, it become like an oasis inside the wasteland. True to shape, the questions also ranged over everything of internal remedy. My check, as an instance, changed into particularly heavy on rheumatology principles.

Other humans I spoke with, but, felt that block 2 or block four turned into the maximum tough, or that their assessments emphasised gastroenterology or nephrology. Thus, every check-taker probably has a one-of-a-kind order of questions, or much more likely a unique set of questions altogether. According to the ABIM, a number of the questions are also experimental and do not depend closer to the very last score (with any luck ones I were given incorrect). I desire I could determine out the exam’s exact technique, but I fear that the punishment from the ABIM would be severe.

If I completed a phase early, I would depart the clock running to take a restroom damage, so that I wouldn’t eat into my one hour of wreck time, which I used for an prolonged lunch. After finishing blocks 1 and 2, I determined it changed into time for lunch. Given that it changed into a hot California summer day, I ate out of doors, afterwards resting my eyes for 15 mins within the hopes that I should recharge my brain.

Midway thru block 3, I was in a state of waft. The clock and different distractions melted away, and I tunneled in on answering the questions like I became Michael Jordan getting ready to hit the game-winning shot. At the identical time, my variety of lavatory breaks extended-there must be a examine linking pressure with increased urination.

Finally, I sped via the remaining 10 questions of block 4, and walked out of the testing site feeling right. I knew I got some questions wrong, and I needed I had studied sure sections with extra depth, but this changed into not a second for 2nd-guessing. I felt correct sufficient to know that I had exceeded the test: At the stop of the day, that turned into all that mattered.

The night become a time for celebrations.

Dr. Feng is a board-licensed internist and is currently an hypersensitivity/immunology fellow at the University of California at Davis. He acquired his MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and his BA in human biology from Stanford University.

Lunch, which I additionally packed the night before, became one ham and cheese sandwich, one salami sandwich with mayo, crackers, a can of orange soda, and bottles of water. Certainly I am a hypocrite, for the reason that I typically propose a low-sodium, low-sugar food plan. But nowadays, I desired, and deserved, all my consolation foods.

On the way to the trying out web page, I blasted my motivational playlist: Eminem, Jay-Z, and Rocky film theme tune. I finally arrived on the web site at 7:30 am. The personnel had been inner, but would not allow us to in. The most effective human beings waiting outside had been, through the appears on their faces and the books they were flipping thru, also ABIM examination takers. I requested a woman with MKSAP cardiology, “You prepared for the take a look at?” She did not respond. She ought to’ve idea I changed into hitting on her. Whatever. She wasn’t that cute besides.

After loitering outdoor for half of-an-hour more, the personnel allow us to thru the door. I became fingerprinted and had my image taken, and I put my backpack in a garage locker. An worker said we might be videotaped always. I felt like I became getting registered for prison, however as I recognize it, this is essential to make certain the integrity of the check. Later on, some non-ABIM take a look at-takers rolled in late. They complained that their 3-hour checks were draining. I had no sympathy for them.

When I sat down in my cubicle, there has been a black felt-tip marker and a plastic-laminated pink sheet wherein I could scrawl some notes. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones hung off the threshold of the cubicle.

I clicked on “start” and began going through the questions.

Unlike preceding exams we’ve taken, the ABIM test consists of “handiest” 240 questions. They are divided into four blocks of 60 questions every, with two hours for every phase. This gives a total checking out time of eight hours, which include one hour for breaks that you can use at your discretion. For every query, I read the query stem and the solutions before I would cross lower back and examine the paragraph(s) of textual content. This helped me placed every query in context.

I had the best difficulties with the primary block of questions. I was pressed for time, and had marked at least 10 questions with little red flags, because even though I may want to slim the precise answer down to two alternatives, I regularly could not decide between the 2. Worse nonetheless, I permit my ego get within the manner, and spent ten mins agonizing over a query about eosinophilic esophagitis.

If you do the mathematics, you have got minutes to reply each query. Given that each one of the questions are equally weighted, and there’s no penalty for a incorrect answer, the proper component to do when stuck is to make an knowledgeable wager and move on. You have to move returned to the question handiest if you have more time at the end.

Fortunately the other 3 sections have been a long way extra viable. The questions numerous from multiple paragraphs to one sentence in period. If I knew the solution to a quick question, it changed into like an oasis inside the wilderness. True to shape, the questions additionally ranged over the whole lot of internal remedy. My take a look at, as an instance, changed into specifically heavy on rheumatology standards.

Other people I spoke with, however, felt that block 2 or block 4 become the maximum difficult, or that their tests emphasised gastroenterology or nephrology. Thus, every check-taker in all likelihood has a unique order of questions, or much more likely a distinct set of questions altogether. According to the ABIM, some of the questions also are experimental and don’t rely towards the final score (with a bit of luck ones I were given wrong). I wish I may want to parent out the examination’s genuine technique, but I worry that the punishment from the ABIM might be excessive.

If I finished a phase early, I would depart the clock jogging to take a restroom spoil, in order that I would not consume into my one hour of ruin time, which I used for an prolonged lunch. After finishing blocks 1 and a couple of, I determined it become time for lunch. Given that it changed into a hot California summer day, I ate outside, afterwards resting my eyes for 15 minutes within the hopes that I may want to recharge my brain.

Midway through block three, I become in a country of drift. The clock and other distractions melted away, and I tunneled in on answering the questions like I was Michael Jordan preparing to hit the sport-triumphing shot. At the same time, my quantity of lavatory breaks multiplied-there need to be a take a look at linking stress with elevated urination.

Finally, I sped thru the remaining 10 questions of block four, and walked out of the checking out website feeling excellent. I knew I were given some questions wrong, and I wished I had studied sure sections with extra intensity, however this became no longer a second for second-guessing. I felt properly enough to realize that I had passed the take a look at: At the cease of the day, that was all that mattered.

The evening turned into a time for celebrations.

Dr. Feng is a board-licensed internist and is currently an hypersensitivity/immunology fellow on the University of California at Davis. He acquired his MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and his BA in human biology from Stanford University.