Why You Need Help Passing Your Board Exam

passing board exam

There are many challenges associated with taking and passing the medical board exam. If you are a would-be physician with only the board exam standing between you and your new career, you may need some extra help in making sure you pass with flying colors. While the challenges of the board exam are imposing, they can be overcome. Here are the top five challenges you will face, and how to get past them, so you can enjoy the sound of people calling you “Doctor.”

1. The Board Exams Are High Technology Tests

Medical board exams have caught up with modern technology. These aren’t just paper-based tests anymore. They are usually conducted on computers, and aren’t merely a set of questions you answer. You actually have to demonstrate that you know how the answer to a question is applied in the real world, rather than simply knowing the answer. As an example, you may be presented with a video of a patient describing their symptoms or an audio clip of stomach grumbling sounds. You will have to correctly evaluate what the patient’s symptoms or the sounds may mean. This isn’t just multiple choice.

Fortunately, you can get past this and do well. While simply being good at memorizing won’t be enough to help you pass your boards, you can get your hands on review books that will give you an idea of what to expect on the exam. A thorough study of the review book will help you learn how to handle the applied knowledge questions, and point you to other study guides you can use to brush up on the medical knowledge you will need to be successful with these questions.

2. There Are Time Limits on the Board Exam

The pressure of the board exam is increased by the requirement to complete it in a certain amount of time. Not only are you struggling to recall important information and how to apply it in the real world, you are doing so under time constraints. This mimics the real world of medicine in a way, where decisions on medical care must often be made quickly (and always accurately).

Taking timed practice tests will help you get better at the time requirements of the exam. Using an online test prep service like BoardVitals can be a huge asset here. Getting to practice the timed portions of the test multiple times until you feel comfortable doing it for the real exam is invaluable. There aren’t many other places where you can get this kind of practice, so definitely take advantage of it.

3. Security is Tight at the Board Exam

Today, getting in to take the board exam is kind of like going through airport security. You will have to show ID, you may be fingerprinted or get an ocular scan to confirm your identity, and you will need to leave watches, phones, jewelry, and even water bottles outside of the testing area. All of this security can put a test taker on edge before even beginning the actual exam.
A good way to combat this is to find out in advance exactly what security measures will be taken to allow you entrance to the exam. This way, there will be no surprises, and you will walk into the exam being perfectly at ease with the whole thing. Ask about security requirements for getting into the exam at your school or through the organization that will be giving the exam. You’ll get the answers you need to make you well prepared.


The medical board exam presents many challenges you won’t find with other tests. In addition to the unique test-taking methods presented, there is also the pressure of knowing your future career rests on passing this test. Take the pressure off of yourself by knowing you are fully prepared when you go in to take the test. Practice the various test scenarios with BoardVitals, and know you are ready to easily handle anything the medical board exam may throw your way.

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at boardvitals.com.

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