Completing Your Pediatric Board Review

Pediatric Board review may have you feeling slightly anxious. If so, calm down! The first step to finding your way is to focus. Don’t be tempted to surround yourself with all your text and review books. Put away all the pages and pages of notes. Soaking yourself in that much information is the fastest way to overwhelm yourself to the point of non-action. There is a much more efficient way to study for the boards.

Knowing how to center your studies will be key. Unlike the traditional standard medical exams you’re used to, the board exams test on overall knowledge of a topic. You are used to being tested on your ability to regurgitate facts, figures and numbers; however, this approach will not work on this type of exam. Luckily, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a particular set of topics they like to emphasize for their questions and those are the topics you need to focus on to succeed.

There is a specific method to take when studying and taking board exams, and that is to concentrate on getting to the right diagnosis. To do that, you must master two elements: pattern recognition and knowing associations. Taking a set of symptoms, physical signs, and/or laboratory values and translating them into a particular diagnosis is a skill you will want to perfect. Knowing associations has to do with recognizing medical “buzzwords.” These terms will aid you in honing in on the right diagnosis.

The following list will give you the approximate percentage of emphasis for major topics found on the Pediatric boards. BoardVitals offers access to more than 1,400 Pediatric Board review questions to help you prepare. Focus on some of these topics and remember to exercise your pattern recognition and association skills throughout:

  • Growth and Development at approximately 5% of overall exam
    Preventative Pediatrics at approximately 5% of overall exam
  • Infectious Diseases at approximately 4.5% of overall exam
    Nutrition and Nutritional disorders at approximately 4% of overall exam
  • Respiratory Diseases at approximately 4% of overall exam
  • Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders at approximately 4% of overall exam
    Adolescent Medicine and Gynecology at approximately 4% of overall exam
  • Behavioral and Mental Health Issues at approximately 4% of overall exam
  • Fetus and Newborn Infant at approximately 3.5% of overall exam
  • Allergic and Immunological Disorders at approximately 3.5% of overall exam
  • Endocrine Disorders at approximately 3.5% of overall exam
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders at approximately 3.5% of overall exam
    Skin Disorders at approximately 3.5% of overall exam
  • Disorders of Cognition, Language, and Learning at approximately 3.5% of overall exam
  • Psychosocial Issues and Child Abuse at approximately 3% of overall exam
  • Emergency Care at approximately 3% of overall exam
  • Cardiovascular Disorders at approximately 3% of overall exam
  • Neurologic Disorders at approximately 3% of overall exam
    Musculoskeletal Disorders at approximately 3% of overall exam
  • Blood and Neoplastic Disorders at approximately 2.5% of overall exam
  • Renal and Urologic Disorders at approximately 2.5% of overall exam
  • Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness at approximately 2.5% of overall exam
  • Fluid and Electrolyte Metabolism at approximately 2.5% of overall exam
  • Genetics and Dysmorphology at approximately 2.5% of overall exam
  • Critical Care at approximately 2% of overall exam
  • Pharmacology and Pain Management at approximately 2% of overall exam
  • Poisoning and Environmental Exposure to Hazardous Substances at approximately 2% of overall exam
  • Metabolic Disorders at approximately 1.5% of overall exam
  • Patient Safety and Quality Improvement at approximately 1.5% of overall exam
  • Research and Statistics at approximately 1.5% of overall exam
  • Substance Abuse at approximately 1.5% of overall exam
  • Collagen, Vascular and Other Multisystem Disorders at approximately 1.5% of overall exam
  • Genital System Disorders at approximately 1.5% of overall exam
  • Disorders of the Eye at approximately 1% of overall exam
  • Ethics for Primary Pediatricians at approximately 1% of overall exam

Other topics of interest for you will include knowing all surveillance and screening methods, including all vaccines, as well as developmental milestones and normal lab values. Practicing your ability to come to a diagnosis based on a set of symptoms is incredibly important. It cannot be emphasized enough that you need to do as many questions and case studies as you possibly can to properly prepare for the boards. Aside from staying calm and motivated, remember to also be prepared and organized. With concentrated focus, you can take the bulk of the work out of your Pediatric Board review. Good luck!

Written by Andrea Paul.

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