a somewhat different perspective
Well, I studied about as much, IMO, as any AMG "should" study.
I took the test 11/08 in ATL. What I did to prepare: I borrowed FA from a classmate, and I read the first 100 pages. This part of FA reminds you/warns you about all of the things you need/ought to do in order to pass the exam. The mini cases are all I needed to review in order to broaden my ddx list and refresh my memory. I also went to the NBME web site and looked over what they had to say about the exam, (and scanned the sample computer layout to see what the note screen would look like). So, in total I guess I read about 5-8 hours before the test itself. I really think that you don't even have to do that much- it's just that I'm going into psych and I wanted to go over ddx lists since I've been in psych for the last 5 months.
I thought the test was virtually identical to most SP encounters I had in med school- except that the SP's are more straightforward with you. Ie- @ my med school you had to pry out the emotional agenda/issues, these SP's are actors who act out any affect that you might need to ask about. If the pt looks anxious- you just ask, "you seem anxious- is there anything wrong?". I just didn't think it was that bad- because they tell you the answers they are supposed to tell you. I also had just enough time for it all. It was as if the NBME has studied the art of a hurried patient encounter and expects you to pull it off. I wasn't really tired @ the end b/c of the test itself- but because I had to drive down to the airport ( I live in ATL) and get up early. If I had to fly to my site and sleep in a strange bed I would have been pretty beat. As it was, I was just tired because I took my last board exam before graduation and there was an overwhelming feeling of relief at the end.
If you are an AMG with a pulse and without an attitude, I really think any more than the above is overkill.