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Family Medicine Shelf Exam

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Doctor Wyldstyle, Feb 14, 2004.

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Books Preferred for Family Medicine Shelf Exam

Poll closed Mar 31, 2006.
  1. NMS

    4 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. Swanson's

    6 vote(s)
    37.5%
  3. Blueprints

    6 vote(s)
    37.5%
  1. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member

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    Just finished it. The key to doing well on the shelf is to read, read, read, and read. This is very difficult if its one of your first rotations. I had a selection of chapters (almost most of the book basically) given in our syllabus to reae from "Ambulatory Medicine" by Mark Mengel. That and Blueprints kept me sufficiently covered. Try reading one chapter on a subject from one book then read the overview from blueprints or viceversa. Blueprints by itself is very brief.
  2. GO_MEDPEDS

    GO_MEDPEDS Member

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    Remembering back to last year when I did my FP clerkship, I found the test to be largely a Medicine test (~80%) with just a little Peds and OB/GYN. I did my Medicine clerkship prior to FP, and I felt fairly well prepared for the actual test just from that experience.

    I think a question book is always useful, just to see how well prepared you are for certain topics. I would just concentrate on some common outpatient complaints and anything that has a specific treatment in an outpatient setting (community-acquired pneumonia, PID, etc.).
    :)
  3. tomplatz

    tomplatz Member

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    Know the algorithms for "what next" really well. I found the shelf had lots of questions where it was "what is the most appropriate next step" and all the answers would be logical, but they're looking for one.

    easily the hardest shelf so far for me. much harder than IM.
  4. melena

    melena Junior Member

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    i used Blueprints family medicine and the NMS family medicine question book and did pretty well
  5. DoctorG

    DoctorG Senior Member

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    I found Blueprints for Family med and USMLE step 2 secrets to be very good.
  6. Jaded Soul

    Jaded Soul Proloxil > Zoloft

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    The clerkship director at my school said that the family med shelf questions are not written by family med docs. They are written by subspecialists in other fields. Even family med docs that have been practicing for years have trouble answering those questions. We still have to take the shelf because it's school policy, but it's only a small percentage of the overall clerkship grade.
  7. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof

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    I have heard that the family med shelf is one of the hardest shelf exams of third year- I know that a reasonable number of people fail this shelf exam at my school every year. Of course, they then have to retake this exam in order to pass the clerkship.

    I wonder why med students have to take this exam if family med physcians even have trouble answering those questions. :mad:
  8. ObGyn

    ObGyn Member

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    Thank you all for the reply. Yes, I've also heard that the family medicine shelf is the single most impossible test of all the shelf exams; this is the reason for my review book question. Some people who took it even told me that there are no good review sources for the exam. I guess it would be great to know if there is one or two books out there that are key to the family shelf or rotation in general.
  9. Scooby Moo

    Scooby Moo

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    At my school, we were told to treat the Family Medicine shelf like a "mini-Step 2"...a little bit of surgery, ob-gyn, medicine, peds, etc...

    Accordingly, it did seem like the best review sources were things I used for other rotations. Just FYI, I tried using Blueprints Fam Med and Specialty Board Review: Fam Med (for Q&A)...I was happy with neither.
  10. Harrie

    Harrie Senior Member

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    I had FM last, so I guess the best preparation was my other rotations. I did not read ANY books, only did the questions on familypractice.com and got a 92 on the shelf. If this is one of your first rotations, maybe try reading Blueprints or something.
  11. tom_jones

    tom_jones Senior Member

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    Be careful, the family med shelf is deceivingly hard. They ask alot of weird sh*t. i thought it was harder than the internal med and the surgery shelf.
  12. Jaded Soul

    Jaded Soul Proloxil > Zoloft

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    The problem is, there aren't any good Family Medicine review books. Though I liked it at first, in retrospect I thought Blueprints FM was horribly shallow. There's an evidence-based Family Medicine textbook, the title of which escapes me right now, that was good for learning, but not for shelf preparation. The NMS Family Med Q&A book is probably the best source of questions to prepare for the shelf, but even that's not a great resource.
  13. mountaindew2006

    mountaindew2006 Senior Member

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    ok i did a search on here about the fam practice shelf. most are saying swanson, some talk against it. the thing is most of those threads were about a year old....any recent thoughts on what best to do to prep for the fp shelf, as from what i hear its tough (esp if ur like me and havent taken medicine yet).

    i was thinking of just reading the entire b&w step 2 book? and perhaps first aid for step2. i was thinking of reading the entire two books, seeing as though fp is everything.

    :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

    but hey if swansons will get me a good score please do tell cuz i'm down for just reading one book (although its huge). the only thing is i need a lil more structure, not just purely q's (as in swasons).

    any help would be great...gracias
  14. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Administrator Lifetime Donor

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    First Aid for Step 2 is not useful - for Step 2 or anything else. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh; its just not nearly as good as First Aid for Step 1.

    Swanson's might indeed be overkill for your med school FP shelf exam - I've heard it more recommended for Step 3 or annual FP residency exams.
  15. Disco

    Disco General Surgery Intern

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    I recently took FP, it was my first rotation. A only studied Swanson's. It was so long, I ended up just reading some of the answer explanations (reading through the questions and answer choices would take forever) and the short 1-2 page summaries at the end of each section.
    Bottom line: I don't have anything to compare it to, but I would recommend trying other books.
    The test didn't seem to reflect what was covered in Swanson's either, even though the book is 600+ pages. I think a fact based book like high yield or First Aid would have been more manageable and efficient. Swanson's is all question format, so you read the question, scroll the answer choices, flip forward several pages, read the answer, then flip back to the questions. For me this= big waste of time.
    So just ask yourself if you like doing practice questions or just reading better.

    Hope this helps.
  16. mountaindew2006

    mountaindew2006 Senior Member

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    thanks disco-

    although thats my usual style for question books (read q, then skim answers, then look in the back and read explanations, etc) i dont think i could be doing that for 600q's w/o any structure.

    perhaps i should just do the blue prints FM thing witha little bit of NMS family medicine?

    anyone else ?

    p.s the errors that the original swanson had, i'm not sure if they still exist in the new 5th edition...i HOPE not!! but ...
  17. Trisomy13

    Trisomy13 ultra crook

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    My FM shelf is next Friday, and I'm just finishing up the NMS questions (all 750) and hoping they helped. I've read through most of Blueprints, but when I felt that I needed a little more depth I used "Essentials of Family Medicine" because it tends to flesh out the topics a little better for problems like thyroid, HTN, DM, URI, pain, gyn issues, i.e. the big hitters.

    Another good resource that you can use when you are online while you are supposedly studying is NEJM.org. You can search the articles, limiting to "Clinical Practice", and find reviews of current treatment guidelines for topics like DM2, HTN. Concise, 3 page articles with a case, guidelines, tables, graphs, all the high yield goodies. You might need a subscription for full text, but at $65 per year (which includes 52 hard copies), it's well-worth it.

    good luck, hopefully this exam will be as easy as psych ;)
  18. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Hi there,
    I thought that the Family Practice shelf was the hardest of all my shelf exams. I used Swanson's and did very well. It was rough going through all of that stuff in Swanson's but I did manage to get through the book.
    njbmd :)
  19. syrinx

    syrinx Member

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    I did NMS Family Medicine. Decent but some esoteric questions. I reviewed Boards and Wards and Secrets in Primary Care. I thought Swanson's was a waste of time.

    Family Medicine shelf was the last exam I took 3rd year so I thought it was the easiest shelf.
  20. KevJones

    KevJones Junior Member

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    I just took the FP shelf last week. I only used swansons, but didn't get through all of it. I grazed the adult medicine part, as most of the FP practice I worked in was adult medicine, and concentrated on the Peds and OB/GYN portions.

    Reading the questions, guessing at the answers, then reading the explanations was too time consuming. I picked a few chapters each night and read the answer explanations as though they were a textbook. The next morning over breakfast I would go through the questions to see how much had stuck.

    I didn't hink the test was that bad, but there is no real way I can see to get it all in your head over a six week rotation. If you don't have a good clinical base from the first two years, you're kinda screwed. Sorry.
  21. Pili

    Pili Senior Member

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    Hey, I took it recently and scored in the 98%. It was a DIFFICULT test. I did NMS q book and had just finished my IM rotation prior, so that helped. I read on NMS questions, for example if a question was on subacromial bursitis, I went to any book and reviewed rotator cuff tears, meniscal tears, etc etc.
    You must know physical diagnosis. Good luck.
  22. Ice-1

    Ice-1 Senior Member

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    What is the best place to get practice questions that are of similar difficulty as the shelf? Anyone know of any internet resources? Is Blueprints too easy? I'm not close to a med bookstore at the moment! Thanks!
  23. maugham

    maugham Member

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    familypractice.com is a website with some free questions geared for those taking the family med board exam. you need to register, but you get access to 1000 questions. not sure of how they compare to difficulty of family med shelf, but they seem more difficult than other questions in books like nms and swanson's. hope this helps. i'm facing family med shelf in less than 2 weeks and am a little concerned myself having heard it's one of the harder shelfs.
  24. drRumi

    drRumi Member

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    so , we have a shelf exam for family (didnt even know they had shelf exams for family med ) and i would normally try to study for it using maybe pretest or something similar. any suggestions on question books that i could use to prepare for the shelf?
  25. Spang

    Spang SDN Angel

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    I just took the family medicine shelf two days ago. I would advise you to use MKSAP2 to hit the common stuff like HTN, DM, abd pain, cough, etc. But you also need to get the peds and OB stuff from somewhere. Maybe Blueprints for those, not sure? I didn't think the test was so much as family medicine test as a "medicine" test.

    Spang
  26. Vriesea

    Vriesea Member

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    Recently took FM shelf and found it to be harder than expected, but pretty fair. Generally, on par with the Internal Medicine shelf. I personally had TONS of neuromuscular stuff; MS, parkinson's, myastenia gravisX2, lambert-eaton, PMR, polymyositis, and ALS. Numerous peds questions; child with limp, depression, asymptomatic pyuria and developmental stages.
    I used FA for step 2 which was decent and also NMS family medicine question book which I thought sucked (too many specific statistics which is never asked). I also used Swanson's and www.familypractice.com (training review questions link) questions. Thought the website questions were probably the most reasonable and helpful but studying specific topics you feel weak in would be helpful in swanson's.
  27. Mage

    Mage Member

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    I recently took the shelf (just last week) and I think we may have had the same one. Pretty much everything you mentioned was on my test as well.

    I haven't had internal medicine yet (that's next for me, my last 3rd year rotation), but I did extremely well on the shelf, luckily. All I used was blueprints, blueprints clinical cases, boards and wards (I studied the first half of the IM section and all of the 'outpatient medicine' section), and questions from familypractice.com . I also feel the familypractice.com questions were excellent preparation...some of them are laughably absurd, but in all my rotations, it was these questions that most resembled the shelf exam (at least for me) in both presentation and content.

    The blueprints book seems pretty low-yield, but each chapter has a good outline on how to diagnostically approach a given presentation. I basically just highlighted a couple of paragraphs in each chapter, and only read those.

    I also used the NMS Q&A book for about 8-10 hours the first couple of weeks...it was -useless-. It's a horrible book for the shelf exam and it was never useful for anything during my rotation. The questions are just -awful-...not just because they're extremely pedantic and esoteric, but they just don't even seem relevent. I went through over half the book, and learned maybe 1 useful fact from each chapter. Not very high-yield.
  28. pogirl

    pogirl Junior Member

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    I took the FP shelf the same day as the medicine. I thought the medicine shelf was much harder. I did better on FP.

    I did not use any FP specific resources except familypractice.com questions, which are great review tools, and free.

    Basically I just studied medicine with MKSAP and pretest medicine and found that was good enough for the FP shelf too. I hadn't had ob/gyn yet and did not find that to be a problem for the FP shelf. I just did the familypractice.com ob/gyn questions and learned from the explanations.
  29. betz

    betz Layer V

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    Anyone taken the shelf exam this semester and have any advice on how to study? I have read every post in this thread, and I am so confused. I was considering studying First Aid for the Wards or Step 2. I dont like Swansons, and I am just so confused. I have blueprints but it looks like it sucks, and I dont like the blueprints series. Suggestions? :confused:
  30. RonaldColeman

    RonaldColeman Senior Member

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    It's really like a mini-step 2. You are definitely at a disadvantage if you take this shelf at the beginning of 3rd year. My advice: study as you would for the medicine shelf, and include brief review sources for Peds and OB. For the medicine stuff, use MKSAP + some IM review book. If you haven't had OB/GYN, you might try to pick up First AID for Step 2 or simply study the Blue boxes in Blueprints OB/GYN. Obviously, you can't learn everything in Blueprints, but by covering the blue boxes you will score yourself quite a few points. If you haven't had Pediatrics, do the same thing: buy Blueprints Pediatrics and just study the blue boxes.
    The most common pediatrics topic on my exam was developmental stuff. Most of the OB questions related to prenatal care. Know immunization stuff COLD. When to give certain immunizations by age, exposure, etc. is really high yield. Cardiovascular and Lipid issues were also big on my exam.
    In summary, this is basically an outpatient medicine test with some OB and Peds thrown in.
  31. ramonaquimby

    ramonaquimby I'm a PGY3?! WHAT?!

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    great thread! - subscribing! (is there a way to subscribe without posting? sorry!)
  32. betz

    betz Layer V

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    Click on thread tools at the top.

    Back on topic, I am sticking with the Adult Medicine section of swanson's. I dont think I can make it through the entire thing. How detailed is the peds, psych, and OB parts?
  33. PrettyDoctor25

    PrettyDoctor25 New Member

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    Sorry if this is a stupid question but how many questions are on the exam? And how soon until I get my score?
  34. mountainman123

    mountainman123 Guest

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    There are 100 questions on the shelf and you have 2hr 10min to finish it. It takes quite a while to get scores back- similiar to the USMLE from what I understand. I took mine a week ago and have no clue as to how long I have to wait.
  35. domer621

    domer621 MS4

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    Bump... anyone who took this shelf recently that has opinions on resources? There doesn't seem to be a consensus, and familypractice.com is gone. :(
  36. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel

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    Check out this thread, it has a couple of ideas on books:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=416276

    I'm currently reading Case Files in Family Med to prepare for my rotation. It's really good, lots of information, but only has ~4 practice questions for each case, so I'm guessing it would be less helpful for practice questions and more helpful for information. Haven't taken the shelf though, so I can't be of more help.
  37. DrDarwin

    DrDarwin Naturally selected

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    Has anyone used Pretest Family Medicine? A new version was released recently, and I am probably going to use it. Also, are the AAFP questions approximately the same level of difficulty as the real test? I have not found the questions to be exceptionally hard, but I do think they do cover some obscure topics. Would Pretest and AAFP questions be good preparation? I am hoping to slide by without Swanson's and NMS.
  38. gluon999

    gluon999 Senior Member

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    Bump...I have the same questions...any answers?
  39. tfom08

    tfom08

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    I had heard some mixed reviews about pretest but decided to use it and thought that it was a pretty good resource. I had a handful of questions that I remember directly from pretest. That's not a huge number, but for a 100 question test, to have 5% or so of the test verbatim from pretest wasn't too bad. And I'm sure some of the other questions were covered in pretest as well. I used casefiles and the ambulatory section of step up to medicine as well, both of which were pretty good. If you can read some other sections (GI, Infectious disease, etce.) of step up, it would probably help, but I just didn't have time with my schedule. Knowing the stuff from step 1 or other rotations will be one of the best resources for this shelf.
  40. NolanDNA

    NolanDNA Junior Member

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    I used the Amb. section from Step-up-To-Medicine and the Blueprints Case Book, I did thumb through Pre-test, but can't say that it helped. I think with just the 1st two books I did fine, it was actually rather easy!
  41. STAC

    STAC Senior Member

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    Any new thoughts from recent shelf exam takers?

    Thanks!
  42. AK_MD2BE

    AK_MD2BE New Member

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    Bump...thanks for the input. :)
  43. sunshinedoc

    sunshinedoc

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    I was wondering if anyone has used or knew anyone that used First Aid for the Family Medicine Boards to study for the shelf. Is it worth the money or should i just stick with Step Up?
  44. mkdoc

    mkdoc Junior Member

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    between Casefiles, Swanson's, reviewing Step up for Medicine, USMLE world what books or combo of books do you guys recommend for the shelf?
  45. Miss155

    Miss155 Senior Member

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    How do I log onto the family practice website, i.e. login information?
  46. Cards21aceking

    Cards21aceking

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  47. InternationlDoc

    InternationlDoc Imported like a Ferrari

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    bump

    Case files + Step up + OB CF + Peds CF?
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2009
  48. DarlynVMD

    DarlynVMD Junior Member

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    I used CF + B&W (Out Pt, IM, OB & Peds sections). More than enough. I actually read the first 3-4 chapters of Sloanes, but gave it up soon there after... I just paid attn to all the cases, and read up on every dz/condition that pts presented with from Mayo Clinic's Concise Review of Internal Medicine... the best book EVER!!!
  49. Dr Angel

    Dr Angel

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    Ok, so on the new AAFP website (if you go to familypractice.com you are redirected there) are the Board Review questions under the CME tab the same questions that people were recommending in this thread a few years earlier? It looks like to me you register on the site and then you can take 10 question quizes that count toward CME for Family Practice, but I don't know if these are the same questions everyone was talking about at the beginning of this thread.

    I'm sure it's unlikely anyone that took this shelf and used the questions back in 2004-2005 still lurk around here, but if anyone else knows please chime in and help out. I'm just starting M3 next week w/ psych, but fam med is second for me so I need to get my ducks in a row on this one if the shelf is as hard as everyone says. I'm probably going to use B&Ws, Casefiles or Blueprints, and sections from Step up to Medicine like everyone has recommended but a question source would be pretty clutch. Thanks
  50. dogpython

    dogpython New Member

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    bump...also wondering if anyone knows how to access the practice questions on the new AAFP website and if it costs money or if it is free...any more recent suggestions on books or study guides for someone who is taking this as their first rotation of MSIII beginning today?

    thanks!

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