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How to Approach BOARD glass/virtual slides

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by MirkoCrocop, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. MirkoCrocop

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    Just looking for some tips/advice in this area. As I look over some review material I can't help but think "I can instantly recognize that!"

    But, I know it's not that easy. For example, suppose the diagnosis is giant cell tumor of bone. Are the answer choices all things that look similar to this? Or would half of the answer choices not even have giant cells?

    Also, did you as a general rule never look at the answer choices before looking at the slide, so as to avoid bias?

    Thanks for input.
     
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  3. cjw0918

    cjw0918 Senior Member
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    The glass slides, to me, were the easiest part of the AP test. They tend to be the most straightforward with lots of straight up "what is this" questions. Review of study sets at your program and unknown conference attendance should help with this. The virtual slides kinda suck. You just have to do your best with those. Don't forget to look through a gross atlas for gross pics on the practical part. Good luck.
     
  4. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    i agree with this, all of it. just keep going through cases, including the hopkins ones online. in general, i found the answer choices to be fair. i would look at the slide/image, come up with a diagnosis, and if it was there, chose it. i didn't find too many where looking at the other answer choices made me question my diagnosis, or where they were things that would be very tough to distinguish EXCEPT for the hemepath stuff. distinguishing MCL from MZL or CLL on H&E alone - that was rough, and i have no clue how well i did.

     
  5. Ombret

    Physician PhD 7+ Year Member

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    I thought the virtual slides were OK. For presumably technical reasons, only part of the slide is scanned at high res, so you know to look there for the finding. Sometimes that was quite helpful. For both virtual and glass, you just have to look at a lot of cases in your training. This is a pretty static part of the test, if you catch my drift; doesn't change much from year to year. By the way, everyone told me the slides were going to be in disgraceful shape, but mine all appeared to be new recuts of good quality.
     
  6. Ruination

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    Agree with the above assessment, particularly about their "static" nature. If you can find some info from prior exams it would be very useful. IMO, the degree of difficulty for each section was: practical >>>> slides > written.
     
  7. sirenomelia

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    -Lefkowitch, Rapini, Sinard, and Robbins are the key to the non-cyto AP. I looked at very little glass while in AP review. I browsed Webpath and other sites for gross pictures- important as someone else said. The neoplastic lymph nodes were not that bad but were straight H/E morphology that either had a dead giveaway clue- ie popcorn cell or lymphoepithelial lesion, or were completely ambiguous mature B-cell process with a differential that you couldnt exclude anything that no one would have gotten anywhere without phenotyping- just meant to screw with people and get them stuck and waste time.

    -The glass were generally good examples of what they were and were unusual things, but not necessarily total zebras- ie nephrogenic adenomas, stuff like that. Non-neoplastic lung and male GU were well represented. Get a copy of Sinard and be able to recognize everything in there.

    -The digitals (mine) were an over-representation of derm (neoplastic and inflamm), breast and prostate that were poor quality, poor examples of completely amibiguous hyperplasia vs atypical vs. in-situ vs. invasive things with answer choices with every possible differential and in real life if 10 people saw it 5 would say one thing, and 5 another.
     
  8. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    i have no clue what sinard is and i managed to pass. agree with the webpath suggestion for gross pics, something most residency programs don't do as well teaching as they do histopath.
     
  9. TMZ2007

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  10. KCShaw

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    Yes, that's what most people just refer to as Sinard. Evidently originated as a summary of his notes, was published for a while, then after he regained rights just put it up on the web, technically as shareware (requests $15) -- some history is on the intro page and preface. Evidently it was updated, or at least re-released, in 2006 (pretty sure I was working with the original edition). When we were using it in residency we found a few errors, but it was still overall a very good concise resource and "starting point" for some further reading and was a decent gauge of what to study rather than having the doors of infinity thrown open with the accompanying declaration to learn everything. Similar in some ways to pathologyoutlines.com, IMO.

    Generally agree about the slides. If you can recognize or at least categorize what you're looking at and know something about it (demographics, associated cause/disease, etc.) then you're in fair shape. It's not always simply "what's this?" but "the person most likely to have this is.." or somesuch secondary/tertiary question.
     

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