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zeppelinpage4

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May 17, 2009
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Hi! I just had some questions about the pediatric boards. I'm a very weak test taker (Step 1-199, Step 2-223, Step 3-failed and re-took and then passed with 204). I've also done poorly and below average on all of my in service tests.

Basically, I'm at a real chance of failing the boards next year and since I know it's one of the hardest board exams and some of my prior seniors have failed, I wanted to make sure I do everything this next year to pass. I know that most people do MedStudy (the book and questions) and 3 years of Pedialink, and then Laughing your Way is a good concise review closer to the test date. I haven't made a set plan yet but I want to start hammering away at my pedialink questions from the past 3 years (I've been terrible about doing them in residency).

My main question right now is how to do the pedialink questions. I've been doing a few each day, but i don't feel like I retain any of the information. Right now I've been answering each question, then reading the full explanations which takes a good 5-10 minutes per question. But it's very passive and I don't really remember or retain what I'm covering.

1) Can I ask how you guys did pedialink questions? Did you take notes? If so, did you just take down the main points at the end? I'm not sure which details in the explanations are important to write down and remember and which details are superfluous if any. Can you do pedialink questions by topic?

2) Also, my pedialink access is about to expire since I'm finishing residency. Do you usually just pay to renew the membership after residency is done?

3) I was told I'd need a central source of information because pedialink alone doesn't cover everything. Someone recommended the Kaplan book? Is that good?

I have a year to study but I want to make the most of that time, especially being a weak test taker. Failing step 3 was one of the worst days of residency, I don't want to feel that again. Would appreciate any advice or thoughts, especially if you're also a weak test taker like me or have struggled with board exams in the past.
 

Ladholyman

General Pediatrics
10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2008
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I am in your same boat. Terrible test taker. Failed last year after graduating residency. Second time studying for this beast.
Last year I did Pedialink and BoardVital questions. Reviewed Pediatric Board Review book twice.
This year I am going all in on the Pediatric Board Review system. Basically review the PBR book at least 5 times and have 2 sources for questions.
I am doing MedStudy questions and TrueLearn questions.
Some Pedialink also but I already went through 2015 to 2018 last time.
I'll let you know in January whether this plan is successful. It's harder to study this time around when you are working full time and with coronavirus looming in the back of your head.

Good luck.
 
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FrkyBgStok

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Aug 7, 2005
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This is how I did it.

I am a flashcard person and I use anki decks. I would focus on my easier months and knock out a chunk of pedialink (like 5 questions per day during the week and 20 per day on the weekends during outpatient months). I would use every question and make a flashcard. You can use copy and paste on pedialink. so I would read it multiple times and then anki is a spaced repetition flashcard system. I would do like 10 new cards per day and 40 reviews and just keep at them until my pedialink stuff was done. I also made a deck out of all zitelli's images, a deck of board vitals (our residency paid for that), and a deck of stuff I picked up in reading or on the wards that was important.

I also had random decks that I would do every 3 months or so, like developmental milestones. so all said and done, I would probably do 30-40 new cards per day and about 100 reviews. do this for a year and a half and you will get through a ton of peds. and I am consistent with it. I did my decks every single day, no matter what else is going on. I had the app on my phone so I could do it anywhere.

and I continue this throughout fellowship, now I just have different decks, same exact idea. I would share them with you but I got rid of them when I passed. sorry. just like previous tests, repetition. and find a couple sources and focus on them. trying to review multiple study sources will spread you out way too thin and you will be doing yourself a disservice.
 
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Oso

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Jan 17, 2014
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This is how I did it.

I am a flashcard person and I use anki decks. I would focus on my easier months and knock out a chunk of pedialink (like 5 questions per day during the week and 20 per day on the weekends during outpatient months). I would use every question and make a flashcard. You can use copy and paste on pedialink. so I would read it multiple times and then anki is a spaced repetition flashcard system. I would do like 10 new cards per day and 40 reviews and just keep at them until my pedialink stuff was done. I also made a deck out of all zitelli's images, a deck of board vitals (our residency paid for that), and a deck of stuff I picked up in reading or on the wards that was important.

I also had random decks that I would do every 3 months or so, like developmental milestones. so all said and done, I would probably do 30-40 new cards per day and about 100 reviews. do this for a year and a half and you will get through a ton of peds. and I am consistent with it. I did my decks every single day, no matter what else is going on. I had the app on my phone so I could do it anywhere.

and I continue this throughout fellowship, now I just have different decks, same exact idea. I would share them with you but I got rid of them when I passed. sorry. just like previous tests, repetition. and find a couple sources and focus on them. trying to review multiple study sources will spread you out way too thin and you will be doing yourself a disservice.
My god, that’s so much work, though I can see how it would be really effective. Thanks for sharing. I do really want to pass the first time since I’ll (hopefully) be in fellowship then.

Maybe I will make cards for specific things like vaccines, milestones, genetic/metabolic syndromes, and rashes.

Also, so you’re doing a similar thing for fellowship material?
 
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FrkyBgStok

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My god, that’s so much work, though I can see how it would be really effective. Thanks for sharing. I do really want to pass the first time since I’ll (hopefully) be in fellowship then.

Maybe I will make cards for specific things like vaccines, milestones, genetic/metabolic syndromes, and rashes.

Also, so you’re doing a similar thing for fellowship material?
it is a lot of work, but I know the material so it helps me clinically, it helps me with teaching, and it helps me with the boards. However the flash cards take like 20-30 minutes total to get through during the day. And over a year, you’ve hammered the material in. And how bad do you want it. Yes the questions take time, but board study takes time. And it is a serious test.

I am doing the exact same thing in fellowship. A deck for my specialty PREP, a deck for my questions from my specialty question book, a deck for pictures, a deck for emergency/code dosing, and deck from didactics and reading.
 

Oso

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Jan 17, 2014
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it is a lot of work, but I know the material so it helps me clinically, it helps me with teaching, and it helps me with the boards. However the flash cards take like 20-30 minutes total to get through during the day. And over a year, you’ve hammered the material in. And how bad do you want it. Yes the questions take time, but board study takes time. And it is a serious test.

I am doing the exact same thing in fellowship. A deck for my specialty PREP, a deck for my questions from my specialty question book, a deck for pictures, a deck for emergency/code dosing, and deck from didactics and reading.
Gotcha. Well thanks for the advice! I will try to do something similar. Hope your fellowship is going well!
 

zeppelinpage4

10+ Year Member
May 17, 2009
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Hi everyone, sorry for the late reply!

I am in your same boat. Terrible test taker. Failed last year after graduating residency. Second time studying for this beast.
Last year I did Pedialink and BoardVital questions. Reviewed Pediatric Board Review book twice.
This year I am going all in on the Pediatric Board Review system. Basically review the PBR book at least 5 times and have 2 sources for questions.
I am doing MedStudy questions and TrueLearn questions.
Some Pedialink also but I already went through 2015 to 2018 last time.
I'll let you know in January whether this plan is successful. It's harder to study this time around when you are working full time and with coronavirus looming in the back of your head.

Good luck.
Hey, appreciate the advice. Glad to know I'm not alone. Yes, I'm still job hunting, and struggling to find jobs that will give me ample time to study. Most still expect 4-5 days/week and some call and there aren't many options with coronovirus.

I'll check out Pediatric Board Review more thoroughly.
Did you feel like PBR book was a good central/main source for knowledge? I'll do Pedialink and MedStudy questions too, but I found I learn much better if I have a main content source to read with it.

I’m looking at the PBR website, along with the book, are you using one of their packages and study plans as well? Is their program good if it’s followed consistently? I’m looking at the No Brainer Package and would try to follow the schedule they make.

Keep us posted. Fingers cross we both pass and can put this test behind us!

This is how I did it.

I am a flashcard person and I use anki decks. I would focus on my easier months and knock out a chunk of pedialink (like 5 questions per day during the week and 20 per day on the weekends during outpatient months). I would use every question and make a flashcard. You can use copy and paste on pedialink. so I would read it multiple times and then anki is a spaced repetition flashcard system. I would do like 10 new cards per day and 40 reviews and just keep at them until my pedialink stuff was done. I also made a deck out of all zitelli's images, a deck of board vitals (our residency paid for that), and a deck of stuff I picked up in reading or on the wards that was important.

I also had random decks that I would do every 3 months or so, like developmental milestones. so all said and done, I would probably do 30-40 new cards per day and about 100 reviews. do this for a year and a half and you will get through a ton of peds. and I am consistent with it. I did my decks every single day, no matter what else is going on. I had the app on my phone so I could do it anywhere.

and I continue this throughout fellowship, now I just have different decks, same exact idea. I would share them with you but I got rid of them when I passed. sorry. just like previous tests, repetition. and find a couple sources and focus on them. trying to review multiple study sources will spread you out way too thin and you will be doing yourself a disservice.
Wow, thank you for that advice. I haven't seen anki since my med school days, but I'm somewhat familiar with it.
So at 5 questions and 10 new cards daily, I assumed you made ~2 cards for each pedialink question?
The question explanations can be quite long, can I ask how you made the cards? Like which parts of the explanation/answers you copied and pasted into the anki card? Did you just paste the answer and PREP Pearls into the card? Or did you try to get more of the detailed explanation into the cards?

I'll check out Zitelli's and board vitals as sources as well.

And I agree, I feel like a big part of why i failed step 3 the first time because i tried covering too many source and ultimately couldn't really finish anything. I want to just pick 1-2 content sources, and a Qbank to go with Pedialink and focus on those.
I'll def have pedialink and medstudy questions. I need to find a good central content source to read from and then do the questions with it. Did you find Board Vitals and Zitelli's do be a better alternative to Medstudy?
 
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FrkyBgStok

15+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2005
4,834
785
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Wow, thank you for that advice. I haven't seen anki since my med school days, but I'm somewhat familiar with it.
So at 5 questions and 10 new cards daily, I assumed you made ~2 cards for each pedialink question?
The question explanations can be quite long, can I ask how you made the cards? Like which parts of the explanation/answers you copied and pasted into the anki card? Did you just paste the answer and PREP Pearls into the card? Or did you try to get more of the detailed explanation into the cards?
Yeah pretty much 2-5 cards per question depending on the question. Basically, I would read the question and make cards out of stuff I didn't know or thought was important enough for me to really have it in my mind.I know that seems like everything when you are taking boards, but there are definitely things that aren't hard. And the PREP pearls make really good cards. Basically I would just take a sentence and make a word blank, colon, or a question. Examples:

Front: The criteria for pyloric stenosis is:
Back: 3 mm wide, 14 mm in length

Front: What is the concern for black widow bites?
Back: muscle rigidity and spasm

Front: Stridor associated with _______ is positional and tends to worsen when the infant is placed supine, improving when placed prone.
Back: laryngomalacia

You can basically do whatever you want but I try to make them short enough that you can pound through a bunch of cards quickly.
 
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zeppelinpage4

10+ Year Member
May 17, 2009
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Yeah pretty much 2-5 cards per question depending on the question. Basically, I would read the question and make cards out of stuff I didn't know or thought was important enough for me to really have it in my mind.I know that seems like everything when you are taking boards, but there are definitely things that aren't hard. And the PREP pearls make really good cards. Basically I would just take a sentence and make a word blank, colon, or a question. Examples:

Front: The criteria for pyloric stenosis is:
Back: 3 mm wide, 14 mm in length

Front: What is the concern for black widow bites?
Back: muscle rigidity and spasm

Front: Stridor associated with _______ is positional and tends to worsen when the infant is placed supine, improving when placed prone.
Back: laryngomalacia

You can basically do whatever you want but I try to make them short enough that you can pound through a bunch of cards quickly.
Thanks so much for clarifying.
Yeah, one reason I couldn't use anki in med school is I tried adding every detail of every explanation and it just wasn't efficient or practical. I'll try your way if I do the anki cards, it seems much more manageable.
 

Ladholyman

General Pediatrics
10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2008
117
56
Status
Attending Physician
The no brainer is what I am doing this year. I tried MedStudy books but they were very dense. PBR is more palatable. I think the strength of PBR is that they will make a study schedule for you and keep you on track. I think the $1500 is worth it just so you don't have to spend the $2700 on taking this damn test again.
 
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zeppelinpage4

10+ Year Member
May 17, 2009
1,327
740
Status
Medical Student
The no brainer is what I am doing this year. I tried MedStudy books but they were very dense. PBR is more palatable. I think the strength of PBR is that they will make a study schedule for you and keep you on track. I think the $1500 is worth it just so you don't have to spend the $2700 on taking this damn test again.
Okay perfect, I'm gonna do the no brainer plan if i go with PBR. I like the idea of having a laid out study schedule too. I used an all inclusive Kaplan course for my MCAT and followed their schedule exactly as laid out and it was the only test i did really well in, If PBR is anything like that, I'll happily pay. I saw they had good testimonials but couldn't find any reviews or testimonials outside of their own site. Does their no brainer program really work for those like me who are at higher risk of failing?

I saw they have a first time pass money back guarantee but I hadn't heard about PBR from anyone in my own circle of peds residents.

I tried Kaplan for my Step 3, and it was very unhelpful. Most of it was irrelevant and I ended up passing on the second try with just Uworld. So it would be nice to know that PBR's stuff has worked for others like me.

And you mentioned medstudy was dense, if I am able to get through it though do you think it would be worth it?

Best of luck, I'm trying to make a plan now. Hopefully i can find a job that'll give me ample time to study.
 

Ladholyman

General Pediatrics
10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2008
117
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Try not to spread yourself too thin. PBR also has video and audio versions which can reinforce learning.
 

mvenus929

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I don't have my copy of Make It Stick handy, but if you have some free time to read it, I highly encourage it.

You need to do something more active than just reading. If you want to use the PREP questions as your primary resource, then I recommend the following steps to make it more active.

1. When answering each question, write down why each answer is right or wrong.
2. When reading through the explanation, write a 1 sentence summary of every paragraph.
3. If you're a flashcard person, writing flashcards with the PREP Pearls is a good use of time. Turning the pearls into a question will make you think about how the pearl may be useful. Anki is a great resource, as it is spaced repetition, which is also useful.
4. You should also write down when you make a connection with another topic. Interleaving is a thing and helps you remember material.

Your back-up resource should be something comprehensive, like MedStudy. Laughing Your Way is not sufficient, nor is PREP. You want something that is going to get into the nitty gritty details about all the topics that may be covered. You should summarize this text as you read it as well.

Good luck.
 
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